Item for Sale
Item: Surgical suspensory bandage
Size: XX large (not bragging) 65a Type 3
Cost: Free – with delivery
Reason for selling: It’s getting on my nerves
One extra, extra large white surgical suspensory bandage made from 95% cotton. This sultry piece of torture-wear comes complete with a penis hole and adjustable waist strap. Take your testicles on holiday and let them relax in style, in their very own sleek hammock sling. You’ll feel incredibly restricted and itchy in no time at all, and toilet times will never be the same. Combine with tight fitting underpants for ultimate strangulation and that budgie-smuggling sensation you’ve been searching for!
Time for a Moan
As you may have figured out, I’ve just about had enough of the chastity belt. It’s been 6 days feeling like a perverted sex pest, wearing a net curtain nappy around my nads. That’s enough. In the words of Mr Mercury – I want to break free. So far, throughout this extremely testing and difficult period of my life, I’ve tried to remain as upbeat as possible. Not just to help others where I can through this blog, but to help myself and my family get through this.
This is blog number 7 in the series and is the point where I have to admit, remaining upbeat is becoming difficult. So if it’s alright with you, I’m taking this opportunity to spit my dummy out. I am bloody sick of this now. The sling, the scar, the sensation of someone stabbing me in the stomach – I’ve had my fill thank you.
We’ve been in lockdown on and off for over a year, so being restricted to the house should feel normal. At least beforehand I could walk my dog. My current situation means I’m either in bed or on the couch. I feel well and truly caged. Boredom isn’t even the word!
Waiting for Surgery VS Recovery
Many people I’ve spoken to since the surgery have said, “I bet you feel better now the surgery is out of the way.” This may surprise you, but actually, no I don’t. Not yet. Don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon that the tumour has been removed and my testicles look completely normal again (despite a little bruising). Crazy! Last week one of them was the size of my fist, now they look as if nothing ever happened. So, all good, right? Happy days?
Everyone is different and will react differently, and surgery may be the worst part for many people going through something similar. The relief of having the tumour removed is huge and is obviously a massive weight off the shoulders, mind and spirit. However, there are a number of reasons why the recovery, so far, has been worse than my experience of the surgery.
Reasons Why Recovery is Harder than Surgery
- You’re asleep during the operation so it’s over in a flash.
- You have to wear a ball sling.
- My testicles didn’t hurt beforehand, they certainly do now!
- You have to wear a ball sling.
- I could hardly move for the first 2 to 3 days.
- You have to wear a ball sling.
- The itch!
- You have to wear a…
Waiting Game Part II
Ball sling aside, the biggest reason I am finding the recovery period hard is because the journey isn’t quite over yet. I’ve had the tumour removed and I would very much like that to be the final part of this process. But I am still waiting on the histology report, which will tell me what stage my cancer was at and if I need any further treatment.
Further treatment may involve chemotherapy or radiotherapy. You can find more information about this on the Testicular Cancer page. For me, going to sleep and having a stranger cut a hole in my groin to remove one of my testicles was fine. I’m not too keen on the idea of chemotherapy. In truth, I really don’t want it. This is what makes this waiting game worse than the previous one leading up to surgery. I just want to know what the situation is and when this will all come to an end.
The Recovery Timeline
If you are about to go through something similar in surgery, the best way I can help provide advice and guidance on your recovery is to break each day down one-by-one.
Day 1: Relief
This is the day of the surgery, which finished at 5pm and I was home for 7pm. The after effects of the anaesthetic and the relief of having the tumour removed made me feel on top of the world. It felt extremely tender and tight around my groin area, which feels like having really bad cramp. I was told very clearly not to exercise, lift anything, do any housework or move anywhere far for at least 2 weeks.
You must have someone with you for the first 48 hours, and they basically have to wait on you hand and foot. Not bad at all! At this point I had a stiff drink, a sandwich in hand, and a relieved smile on my face.
- When you get back home, get comfy and do not move!
- Leave the bandaging and scars alone – no showers for at least 5 days.
- The feeling of relief is almost overwhelming – if you have made it this far then well done you, be proud of yourself!
Day 2: Discomfort
The euphoria of making it through surgery and losing a tumour is replaced with sweet discomfort and tenderness. I woke up feeling like I’d been stabbed – which was pretty much the case really. I’d been stabbed and mugged, robbed of my right testicle. In a pantry. Still can’t believe that! Read more about my store cupboard surgery here.
Anyway, the discomfort really isn’t that bad. As a man, you will undoubtedly make more of it than it is and complain like you’ve been shot a few times. I did. To be fair, the pain is about 4 out of 10 at this point.
- Take paracetamol and ibuprofen every 4 hours.
- Move around as little as possible.
