Archive

Tag Archives: diary

After my sort-of whirlwind appointment with my urologist, I was sent home and told that I could expect a call from his secretary within a couple of days providing me with the date of my surgery. Free health care means that you won’t get much say in when your surgery takes place, but I found out that there is a bit of accommodation made for life stuff when it comes to scheduling.

I waited for the call for a week, but all I got was radio silence. A quick call to my urologist’s office confirmed that all the staff were on vacation and that I’d have to wait another week. Even then, I must’ve been on the bottom of the priority list, because I didn’t receive a call. I don’t know if this is typical, but I could see that being so. A circumcision is actually a fairly minor procedure from a urologist’s point of view, after all.

In between my appointment and receiving my surgery date, I had received an offer I couldn’t turn down for a summer job in another province. So when I called the office and learned that my surgery would be on June 19th, I was a bit worried. I explained the situation to the secretary and we went back and forth on dates until a mutually-agreeable one had been decided on. My urologist only does surgeries three days of the week, so it was kind of a difficult thing to schedule. The secretary was super nice about the whole thing, though.

Here’s the thing: after a circumcision, it is recommended that you take a week off for recovery. You could certainly function normally immediately following the procedure, but there can be a lot of blood and swelling which are painful and uncomfortable. It’s really difficult for a student to fake a week off-we don’t get medical leave from school, after all. Thankfully, my university has a fall reading week. I decided to sacrifice that time for recovery and managed to schedule my appointment for the Friday immediately before the break.

Here’s the other thing: there are a lot of things to do to prep for a circumcision. You’ll need to avoid aspirin and other painkillers for a week prior to the surgery, call two days in advance of the surgery for a pre-op consultation (apparently done over the phone-sketchy!), call one day in advance to get your surgery time, and arrange for a ride home following the surgery. Apparently shaving isn’t important, because they’d rather do that for you, if required, while you’re under anesthesia. It’s really inconvenient that you only get the surgery time the day before–once again, that’s hard for students to work around. I guess I’ll just have to take the whole day off and get a note from my urologist for my professors. It all seems very complicated, given that the procedure is often done in under an hour in the urologist’s office in the US. I now understand why the process is taking so long and I’m glad that I have the time to plan all this out. I would advise anyone getting cut to do the same. The more prepared you are going in, the smoother the recovery process is likely to be.

Oddly enough, I’m most stressed about getting a ride home from the hospital. Not many of my close friends have cars, and as I’ve mentioned before, talking about this issue (especially with people I don’t know well) is really difficult for me. Thankfully I’ve got a few months to figure that one out.

-T

Thanks to a follower of mine, I’ve decided to try the stretching route again. This time, however, I will have more than just steroid cream at my disposal.

Dreamer linked me to this page which gives a bunch of resources for stretching techniques and tools which might be used to fix phimosis in a non-surgical way. I looked through the products and techniques and I think that, of all of them, the Phimocure might actually work for my particular case. Basically it is a series of silicon rings which are inserted into the foreskin to stretch it over time. The kit comes with a bunch of rings that increase in size. As the foreskin loosens, you go to the next size up. I’m going to try to pair it with the beta cream, because I’m pretty sure the steroids will help speed up the stretching process.

I think it could work for me because my phimotic band is the part that comes past the glans when I’m flaccid. As of now, I can temporarily get my foreskin over the glans when I’m soft, but it does not stay retracted on its own and it cuts off circulation to my glans a bit. I’m hoping the kit will stretch my phimotic band to a point where I can retract my foreskin and leave it retracted when I’m soft. From there, hopefully it will only take a bit of work to stretch it over my glans when I’m hard.

I’m not putting much faith in this kit and I don’t believe that it will work for me. However, I really do not want to part with my foreskin and I’m willing to try anything at this point. I will (obviously) keep my scheduled surgery for now. If this kit proves to be miraculous then I will cancel it. That will probably be a logistical nightmare, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. If the kit doesn’t work, then I go under the knife.

I will keep readers of this blog posted in terms of the progress when the kit arrives. Who knows, maybe this will turn into a story of my experience with foreskin stretching instead of a circumcision diary.

-T

As I mentioned before, in Canada you’ll need a referral to see a urologist. Depending on where you are, it can take a very long time to get to see a urologist. In my case, there was a four-month wait between my initial appointment and when I could see my urologist.

