Hi Jake ( & all)
I was thinking of writing to you privately, but then changed my mind. I'm so sorry to hear that you are experiencing this post surgical complication. I'm female, so my issues were different, but I do know many guys who've had difficulty after surgery. It's really way to soon, to know exactly how much function you will get back. It's scary....having to wait, and think that this important aspect of your life might be changed....or "over". Try to have some patience...
I've had my ostomy for more than 50 years, ( since I was 15) but when I had my rectum removed 4 years later ( because it just would heal - UC) some sort of damage or trauma during surgery caused my bladder to stop working. Although I recovered from the surgery in 2 weeks, my parents wouldn't take me home ( with a catheter) until the doctors could resolve the bladder issue. I can write about all the tests and procedures & meds they tried on me over a ten week period, but to no avail. I could not pee. and so I lived with a catheter, and had to stay put in the hospital. The doctors were busy discussing doing another surgery ( ureterostomy ?) and then I would have two stomas, 2 bags ? My parents were frantic, and I was so scared that I'd never get out of the hospital, and never get to have a "normal" life. And then one day.....I literally "dribbled" out some urine.... It wasn't easy, and I had no sensation, but eventually I learned how to "bear down" and push out the urine, instead of the normal "relax & release". I was finally able to go home....and my parents never really found out what had happened during surgery to cause this issue.
Unknown to my parents....my big anxiety was " would I still work". I was dating, but had not had intercourse prior to this surgery for a variety of reasons. My parents were involved in my life & doctor's appointments, and I was still getting probed and prodded and having rectal exams.... I just felt that the doctor or my mother would "notice" something, if I were sexualy active. But once I healed, my then fiance and I had sex for the first time...and second time...and then again and again....and I felt nothing. I was devistated and wanted to end my engagement. But after talking to a therapist, I was encouraged to "give it time"... We did some reading ( on sexual response ) and eventually I responded. Because I'd not had sex prior to the surgery, I'll never know if there was a difference. It has to be difficult for those people who had experience prior....and then had changes and damage.
I do know this.....from age, from experience, and from dating men who had some degree of ED due to cancer, radiation, diabetes, medication etc.... That with the right partner, a healthy exciting and fulfilling sex life is still possible. The man I am seeing ( had prostate cancer & radiation) and though he is able to ejaculate most of the time....he does have discomfort and "dry" issues on ocassion. He's been told that it's somewhat "normal". When he looks at himself, and says " I used to get so hard", I respond, "and my boobs use to stand up". Ok....it's not the same.. But I've found that I don't make love to / with an apendage We make love/ have sex, with a person..... and there's a lot of ways to find fullfillment. My guy and I joke about being "Old", and having more action now, than we did over the last 20 years... I wish you patience....with yourself, and with finding a partner that will be loving, and caring enough to help you through this difficult time.