Disclaimer:

Do not consider the contents of this blog as professional medical advice.

24 January 2014: Foreskin Restoration Before and After; The End(?)

It has been a long time since I have last posted.

More precisely, it has been 1 year, 9 months, and 24 days since I have last posted.

I've never been one to be content with leaving a project unfinished, so I suppose it is only fitting for me to put the final chapter of this tale in its place, and let the chips fall where they may.

Since that last post from 1 year, 9 months, and 24 days ago, much has happened in my life.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the new surgical scars felt discomfort when I got erections.  I hypothesized that the tightness of the skin on my penis during erections, and the stress on the new scars were responsible for the pins-and-needles sensations during erections.  I mentioned that I might try the process of foreskin restoration, at least partially, to try to get enough slack skin to remove the stress on these scars, and maybe even cover them up entirely.

Though I never overtly mentioned it on this blog before, in late December of 2011, I ordered a foreskin restoration device.  It arrived early in January of 2012.  Later in the month, when I was sure that the surgical wounds were healed and would not reopen, I began the long process of growing slack skin on my penile shaft.

I've been doing that now covertly, up until today.  It has been 2 years and 2 days since I have started the process, and it has been going well. 

Since I began, the changes that I saw in my penis have been gradual, but remarkable.  Dark scars that I thought would be with me forever have faded significantly, nearly disappearing entirely.  The glans of my penis no longer has the texture of the back of my hand with tiny raised bumps like a cat's tongue.  Instead, the glans now has a surface that resembles the inside of my cheek--smooth, moist, and shiny.

The surgical scars themselves have faded significantly, and are no longer visible unless I retract my newly regrown foreskin (or should I say "faux-skin?"), and look hard for them.  It is to the point, now, that whenever I go to the bathroom or disrobe for any reason, I no longer look down and am reminded by the scars of what happened, and what I have been through.

My penis after 2 years and 2 days of foreskin restoration.

My erections have been totally pain-free for more than a year, now.  There are no aches or sharp needle-like pain, and the scars from surgery give me no more discomfort.  My long and arduous quest to free myself from painful erections is now complete.

That being said, the cosmetic benefits are not all that I have gained from this process.

Prior to the erection pain beginning so many years ago, I remember what ejaculation felt like.  It was something that I certainly enjoyed, but was by no means phenomenal.  The first time I ever tried masturbating a couple of months after surgery, I remember so many feelings going through my head.  I was very anxious and afraid.  I wondered if masturbation would even work for me anymore.

It did end up working, but it was disappointing.  It ended with me looking down at my private parts and pulling my hands away because the glans stung (which was what it had been like in the past). I felt underwhelmed and practically bored by the whole experience.  I ejaculated and it felt OK, but it was disappointing.  I felt a pleasant contraction in my groin, and semen came out of my penis, but that was really all I got out of the experience.

I breathed a sigh of relief outwardly, that things were still working for me, but inwardly, I was disappointed.  I almost ended up saying aloud to myself "Now what," or "That's it?"

It was sometime after that experience that I began the process of foreskin restoration.

In about 8 months, I began to notice a difference in the way masturbation pleasure felt.  Around that time, I no longer touched my glans with my bare hand, but rather with what foreskin I had restored.  The inside of my new foreskin was now what remains of my formerly-inner-but-now-inner-once-more preputial mucosa.  I was masturbating by only manipulating the new loose skin back and forth over the glans and shaft of my penis.

The first time I tried that, the orgasm was a first among many.

Literally.

I think that was the first time I ever actually experienced an orgasm.   

A real one.

I remember what masturbation was like before the erection pain started.  It was similar to my first session after surgery--a lot of work for an underwhelming result.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it did feel good in my penis, but it felt like too little reward for the work I had to put into the process.

Fast forward to that first time I masturbated by moving my newly regrown simulacra of a foreskin up and down.  Something was fundamentally different, and I could feel it from the very moment I started.  If I had to describe the way in which it was different, masturbation no longer felt like a chore or a task, but rather a journey, with the destination being somewhere you actually wanted to be.

I don't know how long I went, but I knew that for the first time, I genuinely enjoyed every bit of it from start to finish.

By the time I was nearing climax, my body was acting in ways I had never experienced before.  My heart was pounding, and my chest felt tight like I had a catch in my throat.  My legs were shaking, and I was lightly perspiring.  My toes and feet were contracting and moving on their own.  My penis was producing a clear, lubricating fluid in quantities that I never even considered humanly possible.

Then, it happened.

Merely saying "I orgasmed" does not give the sensations their due justice.  With my entire body shaking, I climaxed for what I truly believe to be the first time in my entire life.  It was if every single neuron in my entire body was firing simultaneously--from the very apex of my scalp to the soles of my feet.  It was as if the pleasant-but-underwhelming sensations that I felt in my penis during the past 8 months of masturbation had been multiplied by a factor of at least 20, and instead of feeling these only in my penis, I felt them all over my body at the same time for a period of no fewer than 30 seconds.  Additionally the stinging that I used to feel in the glans after every time I masturbated was absent, and never came back. 

I no longer just ejaculated; I climaxed with my entire body

After that novel experience, my face and palms were tingling and my hands and thighs felt almost numb.  I lay back in my bed in the dark, panting, and felt an intense sensation of relaxation, warmth, and satisfaction all over my body.

I had never in my entire life ever experienced anything like that before.  Ever.

At that point, I will admit that I did cry a little bit, but not out of sadness.  I cried because of the erection pain being gone.  I cried because I felt like everything difficult I had ever lived through concerning my penis was done with and behind me.  I cried because, for me, this was a new first.  I cried because I felt relieved.

I cried because I felt like it.