I was really bummed out when I found out I’d have to wait so long to get to the next step in an ever-lengthy process. I had prepared myself mentally for the appointment and the surgery and all that, so why the heck did I have to wait?? Besides, the sooner I had the urologist appointment, the sooner I could get into surgery, the sooner I could recover and get my dick wet (so to speak).

But, because the Canadian medical system is imperfect, I would have to wait. During the intervening four months, I did some research into adult circumcision. I found a bunch of stories from men about theirs–a quick google search gets plenty of useful hits. It seemed as though their experiences had gone slightly differently than my own; most men called up their urologist and had the surgery done a couple weeks later. Lucky them.

I also tried to get a definitive answer to the sensitivity question: would I be more or less sensitive post-op? What I found is that most of the adult circumcision bloggers didn’t follow-up after the full year of recovery and even if they did, the results were very subjective. I checked scientific literature on the matter as well and it seemed as though none of the studies could definitively say that things would be better or worse after a circumcision. In one study, men reported that they had more sex post-op, but enjoyed it less. Talk about conflicting evidence!

Since I wouldn’t be able to answer that question, I just worked on mentally preparing myself and attempting to stretch my foreskin (to no avail). When it came time for the appointment, I found myself confidently able to discuss my defective junk with the tiny Eurasian man sitting across the desk from me. He asked me all about my issue and seemed fairly skeptical–suspicious, even. I figured that he was just ensuring that my foreskin actually was causing issues and that I wasn’t lying to get a cosmetic circumcision for free. I wonder how often that happens?

After the questions, he put me on his examination table and inspected my penis. It wasn’t nearly as awkward as I had expected. He retracted my foreskin and explained to me that I have a phimotic band which constricts blood flow to my glans. Then he gave me two options: dorsal slit or a full circumcision. Since those were the only two on the table, I told him I wanted a full circumcision. He demonstrated on my penis what the surgery would be before putting my foreskin back and allowing me to put my pants back on.

In his office, we discussed the surgery in more detail and I signed a consent form. I was excited to be moving along with my issue. He sent me to the secretary to get my surgery date. It would be in about two month’s time, which was fine with me. Then I left. The whole thing took about 15 minutes and was exactly as I’d expected it.

-T

It’s pretty amazing how much emotion can be wrapped up in a (maybe not so) little piece of skin.

Despite knowing what kind of an issue I had with my foreskin, I couldn’t do anything about it until I was sixteen years old. I was just too embarrassed to do so. I wasn’t even really worried about the condition–I was sure that the doctor had seen worse. No, I was more concerned with the judgement I’d encounter over not having had any sexual contact at the age of sixteen. Seems dumb, right? I hadn’t had any partners because of my foreskin and that made me too nervous to do something to fix my foreskin problem. It was this weird circular reasoning thing that just kept building and building inside my head until I couldn’t take it anymore and I got my mom to make me a doctor’s appointment for “guy stuff”.

When I went to the appointment, I was surprisingly comfortable discussing the issue. The doc took a look at my junk, which was an awful experience, and told me that I’d have to see a urologist. The appointment was booked and I went along my merry way. In Canada, you’ll have to get a referral from your GP or a nurse practitioner to see a urologist and appointments are often made months in advance. Well, in between when the appointment was made and when it was scheduled to be, my family situation drastically changed and I could no longer get to it.

And then I did nothing about the problem. I finished high school without having let anyone touch (or even really see) my dick. I turned down every opportunity that presented itself because I thought myself a freak and I couldn’t bear to let anyone see why for themselves. I couldn’t even talk about the problem with my parents. I didn’t let my university experience go that way, but I certainly didn’t attempt to fix the problem. I had sexual partners and even tried to have penetrative sex. It didn’t work and I was very unsatisfied with my sex life the whole time.

And yet still I waited. I was so ashamed of my genitalia that I couldn’t even talk about it with a medical professional. It was pretty awful and was only getting worse. Finally, I couldn’t take the sexual frustration anymore, so I made an appointment with my nurse practitioner at my university.

When I went to the appointment, I was incredibly stressed out. I don’t like seeing the doctor as it is, but this was even worse because it involved talking about my defective junk. When the triage nurse took my blood pressure, it was off the charts. She asked me if I was nervous and I told her that I don’t like seeing the doctor. When she asked me what my problem was, I just told her that it was personal.

