What Happens After You Survive Prostate Cancer

A disconnect —Danny Bogard’s story

Danny Bogard had resigned himself to never having sex again. He was 56 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had surgery to remove his prostate.

Bogard’s doctors were very up-front with him before his prostate surgery. “They told me I would be impotent,” said Bogard, now 70. “It was very clear that my sex life was over.”

A radical prostatectomy involves removing the entire prostate and surrounding tissue, which might include the seminal vesicles and some lymph nodes. Twenty or so years ago, the surgery was more invasive. Now, laparoscopic surgery provides more precision whereby a surgeon makes several small incisions using a robotic device.

At the time, Bogard said he was fine with the prognosis. “I figured I’m getting older, and my wife was very understanding. We had had a good sex life up until then. I thought everything would be OK.” But it wasn’t. There was a mental, emotional and physical void in his life — and with his wife.

It wasn’t until eight years later when Bogard was at a VA hospital (he’s a Vietnam War vet) that he learned about penile implants from one of his doctors. “No one in all those years had ever mentioned it,” he said. “I was so frustrated. I immediately said yes (to getting an implant).”

In 2010, Bogard received a three-piece inflatable penile implant, and he couldn’t be happier.

“It’s very discrete; it works well every time, and I’m able to have orgasms,” he said. “The emotional and spiritual aspect of having an orgasm is even more enhanced, because I went eight years without it.”

Bogard is still happily married, but the couple went through a rough patch because of the erectile dysfunction. Bogard said he didn’t realize — until after the fact — the emotional and physical distance that he had allowed to come between the two of them.

“Men don’t talk about things,” Bogard said. “I pushed my wife away. It wasn’t her fault, but (ED) was a constant reminder of what I wasn’t able to do. So I started doing things that I could do alone and not involve her.” - Danny Bogard

Danny Bogard

Manhood challenged — Herschel Chalk’s story

Herschel Chalk is a 22-year, two-time prostate cancer survivor.

Like Bogard, Chalk said getting a penile implant was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

Unlike Bogard, Chalk had been searching for a solution to correct his ED for quite some time. He tried everything from pills to injections to vacuum pumps, but nothing helped. ED was taking its toll on him and his relationship with his wife at the time.

“I thought you can’t be a man if you can’t satisfy a woman. It was affecting my psyche and my feeling of needing to feel whole,” Chalk said. “I thought my manhood was being challenged.”

“I was only concerned about my livelihood,” he continued. “For me, when you don’t have an erection, you don’t have affection. If can’t get where I want to go, why start the journey? It’s how I was raised.”

The two have been divorced for a number of years, and today Chalk is single and dating.

“The implants work for me, my sex life and my girlfriend,” said Chalk, whose attitude toward sex has been tempered a bit. “Sex doesn’t have anything to do with being a man,” he said.

Herschel Chalk

The procedure

Penile implants have been around since the early ’70s and have proven to be the most effective over the years and without the side effects that come with other ED treatments.

“The implants can be inflated or deflated whenever you want, allowing for more control over an erection,” said Dr. Lawrence Jenkins, a clinical assistant professor with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Even so, penile implants are one of the most underutilized treatments, said Dr. Gregory Lowe, a urologist and men’s sexual health specialist for OhioHealth, who performs penile implant surgeries in the Columbus area.

A penile implant is designed to be a permanent solution to ED. It is completely contained inside the body and allows couples to be spontaneous – which is difficult with other treatment options. Men are able to maintain their erection as long as they want, and the implant does not typically interfere with orgasm or ejaculation.

Both Bogard and Chalk were so pleased with the results that they conduct group and one-on-one talks with other men struggling with erectile dysfunction who are considering getting an implant.

“I’ve found guys aren’t prone to surgery because they don’t know about it,” Bogard said. “Or they are concerned about going under.”

Added Chalk, “(Men) have conditioned themselves into thinking that they don’t need sex anymore. They say ‘I don’t care because there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“But knowledge is power,” Chalk continued.

Visit EDCure.org to find more information on treatment options, find a local Urologist in your area, register for local educational events, and to hear more patient stories. LEARN MORE HERE

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