To be honest, I think that was the first time I ever actually had a real orgasm.  At 22 years of age, it seems impossible for me to be discovering something so marvelous about my body at such a late age, but nonetheless, that was my genuine experience.

Although I can only guess, I think that what I was experiencing before was "just ejaculation."  It felt good for my penis, but only my penis.  It felt good, but it kind of left me disappointed.  That "real" orgasm, that very first one, was fundamentally different from anything I had ever felt previously in my entire life.

From that point on, I only masturbated by moving my growing proto-prepuce back and forth over my entire penis, and felt the novel new pleasure each and every time, with the intensity gradually increasing as I progressed with my restoration.

I don't have a scientific explanation of why things changed for me once I tried to start restoring my foreskin.  It did not and still does not make any sense to me.  It's damned near unscientific for the change to happen at all, and as a man of science, there could not be a word more insulting than "unscientific."

I know that the normal human foreskin contains thousands of touch receptors, and that nerves cannot regrow, in human physiology.  What I was experiencing was not the result of more nerve bandwidth to my penis and new foreskin, as such is (as we currently know) medically impossible to occur spontaneously.

My only working theory is that rubbing tissues that were supposed to be the inside of my foreskin against the glans, and stimulating the glans with what remained of my inner foreskin somehow ended up producing the resulting new sensations--that somehow, I changed the very mechanics of my penis works from merely a stick with skin tightly wrapped around it to a machine made of flesh with moving parts and a newly regained pistoning action.

I suspect that the texture changes in my glans, from being covered and moist all the time, in conjunction with the changing texture of my inner mucosa, and the change in mechanics of masturbation now involving rubbing these two surfaces against each other for pleasure, may all be partially responsible for these new changes I have been feeling.

It's kind of like when you fall asleep with your mouth open, and your tongue is dry and has the texture of sandpaper.  You can't really taste anything, or feel the inside of your mouth with your tongue again until it is moist and has lost its sandpapery texture.

Now imagine that drastic sensation change in your genitals instead of your mouth, and I think you might have the right idea.

Apart from that, I finally did take it upon myself to seek out a counselor, to talk about everything I had been through, and everything I had been feeling, from early childhood to surgery and beyond.  It was a rewarding experience.  I suppose that from the very beginning, all I really wanted was for someone to try to understand and validate my feelings with no conditions, and that was precisely what I got.

For all intents and purposes, my story here is over, though I still have a long time ahead of me, yet.  I may continue restoring a bit longer, just to make sure my penis can stay covered on its own in my underwear 100% of the time, from now on.

Maybe I'll go longer.  Who knows?  Perhaps I'll go for years and years, until I have enough foreskin to jump rope with. Who can say?

But now, with all things said that needed to be said, and with this chapter in my life at a close, I thank you for reading, and hope that however you stumbled across this tale, that you found what you were looking for.

Though my tale here is at an end, and I'm leaving this blog behind, putting "The END" at the end of this post seems a bit misleading, because I've got my whole life, yet, ahead of me.

So instead, I'll conclude with the following:

To be happily continued...

28 March 2012: Awareness

It seems that this week, the week of March 25 through April 1 is Genital Integrity Awareness Week, a week-long protest that seeks to protect unconsenting infants from unnecessary, unconsentual genital cutting.  This protest has been an annual event for the past 19 years.

I am glad that there are driven, caring people out there fighting to protect others.  I also feel remorse for the children who go unprotected and suffer.  I have hope that this world may someday change, that needless infant genital cutting might someday be illegal.  I quietly read about the worthy struggles going on, feeling enthralled by the small victories won to protect children, and lamenting from the very fibers of my soul when these fights are lost.

Years down the road, the world will be a much different place.  This much I know for certain.  The direction it goes in is always in the hands of people who care about the world.  I can only hope to see positive change happen within my lifetime.

I have more or less overcome my shock from the feelings of betrayal from my unsympathetic parents, I have no more urology bills to pay (at the moment), and my penile wounds have now scarred over.  My days of waking up to a bleeding penis are now a thing of the past.

As such, I really don't have much to write about in this blog anymore in regards to what my original goal in writing this blog was--to get the feelings of hurt off of my chest.


You may be a parent that stumbled onto this blog, and your child may have a botched circumcision.  There is little advice I have for you except for this: please, for the love of your child, don't be so unsympathetic and unapologetic about this with him.

The hardest part, the part that has hurt me the most and still weighs on my heart was the feeling of betrayal from my own family--people who by all rights should have tried to comfort me for what happened, and should have not tried to legitimize any part of my pain with excuses.  I wanted their love and support, and I only got excuses and apathetically recited words.

You should also know that if you or your child has a botched circumcision, you may have legal recourse as a possible option for either yourself  or for your child.  Please contact attorney David Llewellyn for legal consultation, or for legal advice.  I have spoken with Mr. Llewellyn before, and from my contact with him, I can tell you that he is very experienced in his field of work, and a pleasure to speak with.

25 March 2012: What's Mine is Yours?

My bill at the urologist has been fully paid off, now.

I received a phone call from my father, during which he tried to, in jest, make light of the situation by saying to me, "Congratulations!  Your genitals are finally yours now!"

I know he meant this in jest in regards to not having a bill hovering over one of my body parts, but I wonder if he even realized the cruel irony that came out of his mouth.

Why is it that my body or any part of my body should be my property only by right of purchase?

Why is it that my genitals were never considered to be "mine" from day one in the first place?  Hell, if that were the case, this entire mess could have been avoided.

I've had enough of trying to explain these feelings to him, so I simply swallowed them and moved on with the conversation.

I know a fruitless argument when I see one.