- Find something that will keep you busy for the next few weeks – you will need it!
- Don’t touch anything around the scar or ball area. Just don’t.
Day 3: Pain
Forget the 4, the pain in my groin is now 6 out of 10. I can hardly walk, stretch or reach for the remote control – and the TV is stuck on Loose Women. Pain rating is now an 8. The late arrival of pain is due to bruising (bruises get a little bit worse before they get better). And also Janet Street-Porter.
Today is the hottest day in April since forever. I’m welded to my couch. Could things get any worse? No, so don’t worry. The second day following your surgery will most probably be the worst in terms of discomfort and boredom. Things can only get better from here!
- Keep taking paracetamol and ibuprofen every 4 hours.
- Keep busy and remain positive – you’re almost over the hump!
- Don’t get upset that it’s bank holiday weekend and everyone is out in the sun apart from you (okay maybe that one is just for me).
Day 4: Normality
The pain and discomfort has eased a lot! This is important though, as the surgeon did warn me that I would start to feel normal again after day 3. He was right. I felt like I could manage a small walk around the block with my dog. I was wrong. I got a few yards out the front door and had to come back, it was starting to put pressure and create discomfort in my groin and scrotum. Not a good idea.
The surgeon said if I overdo things I could cause a bleed in my scrotum. So please, if you are going through this, continue to do nothing for at least another week!
- You feel normal but you are not yet normal – continue to do as little as possible.
- Don’t pull forward and accidentally let go of your elasticated sling strap. It hurts. A lot.
- Avoid the ever present, overbearing desire to scratch your balls. It hurts. A lot.
Day 5: Realisation
This was the day that the penny dropped for me. Before surgery, all of my focus and desire was on removing the tumour. All I wanted was for it to be gone and I wasn’t really thinking much else. After surgery, the focus and desire was switched towards recovering well and to not feel any more discomfort. Now that was all done, everything hit home.
It sounds daft to say at this stage, but this is where it finally sunk in for me. Five days after surgery and 4 weeks after noticing the lump, only at this point did it really hit me. I am a cancer patient. It happened quickly and randomly one night. All the bravery and positivity shown thus far drained from me like water through a plug. I had a mini crash and a massive baby-like blubber.
Having a testicle removed is not something that will happen to me anymore, it’s actually happened. This is it, me and my prosthetic right testicle are a thing. I am now and may forever be known as the guy who had testicular cancer. The mind works in mysterious ways, why now would it only just be hitting home? Day 5 was definitely the worst for me in terms of feeling sorry for myself, but I probably needed it. You can’t keep it together all of the time, and the emotional release was helpful.
- This is where boredom really begins to set in – so keep your mind busy but your body still.
- Take the time to reflect on what you’ve been through – you’re awesome for going through this!
- It is absolutely fine to have a mini crash or outburst of emotion at any point in your journey. Everyone will deal with this differently and the penny will drop when it needs to. Don’t fight these emotions, embrace them, you’re going to need them all.
Day 6: Shower time
Right, enough of that, less feeling sorry for myself because today is a good day! This is the day I can take off my Godforsaken sling, get butt naked and have a shower! I haven’t had one since the morning of my surgery and I’m beginning to pong! Taking the sling off was an absolute joy. My balls were free! The hammock part of the sling is elasticated and grips the back of your scrotum when you wear it. The skin underneath here was red raw and very sore, but that did not deter me from enjoying my shower!
Taking off my bandaging around the groin area certainly did though. The scar is huge! At least 3 to 4 inches long. What absolutely confuses me is that they didn’t shave my groin before surgery. They shaved a neat little line where they made the cut, but not the pubic hair around it, which is underneath the sticky part of my bandage. I now have to rip this off. Glorious. So, on this day, I ended up giving myself a hair wax. Not quite a Brazilian. I call it the Mancunian. It’s bushy down the left hand side, with a landing strip in the crack of my right groin. Doubtful this will become fashionable.
- Do not directly soap or rub your balls when showering, just let water trickle it’s way down to them. They are still too tender and delicate to scrub!
- Take off your bandage with care – use scissors to trim any hairs caught in the bandage.
- Do not overdo it! You will feel liberated and normal again, but you are still severely tender and bruised internally.
- Drip dry or pat yourself dry. Either way, do not rub!
First Week Down, Two to Go
Not long now, the first week is almost done, just 2 more to go in terms of full recovery from surgery. Easy! I’m still not quite ready to tell people I’ve kicked cancer’s arse, because it’s not quite over yet. I’m desperately waiting on the histology report, where they will tell me if I require any further treatment. I’ll write the next blog when I get that report, which should be within 2 weeks’ time. Fingers crossed it won’t be too long!