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Movember, My Story

What is Movember? Movember is about Men’s Health issues. I hadn’t overthought it, but a few years ago, it hit home. This anecdote is from 2016 but is still very prominent in my thinking.

I’d just returned from CPFC16 and was still thinking of all the great innovative ideas I had been inspired to write when my health suddenly went very wrong. I’d been having issues with my bladder that I had hoped would disappear. As you can guess, that was not the brightest thing, and things worsened.

The story started the Monday after I got home. To be blunt, I couldn’t urinate, and it started hurting. Like a numb skull, I picked up my carpool mate. Four times driving in, I pulled the car over and attempted to urinate to no avail. Finally, after working for 2 hours, I decided to go home and call my wife. She yelled at me, “Go to the HOSPITAL!” I took her advice. I continued to spasm and feel like I was about to explode while driving there (screaming in pain every few minutes).

The emergency room at the Queensway Carleton Hospital was quite busy. I was quickly triaged and found to have a heart rate through the roof and a blood pressure to match, and I was shouting in pain. If you show up at Emerg with these symptoms, you get to go straight in. I continued to groan and yell in pain until I was diagnosed with complete retention, and my bladder was in spasm.

The QCH Emerg team did a fantastic job, put in a catheter, and gave me a pain-relieving shot. That crisis was finally over (although I continued to spasm for a while longer). I held around 1.5 litres in me and was in danger of causing permanent damage had I not come in. I was given a tutorial on dealing with my new Catheter and told to contact my Doctor. Luckily I was already seeing a urologist and was due to see him a week later.

I learned to live with my Catheter. When I saw my Urologist, he wasn’t sure what might have caused this problem. He knew I had a larger prostate but wasn’t sure that was the case, so he took the Catheter out to see what might happen. Four days later, I was at the QCH emergency room (luckily with already filled-in forms from my Doctor), and they replaced the Catheter.

We tried this once more, and I was scheduled for a “scope.” You can guess where the scope might go; sure enough, my prostate had grown and was now obstructing my urethra. Drug treatment wasn’t going to help, so I got scheduled for a Trans Urethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP).

The procedure went OK, a few hiccups in my recovery, but nothing too serious. I am now somewhat back to normal, with a few side effects that I am dealing with. The reasons this happened are still unclear, but it is not considered cancer. All tests have shown clean for Cancer, but I also know that Prostate Cancer can be elusive in tests.

What does Movember Mean?

Why am I writing this story in a Finance blog? First, November is Men’s Health Awareness month (Movember Canada), so let me help with a simple checklist that could have made this incident less stressful for me (and my Loving Wife, who was an angel throughout this thing).

  • I had a “scare” 10 years ago, when my blood test suggested cancer of the prostate. I had a biopsy, which came back clean, but that (in hindsight) was a warning. Catching cancer early is essential for men.
  • If you have issues peeing, you need to tell your Doctor. Don’t think it is an isolated incident, tell the Doctor. Remember to see your Doctor more than once every ten years too.
  • If things feel like they are “getting worse” (restricted stream, getting up three times a night to pee, etc., ) go and see your Doctor and get referred to a Urologist.
  • If you can’t pee for more than 6 hours (and you think you should), it is  time to go to the  Emergency Room
  • Prostates are finicky, as your Urologist will tell you, but things can go wrong quickly, so don’t “piss around” (pardon the pun).

Better to be Lucky?

I was fortunate that the Queensway Carleton Hospital staff acted quickly and professionally (even though I was shouting and starting to get quite agitated). I also had my TURP at the QCH, and they treated me very well. My Urologist did a great job, as did my GP, but they have also been very frank with me about things. I will most likely have to have another TURP sometime in the future. The good news, I know the warning signs and will not ignore them.

Don’t wait, don’t be squeamish, don’t be afraid, and you will be fine. If you do nothing, things will not get better.

Another classic, do as I say, not as I do, article by me!

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Thank goodness you listened to your wife 😉 Thank goodness for our healthcare system too!
    Ouch, 1.5 L is a LOT to hold in the bladder. Thank goodness you had it drained out through the catheter, it must have been a welcome relief.
    I keep telling my husband to get a GP and he’s been deferring it for 3 years. He has a deadline now, to get one before his birthday in a few months.

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