Here came a real shock for me. I had not read the section of the prostate cancer book yet that covered urinary control. At first, it took a real concentrated effort to hold back the flow of urine. This is not something I could do for an extended period at first. They gave me some pads at the Dr’s office before I left and headed for home after making a follow up appointment for a couple of weeks later.
The first few days were very depressing. I was wearing these thick pads and every time I moved I could feel urine leaking out. As long as I squeezed, I could stop it but how could I possibly squeeze all the time? In fact, the muscles down there started to get sore from squeezing all the time. Anyway, in spite of how it might seem for the first couple of days, it does get better over time.
After a week, I was able to change from the giant pads to the medium ones. At about the same time, I gained pretty good night control, meaning I could keep the pad mostly dry. I was waking up every 2 to 3 hours to urinate but I was able to get up and keep it squeezed off long enough to get to the bathroom.
After the second week, I was able to change to the thin pads. By the fourth week after the catheter was removed, I was back at work full time and able to keep a thin pad mostly dry throughout the day. Mostly dry means there was usually a half-dollar sized wet spot on the pad by the end of the day. The important thing for urine control is not to get discouraged. Some men take up to a year to fully regain control and for those who have trouble, there are exercises and biofeedback techniques to help. Just keep working on it. I was able to give up the pads 5 months after the surgery.
Air in the bladder
I need to mention one oddity. I guess that while the catheter was in place, air was allowed to get into the bladder. After all, it was not filling up with urine as usual and I suppose it was in a kind of relaxed state. For a couple of days after the catheter was removed I would expel air as well as urine when I was urinating. It feels pretty strange.
Before the catheter is removed, exercise is a little awkward if not difficult. Once it is removed exercise is much easier even if uncomfortable. I urge you to get as much exercise as you can stand. I don’t mean that you should overdo it, but the more physical activity you can stand, the more quickly you will heal. I started out doing 5 minutes on a stationary bike the day after the catheter was removed, adding about 5 minutes every day. By the sixth week after surgery, I was nearly up to the same level of exercise that I had before the surgery. By the way, if you do not normally exercise, try to start doing so BEFORE the surgery. The better condition you are in going in, the better are your odds for a quick recovery.