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Catheters, purple bruising, sex, indigestion, and no hockey stick!

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  • Catheters, purple bruising, sex, indigestion, and no hockey stick!

    This is my first post. I just wanted to throw out random info I’ve learned from my cancer experience. This was info that can be hard to find, so I’m hoping it will be a help to others. Some of it is a little graphic, but I doubt there are any squeamish people here!

    1. Catheters. Following my I/O, I was (quite unfortunately) one of the 15-20% of patients who just couldn’t urinate on my own. I was told various reasons: the anesthesia, anxiety, the trauma to the pelvic area from the surgery, etc. They did an ultrasound on my bladder and saw it had 800 ml, which was pretty full, so I had to get a catheter. They put the catheter in just for a minute to drain the bladder, then took it out. There’s no point lying: it stings, and in a very sensitive area. The thing is, once they take it out, you’re still in the same boat. A few hours later I still couldn’t urinate, despite every prayer I could think of, so I had to get another catheter. This was a long-term catheter that can stay in for a month. It’s bigger than the first one and hurts more. If you’re getting this, TAKE AS MANY PAIN MEDS AS THEY ALLOW BEFOREHAND. I had two doses of Percoset, a Vicodin, and a sleeping pill. An hour and a half later it was still stinging, and I told the nurse it had to come out soon. Luckily, I finally fell asleep, and when I woke up a few hours later it no longer hurt. I went home the next morning, catheter strapped to my leg. Forty-eight hours after my surgery I took the catheter out myself (discomfort, but not painful). I was sweating bullets for a few hours, thinking I might have to have another one put it, but then I was finally able to urinate on my own. For a day or two, urination stings a bit (from catheter damage) and is frequent and in small amounts, but you won’t care: you’re just happy to have the catheter out.

    2. Starting a few days after the I/O, purple bruising appeared at the base of my penis. I had used medical tape to tape gauze around the catheter, so I thought the bruising was from the tape. But I’ve heard it mentioned by other people who never had a catheter. At any rate, it certainly looked like harmless soft-tissue bruising, and was painless. It slowly disappeared over the course of 4-5 days. I was never worried about it and never asked the doctor.

    3. People wonder how soon after the I/O can they have sex, and I think there’s a general concern to know if what’s left still works. I know there was for me. I didn’t want to have sex, not only because of the stitches and the risk of a hernia, but I was scared to think of what might happened internally upon orgasm: would something go wrong? I was not ready to find out. Nine days after the I/O, I was feeling pretty good with taking walks, doing stairs, etc., and generally felt my recovery was moving along well. My girlfriend and I tried sex, very slowly and carefully, so as not to risk a hernia or stress the stitches. All went as it should, which I was relieved to find. Beyond the psychological issues, there was no change to sexual function or performance. Still, I think we’ll wait a few more weeks to try again, just to be safe.

    4. Indigestion/burping. Two days into radiation I started having a ton of abdominal gas/burping. Literally, a sip of water would lead to 4-5 burps within a minute. I shrugged it off, but by day four (today), the indigestion led to a fairly constant stomach pain, perhaps from all the acid. The doctor advised Gas-X or Bean-O. I’ve taken Gas-X and ginger tea, to no effect. Luckily, I then discovered that soy milk put out the fire immediately. I’ve read of people drinking Maalox. Milk also would probably work as well as soy milk, but radiation can make you lactose intolerant. Soy is good for you anyway (reduces the risk of prostate cancer), and my organic vanilla-flavored soy milk has a great sweet taste.

    5. No hockey stick! I’m going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. My doctor (Dr. Pisansky) said he’s had nearly identical (1% difference) results in just treating the abdomen and staying away from the pelvis versus doing the classic hockey stick rad treatment -- as long as there’s no sign of cancer in the pelvic lymph nodes (I had classic seminoma, which usually goes straight to the abdominal lymph nodes). The upside of doing just the abdomen is the remaining good testicle is not dosed, there are no intestinal radiation side effects, and you don’t get the future risk of prostate cancer (plus if you do get prostate cancer down the road, you can then have radiation there since you haven’t been radiated there yet).

    And that is my long-form two cents. Hope everyone is or will soon be healthy!

  • #2
    Welcome to the forums, Kevin, and thanks for sharing that grab bag of information!
    Scott, [email protected]
    right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since

    Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!


    • #3
      Hi Kevin,

      I can appreciate what you went through with the catheter. My husband
      had a knee replaced in February and had a catheter for five weeks!! Once a week we made a trip to the urologist for a "Fill and Pull"
      to see if he would be able to urinate on his own and each time we had to return to the urologist's office to have the catheter put back in. He finally had to have half of his enlarged prostate surgically removed and is now urinating like a 20 year old.

      I can't believe you removed it yourself! I think he and I both would have passed out if he had to do that!

      Take care,



      • #4
        Originally posted by DianeE
        I can't believe you removed it yourself! I think he and I both would have passed out if he had to do that!
        Having had the pleasure of having one removed, I'll second that statement. I hope you deflated the little balloon that held it in place!
        Right I/O 4/22/1988
        RPLND 6/20/1988
        Left I/O 9/17/2003

        Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will; to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


        • #5
          good one fish. the one cath i had when i had biopsy (nov 06) you could pull out on your own. the one at rplnd time was with a balloon. i kept asking the nurse if she could tape it so it wouldnt pull from weight of the bag. kind of a discomfort and all.
          severe back pain ( found to be tumor rpgct) no pain/irregularities with twins at all
          diagnosed 11-15-06 stage 3c mets to lungs/shortness of breath, choriocarcinoma, hcg 212,000
          11-16-06 1st of 4 rnds. in patient bep
          2-07 1st of 3 rnds. in patient salvage tip
          met dr. einhorn 4-17-07 ultra-sound (1st one)
          5-10-07 left i/o (immature teratoma)
          7-12-07 rplnd (dr.foster)
          8-16-07 all-clear and in surveillance mode
          started TRT...androgel 12-5-08
          fight the good can win


          • #6
            Yes, it was the balloon kind -- and they didn't give me the syringe to deflate it, so I had a nurse over the phone talking me through where to cut it to drain the balloon and then how to pull it out. Definitely not the right way to get things done, but I just had to get that thing out.


            • #7
              All this catheter talk is making me feel faint. Rob's on his second one now, he's draining so fast (from the RPLND) the urinal pitchers they had wouldn't hold enough!

              Good rundown of your experiences, Kevin!
              Rob and Stacy
              DX: 3/10/05, AFP: 15,047, L I/O: 3/28/05, Yolk sac tumor & teratoma, Stage IIIC, 3xBEP & 1xEP: 4/4/07 - 6/25/07, AFP: 14, RPLND 8/10/07, w. left kidney removed. 10/19/07, AFP: 1.9