7 February 2012: Bill in the Mail

I got word of what my estimated out-of-pocket cost will be for my surgical misadventures.

I would be poetic and say that at birth they already had spent too much money to cut things from my genitals, but seeing this new number, I can say succinctly that I the concept of others taking knives to me and demanding payment afterwards tires me.

Oh well.  At the very least I can sleep better at night without waking to erection pain.  I suppose that this much is worth that number on the invoice.

Important note about the Contact Me Box

There are a few people who have contacted me and left me email addresses that return error messages when I attempt to make contact.

If you want me to contact me, or if you have already tried to make contact with me and I have not responded, please make sure that you actually used a working email address.

28 January 2012: My Revulsion at HR 2400

There is a current bill in Congressional Committee, one that both shocks and frightens me.  It is as follows:

HR 2400 IH
112th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2400
To prevent States from prohibiting male circumcision.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 24, 2011
Mr. SHERMAN (for himself, Mr. ELLISON, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. NADLER, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. CARSON of Indiana, Mr. ISRAEL, and Mr. ACKERMAN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


A BILL
To prevent States from prohibiting male circumcision.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Male circumcision carries significant medical benefits, including lower risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, certain kinds of infection, and overall improved hygiene.
(2) Male circumcision is an important part of many world religions, including Judaism and Islam, and observers have safely embraced its practice for generations.
SEC. 3. PREEMPTION OF STATE LAW PROHIBITING MALE CIRCUMCISION.
No State or political subdivision of a State may adopt or continue in force a law, regulation, or order that prohibits or regulates the circumcision of males who have not attained the age of 18 years and whose parent or guardian has consented to the circumcision, unless such law, regulation, or order--
(1) applies to all such circumcisions performed in the State; and
(2) is limited to ensuring that all such circumcisions are performed in a hygienic manner.
There are constitutional problems with this bill right off of the bat.  The first red flag that this bill raises is with the 10th Amendment, which is as follows:
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This amendment guarantees that Congress cannot interfere with state rights or powers, and that federal government cannot supersede this power unless under certain conditions enumerated by the Constitution.  States should maintain the right to ban practices that they find questionable or dangerous.

Another problem with this bill stems from another federal law, the Female Genital Mutilation law as passed in the US in 1997 in conjunction with Amendment XIV guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

The texts are as follows:
TITLE 18--CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I--CRIMES

CHAPTER 7--ASSAULT

Sec. 116. Female genital mutilation

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is--

(1) necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of its performance as a medical practitioner; or

(2) performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by

[[Page 33]]

a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become such a practitioner or midwife.

(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

(Added Pub. L. 104-208, div. C, title VI, Sec. 645(b)(1), Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009-709.)

Effective Date

Section 645(c) of div. C of Pub. L. 104-208 provided that: ``The amendments made by subsection (b) [enacting this section] shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 30, 1996].''

Congressional Findings

Section 645(a) of div. C of Pub. L. 104-208 provided that: ``The Congress finds that--

``(1) the practice of female genital mutilation is carried out by members of certain cultural and religious groups within the United States;

``(2) the practice of female genital mutilation often results in the occurrence of physical and psychological health effects that harm the women involved;

``(3) such mutilation infringes upon the guarantees of rights secured by Federal and State law, both statutory and constitutional;

``(4) the unique circumstances surrounding the practice of female genital mutilation place it beyond the ability of any single State or local jurisdiction to control;

``(5) the practice of female genital mutilation can be prohibited without abridging the exercise of any rights guaranteed under the first amendment to the Constitution or under any other law; and

``(6) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I, the necessary and proper clause, section 5 of the fourteenth Amendment, as well as under the treaty clause, to the Constitution to enact such legislation.'' 
Amendment XIV, Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I especially highlight sections 1, and 3 through 6 because I feel that they are particularly applicable in this case for the prohibition of religious genital cutting of minors of both genders.

Now, bear in mind that this legislation is stating that genital cutting of females has religious significance, and the prohibition of religious genital cutting does insert government into matters of religion.  Is this a violation of the First Amendment, guaranteeing the right to practice religion?  

Before that question is answered, first consider the role of the law in our everyday lives.  The law a social code of ethics and rules that at its core functional level protects people from other people or sometimes themselves.  The federal outlawing of religious female genital mutilation does "brush shoulders" with the First Amendment, but this legislation seeks to protect unconsenting minors from harm and does not infringe upon the religious rights of the individual.  Essentially, this legislation prohibiting the involuntary genital cutting of female minors, including for religious reasons, does draw a proverbial "line in the sand" on the First Amendment.  In this sense, we all still experience our own personal freedoms of religion, but our freedom to practice our religious rituals ends where another person's body begins, and we are not to cause harm in its name.  This sounds reasonable, does it not?  It seems to say to us "Practice your religion however you please, but don't do body mods to baby girl's genitalia."  Piece of cake.

Now, this being said, Amendment XIV guarantees in its own words "equal protection of the laws."  The fact that there is a federal law protecting female minors from unnecessary genital cutting but not one for males is in violation of this principle, and in the case of religious male circumcisions, the aforementioned and previously established "line in the sand" on the First Amendment is crossed.  The very title of this bill, "Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act," is against this principle of protecting the child rights.

I now draw your attention to Amendment X, the one protecting citizen unenumerated rights:

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."  

Congressional passage of HR 2400 would abridge the rights of minor males to not have knives taken to their genitals without medical necesity.

This bill's constitutional problems aside, I draw your attention to the ethical problems with this bill.  The first and foremost thing is that Congress would essentially endorse religious genital cutting, which is of course, not ethical.

Another problem comes from the phrase: "Male circumcision is an important part of many world religions, including Judaism and Islam, and observers have safely embraced its practice for generations."  The fallacy comes from assuming that this procedure is safe, because, frankly, it isn't.