When I got in to see the NP, I was too nervous to even tell him what the issue was. He must’ve put two and two together and assured me that it would be alright and that they’d just test for everything to be sure. I realized then that, because of my blood pressure and my inability to discuss my problem, he had assumed that I had had risky sex and was now in need of testing.

In that moment it hit me that my problem was nothing to be ashamed of. I hadn’t partaken in risky behaviour, but was born with a physical defect that needed correcting. The only thing that was my fault about the whole thing was that I waited for so long to do something about it. So I came out and told him that, in fact, I didn’t need testing, but that I did need to see a urologist for my tight foreskin. He asked me some questions, prescribed a cream and scheduled a urologist appointment for me. And that was that.

It wasn’t even a big deal! I had been ruminating on this challenge for what felt like a hundred years, but it obviously was nothing in the grand scheme if my NP could be so cavalier about it. I decided that I’d be cavalier about it, too.

Moral of the story: DON’T WAIT. This is such a man thing to do and it isn’t healthy. If your standard of living is affected by a medical issue, then fix it!

-T

After my mishaps with stretching, I saw a urologist who discussed another circumcision alternative with me: the dorsal slit.

This alternative, while surgical in nature, is a lot less invasive than a circumcision and has the benefit of not removing any sensitive tissues (namely the frenulum). I had investigated this option before visiting my urologist, but he explained the procedure to me in more detail.

Basically, a dorsal slit involves making a cut in the dorsal (top) surface of the foreskin from the tip of the foreskin to the base of the glans. This loosens the foreskin and allows the glans to be exposed.

I combed through pictures of dorsal slits on the internet and concluded that I didn’t want the surgery for myself. My biggest concern was the post-op appearance of my penis. The dorsal slit procedure often leaves foreskin bunched up under the glans and it can look, in my opinion, very unsightly.

I figure that if I’m going to have to take the surgical route, I may as well be sure that I’m going to like the result. I signed a consent form in the urologist’s office right then and his secretary called me a few days later with the surgery date.

In Canada, a circumcision is a surgery requiring full anesthesia and an overnight stay at the hospital. This is true even at private clinics. It seems as though in the US this is not the case; rather, the surgery often takes place right there in the urologist’s office under local anesthesia, like getting stitches. I would’ve preferred the latter, but instead I have to wait to get into the OR. Alas.

There are two more alternatives to circumcision which are also surgical in nature. Preputioplasty is like a dorsal slit, but the slit doesn’t go all the way up and down the foreskin. Instead, it just releases enough of the tightness so as to allow the foreskin to retract. A partial circumcision involves removal of some, but not all of the foreskin so that the glans remains unexposed unless the penis is erect and so that the frenulum remains intact.

I haven’t discussed these options with my urologist yet, but I don’t think that either are possible. They are generally uncommon procedures because success (i.e. a functional penis) is not guaranteed with either. If I could guarantee that a partial circumcision would work, I’d certainly opt to have it done since it kind of offers the best of both worlds. However, it is unlikely that I’d even be able to request this procedure.

Since neither stretching nor a dorsal slit are appealing to me, and a partial circumcision is probably out of the question, I’ve opted to have a full circumcision.

-T

 

My urologist and nurse practitioner both suggested alternatives to circumcision to fix my phimosis. The first alternative, which I will discuss here, is stretching of the foreskin to allow it to pass over the glans when the penis is erect, as it is supposed to.

At the initial consultation with my nurse practitioner, I was prescribed a gel of 0.05% betaderm, which is a topical corticosteroid. I was instructed to liberally apply the cream to my foreskin twice a day and to spend at least 15 minutes stretching my foreskin with it. I wasn’t really sure what the NP meant when he used the word “stretching” and I didn’t ask, because I was too embarrassed. This was really stupid of me, and I should’ve gotten his professional opinion. He told me that it could take up to six weeks for the cream to fix my condition, but that I could expect some effect within the week.

So, I went home and looked up how to stretch my foreskin. This article was really helpful. I applied the cream and started stretching using the techniques it outlines. At first it was really tricky, because the stimulation would cause me to become erect and then there was no hope of getting my foreskin over my glans. I just ended up masturbating, which I figured couldn’t hurt in terms of stretching.

