My book, Ripped Out began as a journal - a way for me to cope with having prostate cancer by recording what was happening and the decisions I was making. I have created this website and blog to provide me and others a way to continue writing and sharing thoughts, experiences and learnings about life in general, including but not limited to how we deal with cancer.
Dealing with prostate cancer forced me to deal with feelings of fear, anger, love, despair, and joy. It has helped me to understand myself as a spiritual being. I am grateful for all that I have learned.
Ripped Out is my physical, emotional and spiritual story, recorded as I progressed through diagnosis, choosing, surgery, recovery, more surgery and more recovery. Initially I wrote often, and then months would go by with no entries. Life happened. We retired, sold one house, built another, children married, grandchildren came, we traveled. In 2006 my prostate was removed. In 2007 my PSA reading doubled and three months later went back to negligible. In 2008, I had surgery to install a penile implant. In 2012, I had surgery to install a male sling which has greatly reduced my incontinence.
The prostate is a central part of the male sexual experience. Without a prostate it is not possible for us to ejaculate or to father children. Our sexuality is so closely tied to our reproductive organs that it is almost impossible to imagine being a man without them. When a prostate is removed, most men become impotent. Only some recover, and the amount of recovery varies.
Prostate cancer can destroy what we think is the core of our masculinity. Dealing with any cancer is difficult; dealing with prostate cancer I found to be the most difficult challenge of my life.
Throughout my life I have been learning, sometimes desperately, sometimes with intention, how to be a man. Dealing with my cancer is helping me in that quest.
I invite others to read my book and to share in my blog whatever thoughts, feelings and questions they may have.
--Bill Martin, author