I draw your attention to this following study's abstract:
THYMOS: Journal of Boyhood Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2010, 78-90
LOST BOYS: AN ESTIMATE OF U.S. CIRCUMCISION-RELATED INFANT DEATHS
- Dan Bollinger
Abstract: Baby boys can and do succumb as a result of having their foreskin removed. Circumcision-related mortality rates are not known with certainty; this study estimates the scale of this problem. This study finds that approximately 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths (9.01/100,000) occur annually in the United States, about 1.3% of male neonatal deaths from all causes. Because infant circumcision is elective, all of these deaths are avoidable. This study also identifies reasons why accurate data on these deaths are not available, some of the obstacles to preventing these deaths, and some solutions to overcome them.
Clearly, there is a present form of danger in circumcision.  Calling this safe would be a false claim, and it would allow Congress to endorse or accept such deaths as an acceptable loss.  I don't feel comfortable with our government condoning an unnecessary practice that causes death.

Apart from death, other life-altering problems can arise from male genital cutting, like skin bridges, uneven scarring, keloid formations, hypertrophic scarring, adhesions, partial amputation of any part of the shaft, denudation of the penis, iatrogenic hypospadias, meatal stenosis, and complete amputation of the penis, to name just a few physical complications.

Look at my story.  Look at the story of Dr. Shane Peterson.  Have you ever heard of David Reimer?  Clearly, this procedure has its share of risks.

Infections at the wound site also are common.  Gangrene, staph, and MRSA have all been documented as occurring at a circumcision wound.

Another fallacy arises from the phrase "Male circumcision carries significant medical benefits, including lower risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, certain kinds of infection, and overall improved hygiene."  First of all, there is a surgical open wound on the genitals during the healing phase of circumcision that is regularly exposed to feces and urine.  I fail to see this as hygienic.

Under this reasoning, we are better off without fingernails, ears, or arms, because our fingernails can get dirty, our ears get waxy, and our arms have stinky armpits.  Enough is enough.  We have soap.  We have water.  Hygiene should not be a problem.

Similarly, we have condoms.  We have sex education.  How can Congress somehow state that circumcision holds down rates of STDs and other infections when there is such a high rate of circumcision, and yet, a high rate of STDs and other infections present in our own back yard?  This is incongruous to say the least.

Furthermore, the AAP recognizes that there is not significant concrete evidence to outright support routine infant circumcision.  I thus find the Congressional endorsement to be, at the very least, unsettling.  Our politicians want to condone religious genital cutting.


21 January 2012: Am I an Intactivist?

I received an angry message in my anonymous comment box from a reader asking, among other things, if I was some sort of intactivist.

In all truth, I am not entirely sure.

I'm sure this would have come up sooner or later, so I'll just take some time to explain, now.

When I see the word intactivist, I see a portmanteau between the word "intact," and "activist."  In the literal sense, I am neither intact, nor am I an activist.

I support the right for children to not have knives needlessly taken to their genitalia, period.  Having been through what I have, how could I not?  However, this being said, the "activist" portion of "intactivist" implies being physically or otherwise observably active to fight for bodily integrity rights, which I have not done, physically.  I have written no letters, called no congressperson, marched, nor held up a sign.  In my physical life, I am not like this.

If anything, I am covert.

For example, one evening someone was joking around about circumcision with a chainsaw, to which I casually (and superficially) in jest replied "Oh, yes.  Because circumcision isn't traumatically frightening and painful enough as it is," to which he replied "babies don't remember it."  I then said something in my continued, feigned joviality like "Neither do people who get roofied, because not remembering makes everything OK" with light sarcasm in my voice. 

My conversation partner grew quiet.  He then said mumbled something like "it's cleaner."

My the final words on this topic, uttered conversationally lightly, came out of my mouth when I said "Say of it what you will, but in the end you are taking a knife to a baby's genitals, and that is never going to be OK in my book."

I am not an intactivist in that I am overt in the physical world about it, but rather deliberately and pensively covert with my sentiments and statements.  Every statement I make in this sense is measured, carefully planned, another progression in an invisible game of perspective-altering chess.  The moment I might say aloud a statistic, I risk marking myself to them as somebody "obsessed."  If I keep it in jest, keep it light, and focus on the ethical facts, I can plant many, many seeds of doubt in others' minds about circumcision.  It isn't hard.  If anything, I prime and open up this sort of person for the real intactivists to spread the truth.

If I am an intactivist, I am undercover, working in the margins and behind the lines.  My support is there.  It is small, it is not measurable, but I am doing what I can to at least call people to think outside of their own box on this issue.

In my own way, I guess I am sort of an intactivist.  Or at the very least I can say that I am against the genital cutting of unconsenting minors, and am doing subtle things to spread this feeling.

15 January 2012: Associative Trypanophobia and a Scar Update

There is an unusual aspect of my life that strikes me as odd, and it is my unusual simultaneously high and low tolerance to pain.

I have had my fair share of falls, tumbles, scrapes, cuts, a few gashes, and other accidents growing up, but none of that really seemed to phase me that much in terms of how painful they were.  For example, I once had someone playfully take a hard swing at me with a large icicle (don't ever do this, seriously), which didn't break, and thudded as it smacked me in the thigh.  This wasn't that bad, in terms of pain.

In spite of being able to take all of this, I have a terrible anxiety when there are needles involved.  I have as long as I have been able to remember been resentful of needles being inserted into my body, and literally started shaking the few times it has been necessary.  The pain of needles isn't really that bad, or sharp for that matter, but the psychological anticipation of the pain coming is what causes me to worry and shake.

