Manitoba prostate cancer survivor pens book to help men cope
Bill Martin's book 'Ripped Out: One Man’s Journey Surviving Prostate Cancer' launches Saturday
Bill Martin couldn’t find anyone who wanted to talk about what he’s been through. After all, prostate cancer left him impotent and incontinent.
So he wrote Ripped Out: One Man’s Journey Surviving Prostate Cancer, a book about his experience.
Martin’s hoping it will help men cope, should they find themselves in similar situations. Martin is launching the book at Winnipeg’s McNally Robinson on Saturday evening. The launch date syncs up nicely with the first day of Movember, a month-long campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the disease.
“I could no longer have an erection of any kind. My penis shrunk. I was incontinent. So I had a wet, smaller, flabby penis,” Martin said when describing the effect prostate cancer had on him.
“I kept believing that I would get better. You know, I first of all believed that I would be one of the few who would not be affected this way, then I believed that I would recover. And I didn’t. Well, I did eventually, but not naturally,” he said.
Martin joined a support group, but even there he said it was difficult to address certain aspects of his experience, especially impotence.
“Men are really uncomfortable talking about sex at all unless we’re joking. But talking about whether or not we can have an erection just sort of falls flat. There was more comfort in talking about incontinence.”
Comfort to Martin came through talking to his wife and some friends, but mostly through writing about the goings on of his life.
“I wrote every morning. Generally poetry about how I was feeling. It saved my life,” he said.
Even while writing, however, Martin was still “crashing about” emotionally when it came to facing his reality.
“I was a combination of hoping that I would recover, afraid that I wouldn’t, feeling the loss of essentially what I thought it was to be a man.”
Now, Martin says his life is great.
“I’m stronger, I feel more spiritual. I’m a better lover than I was. I’m more connected to my wife. I had surgery to have an implant put in so I can now have erections whenever I want. I had surgery to correct my incontinence, which is much better. All said, I’m fine.”
The book launch begins at 7 p.m. Saturday in the atrium at McNally Robinson, 1120 Grant Avenue.