But, after a couple of days, I managed to get my foreskin over my glans when I wasn’t hard. That experience was not the most pleasant, as there was a lot of built-up smegma under my foreskin that I had to wash away and my glans was crazy sensitive. It’s for this reason that I suggest you try stretching in the shower or bath first. I also noticed some fairly large white bumps on the inner part of my foreskin and I panicked a bit, as I thought they could be genital warts or something crazy like that.

A quick internet search told me that, in fact, the white bumps are hardened smegma and that they can be removed using baby oil and soap and water. I guess that’s what happens when your glans is locked away for 21 years.

I continued stretching and after about two weeks, I was able to retract my foreskin when I was soft without the steroid cream and I got into the habit of retracting every day in the shower to keep it clean and stretched. Also, I wanted to desensitize my glans a bit. When I managed to get the foreskin retracted, I was so sensitive that even touching the head caused pain. However, even after six weeks of twice-daily stretching, I was (and still am) unable to retract my foreskin over the glans when I’m hard. Also, if the foreskin is retracted and I start to get hard, I experience painful paraphimosis which requires me to force the blood out of my glans so that I can roll up my foreskin. It’s awful.

For some men, myself included, foreskin stretching can’t fix phimosis. This is really unfortunate, as it is the only non-surgical alternative to circumcision for men with this condition. In my case, I think my foreskin is too thick and my frenulum too tight for stretching to work. I was really disappointed when I realized stretching wouldn’t work for me, as I had hoped to be able to retain my foreskin and forego surgery. Alas, this isn’t the case for me.

Which leads me to the second alternative…

-T

There are basically two major reasons for getting an adult circumcision. They include:

Cosmetic Reasons

 “I don’t like the way my dick looks/I think that other people don’t like the way my dick looks, so I’m going to surgically alter it to make it look better”

In my opinion, these are not really great reasons to get a circumcision. Would you get pec implants if you were unsatisfied with your chest muscles? No? Okay, then why would you CUT YOUR PENIS TO MAKE IT LOOK BETTER?

Make no mistake, I’m no intactivist. I just think that if you don’t need to surgically alter your body in a major way, then you probably shouldn’t. The full recovery time for a circumcision is about a year. A year that starts with stitches and blood and continues with intense penile sensitivity. I honestly cannot understand why it might be worthwhile to put yourself through such an experience just to look a different way.

Besides, it is very hard to tell the functional difference between a cut and uncut penis when it’s hard. I know.

In Canada, cosmetic circumcisions are not covered by insurance. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to $5000 at a private clinic for cosmetic circumcisions. With this cost comes complete control over the surgery and expedient service. 

Medical Reasons

Many conditions render circumcision necessary. These include:

  1. Phimosis. This is when a tight foreskin cannot be retracted easily. Serious cases require circumcision, but sometimes surgery is not the only option. Phimosis is only really a problem if the foreskin is so tight that it prevents urination/ejaculation and/or penetrative sex or if it tears during sex/masturbation. My urologist told me that many men with phimosis lead happy sex lives without circumcision.

    A phimotic foreskin on an erect penis. I don’t own the rights to this picture.

  2. Paraphimosis.This is when the foreskin can be retracted, but cannot be replaced over the glans of the penis. It is a dangerous condition, because it causes blood to pool in the glans. Immediate attention is required to get the foreskin back over the glans, but circumcision is used to fix it permanently.

    A paraphimotic foreskin. I don’t own the rights to this picture.

  3. Bacterial/Fungal Infections. When these things are recurring, it is often because the foreskin is not being cleaned properly. Sometimes this necessitates circumcision, especially in younger boys. I think that if you suffer from recurring infections, circumcision becomes medically necessary in Canada and the cost is then covered by insurance.

    Yeast infection in a foreskin. I don’t own the rights to this picture.

I might’ve missed some reasons, but I think these are generally the major ones. If you are experiencing any of these things, you should visit your doctor to get treatment. You might need a circumcision, or to investigate other options which can solve the problem.

I decided to do something about my condition when it became obvious that I could not have penetrative sex. My foreskin is very negatively affecting my quality of life and, really, no man should have to experience that. If you’re in a similar boat, go get it fixed!

-T

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.