For example, in a practice lab for class we once used disposable lancets to test our own blood glucose levels, but I could not bring myself to administer the sharp, sterile device to draw blood from my finger.  I had to hand someone else my lancet, and looked away.  I told my partner to pick a finger random, but not to tell me which one.  When my partner asked if I wanted him to countdown, I said no.  I felt that counting would have made it worse.  Someone sitting next to me was kind enough to distract me with an anecdote, but I still was shaking and jumped when I felt the sharp pain on my finger.

This shaking anxiety has always been in my life in response to anticipated physical pain.

I remember reading somewhere once a study about negative changes in infant and toddler pain thresholds or vaccination discomforts as correlated with circumcision status, and I can't help but wonder.  This fear and anxiety for anticipated pain has been around as long as I can remember.  My earliest memory of vaccination was an anxious one, even before the needle, and at the time I didn't know and couldn't remember why.  This was the first shot I would ever remember.  Why was I so frightened with no previous concrete negative memory before?

This might all seem speculative, because, well, for me it is.  Whether or not it is speculative, I think this is significant.

All speculation aside, I will conclusively state that taking two shots directly into my penis on the day of surgery certainly did nothing to improve my already present anxiety for needles.

In other news, there has been some mild improvement in the scars.

The fibroid fissure is now not a local, hard, raised, clearly defined lump under my skin anymore.  Now it is only a tough gristly area where I am guessing the collagen scar matrix is breaking down.


The fleshy crater is still a crater, and has surfaced over with gray, shiny scar tissue.  It appears to be filling in very, very slowly from the bottom.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that it continues.

11 January 2011: Reader Q&A I

Courtesy of the comment box, I received some questions from an anonymous reader that I felt prudent to publish (with permission) and relevant to this blog.

A reader writes:
"When you had painful erections, where specifically was the pain - on either side of the skin bridge?  Was it a sharp pain like "oh my god my dick is about to tear open!" or a dull ache?"
The pain varied.  It was sharper during erections and dull after the refractory period afterwards, but this dull ache regularly faded after a while.  The dull ache was like the kind one feels from a bruise.

If I had to describe the sensation during erection, I would say that the pain at the beginning and ending of the bridge was sharp where the skin pulled on my scar and corona, and in the middle it felt completely different.  When skin gets pulled too tight, the sensation is different for everyone, but in this case, the sensation throughout the bridge was much like “snakebite,” that thing that kids used to do to each others' forearms in playgrounds.
Afterwards, the entire area would ache, dully.
"Did the pain interfere with masturbation and sex?"
This pain did interfere with the normal functioning of my penis, and I was basically incapable of sex or masturbation, let alone a simple erection without pain when it started to come on around age 16.  It started gradually and increased as the skin bridge got tighter as my penis grew and the skin bridge did not.
 "If masturbation and sex were impossible after age 16, how did you release your semen?"
Nocturnally.  I would wake up with an aching semi-erection from time to time, and find myself a mess.
"Has your circumcision damage prevented you from having sexual contact at all?"
This is a complex question, but a good one.

In the literal sense, yes, because pleasurable sexual stimulation wasn't really possible during my five year hiatus with erection pain.

On another level, the mental/emotional/social level, I am not immediately sure how to express my answer. I stated in my first entry that I always was conscious of something being wrong or different down there, and in the grand scheme of things, I wonder how this really has changed how I grew up, or how I perceived sex growing up.

For example, around the early teen years, my peers became very interested in sex. My interest in sex and females grew, but I did not embrace that same confidence that they employed, and never came to. Now that I think back on this, I wonder if the weight of having an abnormal "outside-of-either-box" (it didn't look either like either a like an intact one or a "typical" cut one) penis did not on some fundamental level subtly undermine my confidence with the opposite sex if not my confidence in general, at least as I grew increasingly conscious of my problem. Locker room teasing began in phys-ed, and it all went downhill from there.

It certainly has impacted how I approach the topic of relationships and women.  I want to someday start a family, surround myself with people that I care about and care about me in return, but oddly enough, I have practically no drive nor interest for sex.  Under the sex-as-baseball analogy, I am still on that bench, and have crossed nary a single base.  Not back then.  Not today.

This disinterest in sex is the part that is the hardest for me.  This is the part that I feel set me apart from everyone else back then, and still does today.  I found it difficult to contemplate something that would only lead me to literal physical pain, and possibly embarrassment of my body.  I had thus written myself off of the sexual roster back then, assuming that I would never be able to function down there without pain.  Such a terrible self admittance back then is not so easily overcome today, years later, without some personal lingering effects for me, I will say.
"What does your erection feel like now, now that the skin bridge is gone?"
The pain I described earlier is gone, but there are new, unpleasant (but not entirely painful) sensations during my erections. The lack of mobile skin makes my erections uncomfortably tight, drawing up a fair bit of hairy skin onto my shaft from my pubic area and scrotum. The scars being pulled taut produces a sensation much like pin-prickles after regaining sensation in a numb limb.

See one of my earlier entries for more details on that.

1 January 2012: A New Baby at a Family Gathering

As many other families do, my family gets together during the winter holidays.  We gathered together as is custom, but with a twist this year: my cousin had recently had a new son.  This particular child was born a few months ago prematurely via an emergency Cesarean section due to an unusual condition affecting my cousin, the mother.  He was under intensive care for a period of time lasting around two months.

Something strange was said aloud.  The mother of this child, rather non-nonchalantly I might add, mentioned after saying that her child never really picked up on breast feeding that she hadn't heard her child scream like he did during routine vaccinations since his screaming immediately after his circumcision.  This new mother, this pediatric nurse even, had consented to have her child put through the conscious pain of circumcision, and even was able to laugh (uneasily) about the situation.  This child, who had struggled to even survive and cling to life for more than a month, was subjected to an unnecessary and painful surgery, and his mother found his frightened and pained screaming a topic fit for idle chat.

