Cinco De Mayo!!! Woohoo! Here is a wonderful Update regarding my original story below:
It’s been 9 months and 2 weeks since I had a prostatectomy to treat my cancer. And ONE week ago yesterday I concluded my Physical Rehabilitation program At the Miriam Hospital Men’s Health Center with Elisa Virgilio, DPT as my PT – http://www.womensmedicine.org/providers/
Well Cinco the Mayo will be a date to remember. Since I wrote the original essay below, I have made incredible progress and as of the today the following milestones have occurred:
– I’m now 100% continent in all situations including daily life, night time, and vigorous activities.
– I’m down to using only one pair of under wear and a very thin shield per day, as I’m still getting used to feeling 100% normal
– Phantom sensations of the pelvic\urinary regions that have gone away
– Constant awareness of my pelvic region have also gone away and I now feel completely like the way I did pre-surgery.
– I’m now waking up to go to the bathroom or throughout the day less often than I did even before surgery.
– Today I went for a brisk 7 mile walk with our 3 dogs, and had no issues at all.
– Any incontinence related emotional stress and physical discomfort is also gone.
Me and our Pack on a 7 mile walk
So the cancer is gone – Strike 1
Incontinence has been conquered – Strike 2
ED… well it’s the next and last strike in order for me to Win this battle and return to a complete and normal life…
So today, being Cinco De Mayo, as a final test, I think it’s only proper to celebrate with a few Margaritas and a couple of Cervezas tonight!
Feliz cinco de Mayo
And best of all our first grandson Max Reed Olarte born 2 weeks ago will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with us today… in fact he’s got his first gig tonight playing maracas… just kidding 😉
Ready for my first gig, Can’t help but laugh, I look as handsome as my Abuelito…
Life is looking great these days, It feels good to be back to an almost normal life!
With Peace, Love & Ukulele
Ivan M. Olarte
Orinal Essay as posted on Tuesday May 28, 2015:
Please get checked for early signs of Prostate Cancer, I may save your life!
Pssst… great story for you.
Wow do I have a story for you.
I am a young 53 male, yet feeling much older and broken these days… copying with Diabetes type II, joint and back pains, and most of all with the recovery of a radical Prostatectomy to combat prostate cancer almost a year ago.
I had DaVinci robotic surgery in July 20, 2014. I recovered ok, the cancer has been eradicated, but have had both incontinence and ED since then which are common side effects of this surgery.
My PSA is 0.01 so far after two consecutive tests. so at least the cancer has been eradicated.
Erectile dysfunction is still very much a way of life, with injections working only about 25% and as of right now sex is non-existent. However as some of you may know you can still reach a climax, even without an erection so I suppose that’s a side bonus of this whole thing. And in due time, it is expected that the nerve that was spared will “wake up” and normal sexual function will resume. This can take from one to two years after surgery.
Having ED is at least manageable, but finding yourself not able to control your bladder, and never knowing when you are going to literally wet your pants even with depends like pads on… well that is a very frustrating and downright depressing way to live…
In January of 2015, to treat the ongoing incontinence, I started treatment with a wonderful Physical Therapist Elisa Virgilio DPT, at the Men’s Health Center at Miriam Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island. Ms. Virgilio holds Doctorate in Physical Therapy and specializes in Men and Women’s urinary issues related to Cancer treatment etc. You can see Ms. Virgilio’s profile at http://www.womensmedicine.org/providers/
I Quickly made progress, and was seeing Ms. Virgilio about every one to two weeks. She had a LOT of information on basic Kegel, advanced Kegel and other exercises and would discuss everything at length, and check to make sure I was doing them ok. The treatment started with a thorough explanation of the urinary system, and what\how particular muscles work to control continence etc.
We worked together for the last 4 months and I did daily exercises as prescribed in 30-45 min sessions. (the toilet early in the AM seems to be the best place to really relax and do the exercises very meticulously).
I made progress to about 75% but would still manage to wet my pants past the Depends pads on a long drive or at least once a day.
Well last Monday I went in to see my Ms. Virgilio, and although I knew we were coming close to stopping routine visits, after a long conversation she reviewed my progress to date, we went over everything very thoroughly, and decided that this was it. I was graduating from the program and would need to work on my own from then on.
Well we agreed, but I went home depressed as I felt scared that I was still nowhere near to leading a normal life. Also those one on one sessions were so candid, motivating and honest, that talking to Ms. Virgilio had become the highlight of my week. Never mind that even though I felt like a broken old man at 53, I found Ms. Virgilio very intelligent, outgoing, funny and attractive woman, and excellent listener, and always providing feedback with a smile and a positive attitude. I left every session feeling motivated and ready to go to the next level in my recovery… So in my heart of hearts I went home depressed.
The next day I woke up depressed like a teenager who had just had his heart broken. Still something in me, the motivation and respect for this woman, made me start right away on my own. We had decided to start using no pads or a very thin pad and see how that went. Well I grabbed the thinnest of pads that morning which I hated because they were useless before.
I continued to with my daily work, but still depressed and sorry for myself. As the workday went by I started to notice that the think little pad was staying dry… Little by little my mood changed from depression to downright surprise and gratitude for Ms. Virgilio. For you see not only did she know how to treat, motivate and coach me, she also knew when it was time to kick me out and make my fly on my own.
NOW 3 days later I’m still going 98% dry. I have used One pair of underwear a day, one thin pad for the whole day and one regular pad at night.
I am waking up only once to go to the bathroom, and the pad has been dry every morning, and stayed that way throughout the day! 3 days and counting…
I have no idea what happened, if it’s a coincidence, a Miracle, Karma, or simply the Excellent skills of this wonderful health care professional at Miriam Hospital’s Men’s Health Center.
All I know is that this through her great work, Ms. Virgilio gave me the skills and motivation to regain a part of my life that I never thought I would get back.
But the magic for me in all this, is how once I took off from the “nest” I have been flying high and dry ever since.
The fact that it happened this way, the day after our last session, makes this a very memorable, positive and beautiful experience. needless to say I have been smiling all week long, and have written to Ms. Virgilio, letting her know of this incredible outcome.
So whatever you do in your own struggles, do not give up, find the right resources and do the work that you must. Hold your head up high and you too can soar on your own once again!.
Celebrating feeling normal again!