Svend Erik Bodi from Denmark talks about the challenges of incontinence and impotence
I was healthy and had absolutely no symptoms of prostate problems at all. I had a visitor who told me that he had prostate cancer. It had spread to 12 places in his body and in one year he would be dead, he said. I asked him how he had found out that he had prostate cancer. He said that he had had problems with his shoulder and had visited a doctor, and then the cancer had been found.
I had worked a lot on the computer and I too had problems with my shoulder. Therefore I called my doctor and told him the story. Luckily, he was a clever guy and he asked me to come down so he could take a blood sample for a PSA test – and then I could forget all about it. Next day he called me and said that there was a problem. My PSA was 12, and I should have some biopsies taken. This was done. The Gleason score was 8 and an operation was necessary.
I had my prostate removal surgery in November 2014. I was told that there was a 30% risk that I would be incontinent and a 70% risk that I would be impotent. Unfortunately, I am both now.
Two years on from my operation, I had absolutely no control of my water. I used 10-12 diapers per day. I contacted my doctor and asked for help. I had two ProACT balloons implanted and now I only use one or two diapers per day. That is much better. Now I can do anything I want: I play soccer, tennis and badminton, hunt and sail and have no limits anymore.
I did not expect impotence to be a problem, but it is. I do not consider myself a real man if I am impotent. Therefore, I once again contacted my doctor and told him about my frustration. He sent me to a sexologist who presented me with many options. First they gave me Viagra tablets, but they had no effect. The next thing I used was gel called Muse, but that did not work either. Then we tried a medication call Caverject, and that worked. I was also introduced to the penis pump, which provides a reasonable activation of the penis and makes intercourse possible.
Now I am active in the Danish society for men with prostate cancer, PROPA where I support men who are in the same situation as I am and I can help them with my experiences.