I had never felt such a strange, disgusted mixture of emotion in my entire life.

I watched this woman coddle and coo, sing sweet little nothings, smother with love and kisses, and speak endearingly to her firstborn child, whose genitals she paid some stranger to partially amputate with no anesthesia.

It all felt so incongruous--the reality of this child's unconsentually modified body, his pain, blood, the loving and singing mother crooning and mewling over her child--I had never felt such a lump of discomfort in my throat as I did gazing warily at the scene before me.  It felt sick.  It felt wrong.  The phrase "lovingly mutilated" reverberated in the back of my mind.

When it came to be my turn to hold this nine pound, four ounce child in my lap, I gazed down upon his sleeping, furtively furrowed brow, and wondered if he would someday came to same stinging realization that I had--that what was done to his body was not ethically sound and very painful.

I felt so strange to be with them, like an alien among them, to probably be the only one thinking such things.  I feel changed, altered, different from them, in both a surgical and ethical-awareness sense.  How exactly is it that our culture has reached this point of looking away?

I wonder if this would have even phased me before.

The mother spoke of how her fellow nurses said they were against it, but she went ahead with it anyway because she thought it was "the right thing" to do.  I doubt I could have done much more than that group beyond telling my personal tale, if I had tried to persuade her.

Alas, by the time I had reached the morbid epiphanies that I have, it was too late for me to voice them to save him.  He was circumcised very shortly before I began to even write this blog.

Even so, I don't know if I have the courage to admit my greatest source of pain and shame to another person, let alone family.  I can write these things here, behind the formidable electronic wall of anonymity, but out and about in social contexts, my secret is safely hidden but from a select few, for fear of judgment and out of shame.

Am I a coward?  I feel like one.

23 December 2011: Acceptance

I have been depressed about the new scars for a while now.  Fortunately, I reached the breaking point of this depression the other day.

The breaking point came when I could say it aloud, and admit to myself my situation without my voice shaking.  "My penis is a twisted, scarred piece of s***, and I'm okay with that."  It felt good to say it, like getting a weight off of my chest.  In regards to my penis looking unusual and scarred, I suppose that things have not really changed that much, when I consider the before and after of this surgery.  I started with an abnormal scar tissue formation on my penis, and I still have unusual scar tissue.

A part of me was hoping that things would turn out looking "normal" after the surgery, but another part of me that adheres strongly to Murphy's law knew that this would probably not happen the way I hoped.  I didn't go to that urology office because I wanted things to look normal, though--I went because I wanted to be able to sleep at night without waking every few hours in pain.  At any rate, the old painful sensations are gone.

Although things have improved for me, alas, it seems that new problems face me after the surgery.  The two new scars now have an unusual sensation coming from them during erections--much like the pin-prickly feeling of sensation returning to a numb limb.  This isn't pain, per se, but it is not necessarily comfortable.  It seems that having those scars pulled tight produces this sensation.  I don't know if this is a normal thing for this procedure or not.

Also, the hemotumescent erectile corpora of the penis have grown considerably during my five year hiatus with erectile pain/dysfunction (puberty was kind to me).  This means that erections are very tight, if not uncomfortable.  The inner chambers that fill with blood are too big to comfortably fill because of the strain on my outer penile skin.  There is no mobile skin on my penis during erection, and the shaft of my penis "borrows" skin from my scrotum and pubic pad, resulting in pubic hair creeping up onto the shaft of my penis.  It feels like a dull ache, like an over inflated balloon, but the sharp pains are gone, at least.  Not only was I once botched by a circumcision, it also seems that they have taken too much skin for me to have comfortable erections.

I had not planned for this.

Time to improvise:

Problem: not enough outer skin on the penis.

Solution?: slowly grow the penile shaft skin under gentle tension until there is enough skin slack down there for these unpleasant sensations during erections to end.  The below picture comes courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


I was born at step #1, as all males are, and right now, I currently stand at #4 during erections after an infant circumcision.  To make erections more comfortable, I will probably follow through steps #6 or #7 to eliminate the discomfort, maybe even beyond that in order to be able to hide the scars.  Step #6 is my minimum goal.

If I can remove excess strain from those scars during erections, I may be able to be rid of the worst of the pin-prickly sensations.  This will be a long-term process, I admit, but if it ends my discomfort, and even ends up hiding my new scars, I will follow through as I can.

There is little more I can write about my surgical recovery at this point.

Having reached this point of my tale, I invite readers to sign the petition in the upper right corner of this page, if you feel so moved.  I would think that people deserve to know that complications can and do arise from routine infant circumcision.

If you ever want or need to contact me privately, I invite you to use the suggestion/contact-me box on the right side of the page.  

If you are like me, and are botched by circumcision, I hope that this account proves useful to you somehow.  I know how hard it is to find somebody you can talk to face-to-face about this, or even find informational resources about this sort of thing.  Feel free to contact me.  We can talk about this.  I will understand.

Happy holidays, all.

Be well.

12 December 2011: Family Descriptions

I have been somewhat vague about my family's role and participation in all of this mess, and describing their participation in this seems like it might be important.  I should state first that none of them directly know about this blog, nor do I intend on telling them about this blog.

As my parents divorced a couple of months before I was born, only one of my parents had the decision to make about circumcision, and this was my mother.  Were my father present, as I later learned, he would have still had the circumcision done, even if I were intact by the time he first won full custody of me when I was one-and-a-half years old.  In short, I never had a Sno-Cone's chance in Hell of keeping my body intact.

