I am having surgery today. This surgery is part of the saga that has been going on for most of my life, and the subject matter might make some readers uncomfortable. I share these things so that others that share my issues may read about my experiences. I will not be offended if you do not complete this blog entry.
For some reason, many doctors suspect that it was because I might have rammed my parts into my bike when I was young kid, I have scar tissue that likes to grow in my urethra. This is not hugely uncommon among men; the scar tissue is called a stricture and it makes it difficult to urinate. Don’t worry, everything else is functional and I’m happy in the sex department.
I have had four surgeries to remove the scar tissue to open things back up. They started back when I was 13 years old so, with surgery in 1982, 1986, 2005 and 2015. Since the last surgery in 2015 I have used a catheter on a daily basis to keep things open. In the back of my mind I knew it was a stop gap measure and there have been times that I’ve had to use the catheter two or three times a day to keep things feeling and working the way they should. Shortly before Christmas the catheter went the wrong way, I had a lot of blood come out and then scar tissue started filling in the gap again.
In the 2015 entry I mention that there is another procedure that they can do that should correct the problem permanently. This involves taking some skin from the inside of my mouth and grafting it where the scar tissue is in my urethra, thus completely eliminating the scar tissue instead of just cutting it back and hoping that it doesn’t come back. My urologist wanted to do this procedure the last time but it was summer time and I wasn’t in the mood to be down for the count for 10 weeks or so during the summer, so I opted out. It wasn’t a mistake, but it ultimately just delayed the inevitable.
So this morning I am having what is called a Supra-pubic catheter put in so things can “calm down” in my urethra. This catheter will be a small tube between my belly button and my junk. I figure if folks fighting cancer can have ports installed to go through chemotherapy, I can run around with a pee tube for five weeks. So after today and through March if we talk face to face, I could be peeing in your presence and you wouldn’t even know it.
In March, if all goes to plan, I will be having the second surgery, where they’ll do the skin graft thing and rebuild the parts that are currently damaged. I will then have two catheters for a few weeks, a traditional one that makes some men shutter and the other pee tube that I’m getting today, the latter being the backup plan if something goes wrong after the reconstructive surgery.
When all is said and done, I should be as good as new. I should be able to pee across a football field and if I don’t have one of those handy, at the very least blow toilets off the wall like a superhero but without the laser beams.
The success rate of this type of procedure is 90%-95% for long-term success and as all the medical information I’ve read on the Internet says, “should be considered the gold standard as a solution for this type of problem.” The previous surgeries have a very low long term success rate so it’s comforting to know that my body is behaving just as doctors expect.
I’m apprehensive about the length of time for the procedures and the recovery; when all is said and done it’ll be like 11 weeks of prep and recovery time. But, other than a couple of weeks after the reconstruction part in March, I should be able to carry on just as I do today, albeit with just a little extra hardware. I did it before in 2015 and I can do it again in 2017.
I’m looking forward to not living with this issue anymore; all my life when I’ve had to go the bathroom I’ve had to say a little prayer, “please let everything work”.
From now on I know that everything should just work.