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About a month ago I was due to have an optical urethrotomy, prior to which I visited this site looking to gain an insight into what I could expect. I was very grateful to other people for having taken the time to share their experiences although most of them seemed to be tales of woe. For this reason I decided to tell about my own story which, so far at least, is going well.
For some years I have had a poor urine flow which, following examination by my GP was diagnosed as an enlarged prostate. I took the prescribed Tamsulosin which made no difference. As the symptoms gradually deteriorated, I was referred to the Royal Berks Hospital for prostate surgery. The consultant thought that my prostate was not too big after all and decided to use a camera to look at my urethra in order to confirm there was "nothing else going on". Bingo.... a urethral stricture in the bulbar region of my penis.
So I underwent the procedure and was supposed to remain in hospital for at least one night but, due to a lack of beds, was discharged the same day. A catheter had been fitted during surgery and I was given instruction in how to empty it, fit the night bag and to change the bag for a new one. The plan was to return to hospital after a week to have the catheter removed following which, if I could pee properly, I would have a 50% chance of being a free man. Everything went well, but what I didn't expect was to then have to self dilate for four months before seeing the urologist again for a progress report. That was a shock; naive of me I suppose.
The self dilation was daily for a week, then every other day for a month, then twice weekly for three months, then a follow up with the consultant. I am now nearing the end of the first month and soon will be dilating twice weekly. I can't deny that this process is difficult for me although not painful at all. The hardest thing to deal with is what is going on in your head. It's just not right to have to insert 3/4 of a 40 cm long tube into your bladder via your penis. However, I've managed so far and although I have to do this again in about an hour and am beginning to worry already, I will continue to manage.
The upside is that I can pee normally. I had forgotten what that was like and I'm amazed every time I have to go. Hopefully this will continue and I can lead a more normal life.
A huge shout out to the NHS staff at The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. They are doing an amazing job under very difficult circumstances and I am extremely grateful.
Hopefully this account of my experience is a help to others. I will update as necessary.
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