or "adios priapism" Show this Post
and "hola surgery" or more precisely "radical prostatectomy" – well… it's not really all that precise – it's just redundant, because there's no such thing as a "non-radical" prostatectomy! I mean, really… how could the removal of an organ that basically defines you – as a male – not be considered radical. Additionally, 13 years ago they didn't have the niceties of RAP (robotic assisted radical prostatectomy) which is done laparoscopically, rather than ripping a 10 inch gash down from your navel – in a totally "open" procedure.
here's where we can get back to the story of the trip to grandma's house in the rain and mud… or something similar, because although the decision had to be made and was – within a 24-hour window – following a concrete diagnosis, it was going to be another 6 weeks before the actual surgery… and that's a great period of time to provide ruminating filler for a whole boatload of posts should I be so inclined – although I will try to be brief – maybe – because I'm regretfully beginning to hold some gleam of respect for those folks who manage to make time to ramble off a blog entry every single day – even if it is complete tripe!
so… things to do:
– prepare your place of employment for the inevitable absence for a period of 3-6 weeks depending on how well your recovery goes – and accept the sad fact that they will survive just fine without you
– make sure you've prepared yourself, your finances and your immediate family for the possibility of your permanent absence should things not go well at all! most of us have no clue how really unprepared we are for our own demise… agreed it's not something we want to think about – and true once we are gone, we're not going to give a fig anyway, but while we are here and if we have immediate family we care about – we need to have things in place to ensure that at least the financial end of things are well taken care of – whether that's an up-to-date will, proper identification of beneficiaries of pensions, etc. and well-documented instructions as to access to anything like safety-deposit boxes, offshore accounts ;-), or anything similar.
– just as important is prep for the case that, you're still around – but temporarily or permanently considered incompetent to make decisions regarding your care! Here in Ontario, there are two designations/forms for Power of Attorney – one for Personal care (includes health-care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, safety) and one for Property (meaning all aspects of Finance except that required for Personal care). These powers can obviously be given to the same person, but in many cases that may not be ideal – eg. you're currently unmarried, but have a daughter whose a doctor and a son who's a stock-broker – perversely, but for good reason… you may well want your daughter to handle your finances and have your son in charge of your health-care decisions (so make sure this is documented in advance of your surgery).
– let your entire universe of contacts and their contacts and their contact's contacts to the nth iteration know of your impending procedure with the sole intent of asking for prayer – but guaranteeing the unexpected result of receiving hundreds of emails, most well-intentioned, offering support, encouragement, contrarian views of your decision and some of the most lengthy, detailed and extremely personal descriptions of surgeries, similar or not from everyone else who ever experienced one… wow – just reading them was exhausting – and if you weren't apprehensive about the whole thing before – well, now you certainly have good reason to be!
– donate your blood in advance for use in your own surgery (autologous transfusion) – I think I was scheduled to donate at least 2 pints/litres/bottles/whatever, but after the first donation I was so wasted, that I slept for almost 3 days straight (according to my email accounts – I certainly didn't recall that little fact). So, I didn't give more than that first donation – and had to trust that I could count on the kindness of strangers to supply anything more that I needed. Even though I'm not allowed to donate now that I'm "one of those"1, that experience made me acutely appreciative of all those folks who regularly donate blood just as a matter of course, as often as they are allowed to – may not be as headline-grabbing as pulling babies from burning buildings – but the end result is just the same – they really are giving the "gift of life" as the Red Cross calls it in their ads.
– finally, do a lot of what you may never be able to do again following your surgery
which brings us to the phrase "nerve-sparing"… a great topic for another day
1 that's "someone who has been diagnosed with any cancer" in Canada – some countries have different policies