A couple recounts their battle with prostate cancer and its aftermath in this harrowing but hopeful self-helper.
Rick Redner, a 58-year-old medical social worker and entrepreneur, was devastated by a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Thankfully, his prostate was removed before the tumor spread. The worst part lay before him, however, in the yearslong struggle to recover from the surgery’s effects. The most humiliating was his loss of bladder control, which entailed spending hundreds of dollars a month on adult diapers—and so many mortifying accidents in public that he turned into a virtual recluse. The most agonizing effect was his erectile dysfunction, which further undermined his sense of manhood and led to an epic “penile rehabilitation” program that progressed from vacuum pumps to horrific injections. Redner’s ordeal threatened his life and his marriage, but it left him with a wealth of advice for prostate cancer patients, along with deeper insights into the importance of family, community and faith. His primer brims with practical tips, from how much pain to expect during medical procedures—and how to prod doctors into alleviating it—to what kind of pants best hide urine stains. But he also tells how he wrestled with depression and self-loathing, and he urges men not to withdraw but to adjust to their frailties and reach out to others, especially to their spouses. Redner’s wife, Brenda, who plays a large role in his narrative, supplies some prayerful chapters from her own perspective. Redner recounts with excruciating candor some of the most intimate physical and psychic wounds people can sustain. At the same time, he lays out in straightforward, often funny prose a can-do strategy for surmounting prostate cancer, one that provides concrete steps to anticipate and manage difficulties. Cancer sufferers and their loved ones will find here a well-informed and reassuring road map for the difficult journey ahead.
A cleareyed, warmhearted and extraordinarily useful guide.