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by Joeli O'Leary   |   July 5, 2022

Side Effect Management: One Patient’s Story

Brad J. is a proud father with two grown children. His then-wife, daughter, and son, were by his side when he received his prostate cancer diagnosis in 1996 after a routine screening at just 57 years old. Brad, a Chief Information Officer at a Healthcare company on Long Island, opted for a radical prostatectomy with the goal of removing the cancer in one foul swoop, so he could get on with his life.

Brad had his prostate removed as quickly as possible, but unfortunately on his post-operative exam, his cancer margins were still high. He had to undergo 37 rounds of radiation. Unfortunately, in the 90’s, there was no spacer or product available to protect the sexual organs during radiation, so while the radiation was successful, it also caused erectile dysfunction. 

Over the next ten years, Brad tried everything. Medication simply did not work. Vacuum pumps were too awkward. The Caverject Vial was the only thing that worked, but the erection was too painful. Confidence was dwindling and he gave up on that part of his life and shifted his focus on other areas of wellness. He needed a hip replacement and knee replacements. After a wonderful trip to Italy, Brad underwent his first surgery, a hip replacement, which required a catheter. The hip replacement went well, but the catheter caused more complications and he began suffering with incontinence. 

Incontinence is extremely difficult to live with. “You’d go to work and be nervous to sit on a fabric chair,” Brad explained. This was no way to live. And while he was nervous to have another surgery, especially near his penis, his urologist walked him through the AMS Artificial Urinary Sphincter procedure. In 2008, he decided to go for it. “The procedure was not very painful, and the change was nearly immediate. I got the procedure Friday and was back at work by the following Tuesday”.

The success of this procedure prompted Brad to dig deeper into his erectile dysfunction. At this point, he was divorced and had moved back into New York City—looking for a new lease on life. The idea of dating again was scary while suffering from ED. He spoke to his urologist about his options, weary of trying yet another failed solution. The AMS inflatable penile prosthesis had come up before, but the surgery made him nervous. Now that he’d been through a penile surgery, he felt comfortable enough to say yes. 

“The surgery was easy. The recovery was a bit longer, but the results have been amazing. It’s been 13 years and if for some reason I had to go through it again, I would, without a doubt.”

Brad, now 82 years old, has been with his partner for the last 7 years. They love to travel and sail—and have another trip planned for Italy in October. 

“After prostate cancer, quality of life is possible with the advances in technology that are available. I am grateful for the difference they make in my life.”