I have spoken to my mother, long divorced from my father, once already about my botched penis and the pain, in spite of my father's urges not to do so.  I spoke with her again as of late, after the surgery.  Last time she said to me something along the lines of "I'm sorry that you feel this way and that that this has become an issue for you."  It hurt so much to hear that from her.

Things change when you go under the knife once more.  This time around she was sorry.  She didn't articulate a direct apology for having me circumcised, but she said she was sorry for the pain I went through, back then, and today.  She tried to weakly justify her choice as a tradition (of the US, not of a religion that we don't have), but at the very least she showed remorse and questioned her decision 21 years later in retrospect.

This is the extent of what I expect from her, and I am taking it and pushing things no further.  She wasn't malicious back then, just misguided.  In spite of the terrible things that have happened throughout my life, my botched circumcision included, I have always been able to forgive her because she feels grief.  For simply being my one parent able to admit mistakes or feel grief she earns my love and my respect, and I can forgive her.  This alone, for reasons I cannot fathom, grants me some semblance of peace of mind.

(Lest I forget, Judith, my thanks for the kind comment you left me in my first entry!)

As my "go-to" parent is my father, and in spite of him not having to make this decision years ago, he has been by far the most difficult to deal with about this.  He marginalizes the literal physical pain I have been through, and is in blatant denial about circumcision even being possibly harmful, probably due to his own state of circumcision (his father is intact, so do the math).  He was born in the age of hospitals simply doing it while cleaning up the baby after birth without parental consent, and I feel that the state of the difference between him and his father contributes to his unrelenting attitudes of what I refer to as "cut superiority."

He so desperately wants to believe that what was done to him was the right thing and that it made things better for him, and it is obvious.  For him to admit that what was done to me was wrong would be to admit that what was done to him was wrong, and I don't think he wants to front with that because it would be emotionally difficult and fundamentally emasculating for him.

The mere notion of letting a stranger take a knife to your child's genitalia with no anesthesia being unethical is beyond him, and he clearly doesn't want to think about it in these terms.  As a result of this, he spews forth irrationally misanthropic things about how much he thinks the world hates foreskin, or how having an intact penis means that people think less of you.  I prefer not to elaborate further on such things here, but his words do disgust me.

I express remorse about the new scars on my penis from the operation a month ago.  "It's your dick" he barks.  "What do a few more scars down there matter?  Everyone has a scar down there.  It's normal, so get over it you f***ing pansy" (this is seriously what he said).  No, father, it is not normal, and this interaction is not normal.  What if I never wanted to have any scars on my penis in the first place?  Granted, his attitudes about the penis may have changed considerably since his divorce 21 years ago.  He doesn't understand that I find it difficult to cope with the fact that I have a scarred penis without ever having tried physical intimacy.  The insecurity I feel about this having possibly ruined things for me down the road shows through, I guess.  At any rate, this aggressively dismissive attitude from him is not really that comforting.

This is merely the cherry on top of it all, the apex of the difficulties I have had with my parents, especially my father.  One of them has done all I can expect to redeem herself for this and for other things.  The other is incapable of admitting fallacy about anything, and I doubt he ever will be able to do so.

At any rate, I will likely continue holding them both at a disgusted, emotional arm's length away, much as I have done for the majority of my life.

My sister with whom I am very close knows of my situation, but not of my strained interactions with our parents about this.  Our family is the type that shares almost everything on our minds, at least on my father's side, a quality for which I am grateful.  It means that no topic is taboo for us to discuss, sexual matters included.  Speaking with her about this, I learned that she has, independently from all of this, been in her own way a supporter of a man's right to have an intact body for a few years, now.

My sister is 4 years older than me, and in lieu of our parents who really didn't pick up the ball in taking care of us as children until a year or so after our grandparents stepped away, she adopted a role as a primary caretaker in my life, which I feel adds to the mutually understood and unconditional trust between us.  Speaking about this with her, she says that she remembers me articulating something being wrong with my penis as a toddler when she would bathe me, and was wondering if I would ever bring it up again.  I was surprised that she remembered this for so long when neither of our parents knew before I brought it up.

This sister, M, is already married.  When I told her about my botched circumcision operation, without any provocation on my part, she began talking about how circumcision was wrong.  She wasn't always conscious of this, but she stated that when she started thinking about it a few years ago, she felt that the things they say in hospitals seem like fear-mongering tactics employed by hospitals and by culture to justify what we already do.  "It's bullshit," she said to me.

She later told me that her husband is intact, has no problems with his foreskin, and that the reason that he managed to escape the hospital in one piece was because his mother started crying when they asked her the question of "do you want to circumcise?"  "It's natural; being intact isn't a problem like people say it is," my sister tells me.  We have confided in each other that we will both be leaving our children intact in private covenant of sorts.  It won't be a problem for her to try to justify this with her spouse, understandably.  I only wish I could face such certainty with my future wife and in-laws.  Perhaps my future career as a medical professional and my experiences of this will put weight behind my words.  I can only hope.

In addition to this, my sister M and I have spoken about whether we want to have our children exposed to our parents, as neither of them are very emotionally healthy people.  I don't want to go into too many details, but it is that bad, I fear.  On top of our parents' more obvious short-comings, having heard the biased and degrading things from my father's mouth about circumcision, I can think of at least one parent I don't want hanging around the hospital when my nephews or my own sons are born, or even bathing them, ever.

3 December 2011: Three Weeks Later

The fibroid fissure has almost completely disappeared, but the raised area and the new scar are still tender to the touch and are still painful to manipulate.


The fleshy crater has almost completely filled in from the bottom, and there is now a scab there.


Nevertheless, I will still keep the areas protected by bandages and ointments until they are completely healed and no longer painful.

