About Me

My photo
Kingston, Massachusetts, United States

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23, 2011

This is a posting where I risk being a little too graphic, which is not my intention, but nonetheless it is part of the transplant recovery process story that should be told and so I will be as sensitive as I can be because it is a sensitive topic. It is the day when the stent is removed.

For those that have already gone through this, you know of the anxiety that you may have put yourself through leading up to this day.  And to those that will someday experience it, you to, man or woman, may anguish about prior to your appointment – you may not, but then again, you just may – much like I did!

As I mentioned in a previous post, when the surgery was transplant was explained to me in full detail prior to the surgery, I was told of this temporary stent that would be put in place during the surgery.  The function of the stent is to hold the ureter in place after it is attached to the bladder – doing so would allow those sutures to heal.

At first, I did not think much of it when I was first told of it, as the transplant coordinator sort of glossed over the removal process, just simply stating “it’s an easy procedure.”  Then my mind began racing, and suddenly I could not focus on anything else the transplant coordinator was telling me because my heart started pounding as I could see the “red flag” go up as I suddenly began to realize something.

I stopped her from what she was telling me at the moment, and just said, “could we back up for just a moment?”  She obliged, and I began with a deep breath and said, “About the stent removal…how exactly is that done?”

With a smile, she said, “It is a very simple procedure where the urologist will insert a camera with a probe through the urethra and into the bladder that will grab the stent and it will be removed through the urethra.”

Heart is pounding even harder at this point, I am suddenly dreading the stent removal procedure more so than the transplant itself…

Now I know my body well enough to know that the urethra runs through the penis and into the bladder (and with women, it is in the vagina and goes into the bladder – the only difference being…with women it is a shorter route…and I can imagine a shorter route does not necessarily translate into less anxiety).  And speaking solely from a guy’s perspective, this is an extremely sensitive area that we try to protect as diligently as we can from pre-puberty right though old age.  This is why the “cup” was invented – we do anything and everything to protect our penises and groin region…call it instinctual…call it survival of the fittest.  At the risk of over blowing this (which I probably have, so I will continue), it is inherent in every man to protect and defend his penis from unwanted and unwelcomed intruders at all costs…as Lady Gaga says in her song – “we were born this way!”

Fast forward to this past Thursday, July 21st …The 21st just so happens to be the day before my birthday, and this was the day my stent removal procedure was to be preformed.  Early or not, I could think of a thousand better ideas for a birthday present.

I arrive in the Urology Department of the hospital, and the usual happens – vital signs are taken and then I am asked have a seat while they “prepare” the room the procedure will be done in.  By the way, my blood pressure was a little elevated that morning – I WONDER WHY?!

As I enter the procedure room, the nurse instructs me to remove everything below the waist and put a johnny on.  I did as I was told, and then she had me lie back on the table, at which point she lifted my johnny and placed a sheet over my groin with hole in the middle of it for my penis to pop through.  Then she covered me up with a “modesty sheet” until the doctor was ready.

The nurse continues to prepare for the procedure and before I know it the urologist has come into the room.  After some niceties, he told me this would be quick…and then suddenly, when I wasn’t looking, he stuck what felt like a probe up through the middle of my penis and said, “you should feel a little pressure.”  In my head I was saying back to him, “No shit, Sherlock!”

“There”, he said….”Oh, it’s done”, I’m thinking”…”That should make this a little more comfortable”, he continued.  Then he picked up this loonnng flexible instrument and said, “Ready?...here we go.”  This flexible tubing had a camera attached to it that he could direct the tube through my urethra and into my bladder, and at the end of the tube was what I would call a “grabber” that would take hold of the stent and remove it.

“Ok, a little pressure now”, he continued.  I held my breath, and then suddenly he says “Ok, good, I got it, you’re all done…go ahead and get dressed and you’re free to go home.”

Wow, that was it?!  I have been worried sick over the last six weeks about this appointment, and now it was over – finally, thankfully. 

In retrospect, it was a relatively simple procedure…so simple, if fact, that I questioned yourself as to why I worried so much…but then again, when you are protecting and defending one of your most sensitive areas, it is only natural to have that kind of anxiety.

At least that is what I keep telling myself anyway!!!

If you, or someone you know is interested in organ donation, please contact: www.neod.org; www.donatelifenewengland.org, www.organdonor.gov; www.unos.org; www.donatelife.net; www.organtransplants.org; or  www.thewaitinglist.org


  1. There's tremendous humor in your forthright honesty in a procedure to which I relate all too well. Just started following you on Twitter and glad I did. For my aren't removal, I had my ever loving wife beside me, holding my hand, and engrossed in the monitor's video feed saying "wow," and "that's so amazing." ~ megadeaf

  2. You sure can build a good story haha. Glad it went well for you. :)

  3. I won't say "I told you so", but then again, I just did, didn't I? I understand the fear, but once you've had a cystoscopy, it's no big deal. Just a bit cold sometimes. Glad you came through like a trooper. Onward and upward from here.