Life After Surgery: Finding Love and Happiness at 81


So 13 years ago I had my bladder removed along with my prostate and 16 lymph nodes. A urostoma was installed. I was very lucky and for some reason I healed very quickly and was back to work in 3 weeks. Twice I had a nurse show me how to change my bag and I was discharged from the hospital in a week and never saw another nurse.

But I then noticed I never got an erection of any kind. As it turns out, an erection is produced not just with blood (I have a full complement of blood) but by a nerve. During the operation to save my life, this nerve is severed. That's it... no more erections, hence... no more hanky-panky! I was not told this would actually happen, my operating doctor said I might have a problem but there were ways around it.

So was this a big deal? At the time I was devastated!

After some time and thought, my opinion gradually reformed for a number of reasons. First off, I was not 20 years old; I had just turned 60. I had been noticing, as did my wife of 40 years, that my erections weren't the bone hard they were in the past. Well, to be honest, the bone hard thing was fading quickly into memory. So destiny was now in charge of the whole situation. Sex was on the way out anyway as I was not now or ever going to depend on chemicals to help out in the bedroom. That seemed just weird to us. So here we are; I'm now 81 (a few days ago) and my wife and I are as much in love as ever, if not more every day.

We have 4 lovely grandchildren and a very close-knit, loving family, what more could a couple want later in life.

Think about this: if you lose your bladder, prostate, and erection... it is only the end of the world if you let it be.



Awesome post, Jim! Thanks for putting that into perspective.


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That is so thoughtful to share your story and positive view with those who may be going through the same thing.

Reply to eefyjig

But it's totally different for someone without a spouse. So far I've been on 46 dates and every time I bring up no intercourse they run. Why is it that most of the females I date run when I say that?

Reply to jphendsby

They "run" because that is the real world.

No female in the prime of their life is going to get involved with someone who can't satisfy their "basic requirements".

Regardless of how much they try and make out they are not vain and shallow.

And the hole in your stomach just compounds the issue.

Wait until you get dumped by a fellow ostomate, because of "softness"....that is when the real world hits you hard.

Very demoralizing.


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Reply to jphendsby

I don't have an answer but that really sucks. I have single friends and some say it's very important and some say it's not. Personally, I think a connection involves a lot more than sex, things that are way more important and that we should be so lucky to have. I'm married and I would take my husband any which way, but I hear on here of people whose partners left when the shit hit the fan.


Great post and great perspective, James. I just turned 61 this February and had the same surgery 3 months ago. And yes, no erection at all. Kind of sad because I have a very lovely wife, but as you correctly put it - not the end of the world. Should be happy to be alive for another N (who knows how long) years. Thank you.


I think there is no denying that age is a big factor. If you had told me that I could no longer have sex for the rest of my life when I was in my thirties or forties, it would have been a deal breaker. Now, at age 71, not at all. I feel that 'intimacy' is a lot more than just sex, and that can be achieved without erections or orgasms. If you are with someone you have shared your life with for years, and know and trust completely, that feeling of intimacy can be very fulfilling. My heart goes out to single people in their earlier years, who find themselves unable to have sex suddenly, as reaching that level of intimacy with someone might be extremely challenging. Not impossible though. As eefy pointed out, sex is more important to some people than to others. I guess you have to just stay positive and not give up hope.


Reply to veejay

Hey Veejay, are you really saying that any woman 'in the prime of her life' who would not consider a romantic relationship without sex is vain and shallow? Would you say the same thing about men? The hormones that give us our sex drive are extremely powerful, more so in some people than others. Someone with a very strong sex drive would be extremely unhappy if they were to deny that and enter a relationship where that need could never be met. It would be a relationship doomed to failure and both people would suffer for it. Honesty is always the best policy. Having a strong sex drive does not make you vain and shallow!



Sex is far more than a stiff penis. Think about the times when you were a teenager and you and your partner could not have intercourse. What did you do as your sexual activity? Lots of books on the subject too. The largest sex organ is your brain. Use it fully.


Well, my wife of 35 years left me when I was diagnosed with prostate and bladder cancer. She left before my surgeries and chemo. So I started dating before my surgery, so I was able to have a little fun. Well, I've since had the surgery and am proud to say I have been able to find understanding women who accept my current situation. I'm 55, so I will get the surgery because I still enjoy sex. As others mentioned, there is more to sex than a stiff penis. We have managed to have a good time despite my limitations!!!


