I’m right at the three-month mark since I had my prostate removed. Ultimately, it was a minor surgery. I had a small organ taken out of my body, roughly the size of a walnut (the organ, not my body). And it wasn’t even an organ essential for life, just one that makes life a bit more fun.
And as of now, it was successful. At my last appointment, my blood work showed a PSA of 0. I can’t ever remember what “PSA” states for – Post-Surgery Aggravation? Prostate Stuff: Annoying? Physicians Staring Attentively? – but I know that 0 is good. I’ll have further blood tests in the months ahead, but for now I am cancer free. Huzzah!
Cancer-free but not yet fully recovered. That may have been a simple surgery but I’m still feeling it day to day, some days more than others, depending on whether I’ve actually, you know, done anything, like breathe heavily. I’ll be feeling fine one day and think, “I’m my old self! I’m strong! Okay, I’m my old self, but I can do all the things again!” So I do all the things and I’m back where I was, feeling like my parts are wrapped in rubber bands, and not in a good way. Otis Redding sang, “Try a little tenderness.” I’ve tried it; I don’t like it. Who knew the groin did so much of the heavy lifting?
People have continued to be very kind and concerned, and I tell them about these ups and downs when they inquire about my recovery and, if they’re so inclined, about the stretching and the cutting and the reattaching that took place until they say, “Enough!” And while I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not shy about discussing it, not everyone, of course, feels the same way. They might wonder how I’m doing but they don’t feel comfortable asking or they don’t want to invade my privacy or they’re not quite sure what I’m doing in their kitchen.
I’m nothing if not helpful (in other words, most of the time I’m nothing), so for those not at ease about inquiring after me, I offer this short guide to reading my body language. PSA: Please Study Accordingly!
Walking with legs stiff, barely bending at the knees
Dealing with mild discomfort or possibly too long in the long johns
Climbing over tables, lifting large packages, squatting to take photographs
Feeling top notch, energetic, free from pain
Moving slowly with “hands in pockets” that aren’t fooling anyone
Feeling regret for climbing over tables, lifting large packages, squatting to take photographs
Dragging left leg, stomping, then dragging right leg back and stomping
Participating in a Michael Jackson “Thriller” flash mob for one
Suddenly sitting straight up in bed
Rolled over on it
Perching on edges of chairs, tucking one leg under, standing frequently
Discovering what a “perineum” is and its important role in sitting comfortably or, in this case, not
Sidewalks are icy, man!
Sighing and grunting with every bend and stretch
Normal behaviour; just old
Thought for a second it moved; false alarm
Grimacing and going pale
Just remembering that catheter, man!
Standing still, blank expression, gazing off
Pondering the nature of manhood, whether one’s physicality defines what it is to be a man or whether it is merely an outward show of the essence of manhood, which has more to do with strength of character than physical strength, and yet we continue to impose limitations on ourselves based on social conventions and gender assumptions that ultimately chip away at that character, equating loss of virility with failure and conquest with success. Or possibly it’s just gas.
Walking swiftly but with short steps, head forward
Just drank a lot of tea, need to make it home, feeling empathy for every woman who ever gave birth
God bless painkillers
Moving furtively, head hung low, hiding face
Feeling embarrassed about writing this post