This blog post almost writes like one of those horrible commercials ... Prostate Problems? Get control of your life and go Nordic Skiing!
It took me a while to decide whether to blog about my recent problems, but then I decided "we men" don't talk about our health problems, which not only is a shame, but can be dangerous. Thus, swallowing my pride I decided I would use my blog to tell the story of dealing with prostate problems. Please chime in via the comments section with encouragement, or your own observations. Here is my story as it stood last Wednesday: (will update this blog post in the days ahead as I progress through this medical situation)
- Wednesday Leadup (Feb. 13): Came home from work at 7:30 am. Convinced I had the flu. Throwing up violently by 8:30. HUGE, deep intense pain in my lower back and left abdomen. Called the nurses hot line during a break from all the pain, and am convinced to seek medical attention. Drove myself (really dumb) to a local urgent care. Immediately seen and misdiagnosed as having this year's flu, but quickly the focus turns towards the potential of kidney stones.
- Wednesday Emergency Room (Feb. 13): Decision is made to transfer me by ambulance to a local hospital. I was still in severe pain. While on ride to hospital was given morphine for the first time in my life. After arriving at hospital was given stronger pain killing drugs. Entered "La La Land" of hallucinations. CT Scan determined that the problem is not kidney stones, but an enlarged prostate which is blocking most urine flow. A catheter was inserted and pain started to disappear. (i.e. I could not void all my urine, and it was backing up into my kidneys)
Now you have the basic facts, but what about the emotions? At age 56 and a hard core athelete who was training for the Birkie, I was depressed. This was not my idea of a good time! On Thursday morning I saw the urologist, and my initial diagnosis looked good ... just an enlarged prostate. No masses appeared on the CT Scan which might be indicative of cancer. However, more appointments are scheduled for next week which will give my doctor all the data he and I need. As I left the doctor's office I was given a brochure for Green Laser Surgery. I suspect with a high degree of liklihood that some kind of surgery is in my immediate future.
By early Thursday evening my depression deepend. Wearing a catheter was a new and undesirable experience. The unknown was facing me. I still wanted to ski the American Birkiebeiner. However by bed time Thursday night, and after talking through the problem with my wife, and making a phone call to my older brother who had also had prostrate problems, I had decided to attack life. My doctor and nurse had said to not rule out the Birkie. Thus, my goal was to learn how to adjust my life.
Friday afternoon I took my first step. After work I skied 8.5 kilometers, not very far by Birkie training standards as my body was still messed up from its shock on Wednesday ... and oh yes ... I was wearing a catheter. Thus, I figured out different ski clothes to wear (baggy long underwear and ski pants) to fit over the catheter, and took off onto the trails. By the end of my ski, I had completed my hilly circuit in a little under 5 minutes per kilometer (classic, not skate). The skiing went surprising well. Although I did not quite push myself at 100%, I did not lay back either. I learned that my catheter's tubing snakes around to the outside of my leg while skiing. If I fell, crashing upon my tubing would not be good. Thus I abbreviated my ski, and made a trip to the local drug store where I bought additional wraps to really immobilize the tubes in their proper places.
What does the future hold?
- Getting rid of this catheter at some point?
- Skiing the Birkie?
- Surgery? (treating just an enlarged prostate and hopefully no cancer)
- A return to normal including sex with my wife?
The stats say over 50% of you guys will join me in this journey. Hopefully you may learn something from my experiences. Expect this blog post to be updated as I work through this medical problem. Catheter is not a dirty word, but it was hard to talk about it at first and admit to friends I was wearing one.
One important postscript. Do your loved ones have the information they need to help with your medical care? In our case the answer was "no". Learn about Wednesday's events from my wife's perspective when she gets a call from her husband in the emergancy room ... remember I'm on morphine and much stronger drugs. Molly Hoeg's blog post: Are You Prepared?
- Saturday, Feb. 16: Decided to ski Book Across the Bay tonight.
- Completed 20 km ski on the frozen ice of Lake Superior last night (photos)
- Molly and I skied the course twice (over and back, don't take the bus to the start)
- The catheter was chafing while I was skiing. Some research indicates I should get some neosporin antipiotoc ointment to apply where the catheter enters my body.
- Tuesday, Feb. 19: Next planned update ... renal ultrasound medical appointment
Posts in this series:
- Postate Problems and Nordic Skiing (this post)
- Prostate Problems and Nordic Ski Racing: Part 2 (compete with a catheter)
- Post Op: 2 Days After Surgery (surgery ends up a bit more severe than expected)
- Post Op: 1 Week Later - Nordic Skiing! (amazing recovery)
- Post Op: 4 Weeks Later - Cycling!