My wife and I had a talk with our surgeon before surgery. We said we have an active sex life and want to continue. He did a nerve-sparing surgery. I'm 68, so it's not like I'm 18 anymore, but sex can and does still happen.

Texas Ag

There are penile implants(3 piece) that you can inflate anytime you want to give you an erection as hard as any natural erection. The prostate is the gland that produces the sperm carrying seminal fluid; since it is gone there will be No Ejaculation. Orgasm will be milder than normal but still feels good. Then there is always oral sex to please your Honey and all kinds of dildos. The goal is to pleasure her and feel good yourself. Love generally conquers all.

Also, I purchased on Ebay a BD Purewick suction pump that I set up to replace my night drainage bottle or a floor bag. This little gem keeps my urostomy bag empty allowing my to sleep on my right side or stomach. The reservoir hold 2,ooo ml of fluid; plenty of capacity. Unit new from Liberator(the only distributor) is somewhere around 500. I got mine on Ebay for around 300. Do not buy the wicks, you do not need them. They are for use by women with leaky bladders or incontinence.


I am in the same boat. Coming up to my 2-year anniversary on the surgery. It's tough, but you are spot on - it is only the end of the world if you let it be. That is the same advice I got from a surgeon regarding the ostomy. Agree with others that an erection is not a requirement, but I'm still dealing with the mental aspect of all the changes to the body, dealing with cancer etc.

Thanks for sharing!!


Interesting comments from everyone.

I have and can highly recommend a penile implant.

Three years after radical nerve-sparing prostatectomy, I asked for one.

I was 58 at the time and I'm now 68. I'm pleased to say I'm still very sexually active and hope to be so for the rest of my days.

I'm happy to share my experience if anyone is thinking of going down this path. Cheers, Ian.


There's also penile vacuum pumps. They work okay and don't cost too much. Your urologist can give you a prescription for one. Also useful to exercise the penis, which needs increased blood flow occasionally to remain healthy.

Reply to jphendsby

Hey dude! Congrats on being able to afford 46 first dinners and a movie, lol.

The girls I knew before still hang with me and you are right. Mostly they run. You need to find ones that can't run, maybe wheelchair (1/2 joking).

I met a girl, so hot, that wanted a man — no sex cuz she had gotten herpjes from a dating site. Should would almost be worth it considering my issue. She is on dating sites and puts it there in plain sight—. Have heroines not needing sex.

So, have you tried to put that dysfunction in a profile? There are women out there with various issues and reasons that might be looking for just you.

The other guy that said getting dumped by an ostomate— ouch!

Last thought, I met a girl online, out of clear blue, didn't know her from Adam before surgery. She stayed in the hospital 5 days, came home slept alongside me a week- no er reaction, leaking bag. She had the best Valentine's Day with me in 10 years. And I made her happy inside and out without any erection.

All good things must come to an end, we decided to cool it off, she has health issues and a big household to run and just doesn't have the bandwidth to see me several times a week, so we agree when she feels better.

Often life is the luck of the draw, and sometimes they deal off the bottom, but get out there, show your dazzling personality and keep looking. Probably wouldn't hurt to volunteer at the puppy or kitten shelter. :)

Reply to jphendsby

Admire your honesty, I hate lying so within 3 days this lady I've sort of been seeing came round, you have to laugh, emptied my bag, nearly turned it upside down and taped it up, told her I had a chest accident, didn't feel good, finished with her. Some people, my friend, cannot handle the truth. Good women, loyal, honest are around but WHERE?

Reply to yan4home

Count your blessings, single now and forever, that's me. It hurts to know I will never have a relationship again, because I cannot lie or be dishonest, or go through heartache again. Sad, but true.

Reply to jphendsby

46? I would be open to a relationship  because I have severe ptsd from past things that happened to me and I get severe anxiety just thinking about 3. When I was younger I would use drugs just to be able to have sex but I had to wake up and realize what I was doing and had to find a different way

Reply to Texas Ag

Not sure I understand the benefit of this. Seems like an expensive drainage bag?

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