To the regiment of ointments I now employ, I will be adding topical vitamin E soon.  The penis is a terrible place to have scars, and it is said that vitamin E is a good substance for the reduction of scars.
 
In the same way that my wounds are now closing, I suppose I ought to begin putting down my closing thoughts on all of this.

In spite of the stress of all of this--the penile surgery while still conscious, the stitches, the blood, years of painful insomnia, denial from my parents that anything was remotely wrong and countless trivializations of the pain I was in--I feel that I have become a stronger person.

It has been more than a month, now, that I have been writing about this.  I had long had feelings buried deep inside about what was done to my body, and things have certainly gotten shaken up by my simply bringing this matter forward and talking/doing something about it, but this was all a necessary process for me to be able to live a better life.

I just wish I could stop thinking about it.

I have been on that operating table, conscious, and aware of the surgery going on, and I was in little pain at the time.  I already had hated needles before this.  The sensation of needles slowly entering the penis and injecting is not so easily forgotten, and I doubt I ever will be able to forget that sensation.  I still wake up to reliving that moment in my nightmares.  Even while mostly numbed, it was by far the most stressful moment of my entire life within recollection.  The mere knowledge that someone I had barely met was cutting off a part of my penis was overwhelmingly panic-inducing for me.

I am a student going into a health-related career.  I have seen disturbing medical events, fresh burn victims, purulent cases of road-rash, more types of bodily secretions than I can count on my own two hands, and many similar things.  I can handle doing and seeing this much.  I can live through it.  Even so, my comfort for human gore as high as it is, I cannot explain how different the situation is when it's your own body in question--your own body on that operating table and being conscious for the entire process.  Merely writing this paragraph is making my body shake.  To look down and see bloody gouges and surgically exposed tissues and the demonstrative manipulation of these open, bleeding wounds on your penis is not something easy to relate to, but believe me, it can change you.

To think that something much more drastic was done to my body shortly after birth with no anesthesia astounds me.  I can't even begin to fathom the sheer terror and stress that the infant goes through.

I don't say this out of conjecture--I say this because I have been there on that table, now, twice: once outside of my elephantine memory's range, and the second time while conscious three weeks ago, and I am still reeling from it.

Routine infant circumcisions are even much more stressful for the baby in question because a much more drastic procedure is done without any form of appropriate anesthesia, all because neonatal physiology cannot stand up to the drugs involved.  I will never be able to idly stand by and allow my own children to pass through that same eye of Hell.  I can never allow this to be done to my children.  Ever.

The anxiety I felt on that table, even as horrid as it was, is nothing compared to that which a baby feels when he is merely days old from a circumcision.  The child invariably screams in agony during the entire bloody procedure, that is unless he goes into a rare form of neurogenic shock (coma) from the pain.  This is unacceptable.  If I ever have a son, I will love him enough to think he is perfect the way he is born--no disassembly required.  If he ever asks why it wasn't done, I will tell him that the very idea of routine infant circumcision is archaic, barbaric, pointless, erroneously "prophylactic," and that I had no right to make that decision for him.  I'll tell him that I loved him enough to think that he was perfect the day he was born.  I have no right to make a decision to modify another's body for no legitimate medical reason.

What we are doing in the US on a grand scale is not so different (in principal, at least) from what people do to little girls in Africa in the case of female genital mutilation (hereby to be referred to as "FGM")--both are amputative, painful, and unnecessary procedures that impugn upon the basic right to bodily integrity, and both have bullshit "justifications" that run alongside.  It is just a question of the tint of the cultural lenses we wear.  We abhor the FGM practices in Africa, but if we were to be objective and remove the colored lenses that we call "cultural perspective" from our own eyes, we would look down upon our own mutilating hands and recognize in horror that the substance covering them is blood of the very same color.

On one hand, we can hear no amount of medical study done about supposed "benefits" (and I am sorry to say that such studies do exist, and that they were even written in the US up until around the 1960s) of FGM--we simply prohibit it on a federal level.  In the same way, I consider both male and female underage genital mutilation/modification practices to be irreconcilable; medical studies be damned!

As a student going into the medical profession, I find the rate of surgical complications (which I can personally atone to being a living hell) and mortality rate (about 9.01 per 100,000, minimum in the US alone in 2010) of routine infant circumcision unacceptable. 

I am very decidedly against any genital modification, alteration, or mutilation being performed on any body part of unconsenting minors of any gender, and this is not ever going to change for me.  If the topic comes up in conversation, I will be able to speak out about it from experience that bad things can and do happen.

The part that frightens me is that if I didn't grow up botched and were to have kids, I don't know what decision I might make for my sons in this matter, although I now recognize that this shouldn't even be a parental decision.  The thought haunts me that if I weren't botched, I don't honestly know if I would have the audacity to break this bloody cycle.

My own father speaking favorably of having my circumcision done to me even in spite of the surgical complication (which is a very alienating thing to do) speaks volumes about where our society is on this issue.  To merely be a circumcised father in America and to not pay forward the pointless and harmful toll of infant circumcision would be to admit in some way that what was done to the father was wrong, and I get the impression that this is more emotional baggage than this type of man can bear.

I can be strong enough to admit this.  I can be strong enough to endure that emotional baggage.  I refuse to pay this pointless bloodshed forward to the next generation.

I originally intended this journal to only be a document about my healing procedure.  The things I write here beyond the bare details of my body are genuinely a part of this healing process for me.  Were these feelings not relevant to this process, I would not include them.

That is all, for now.

28 November 2011: More than two weeks later

The fibroid fissure has become less inflamed, but is still hard to the touch and painful to manipulate.  It has closed, and I don't foresee it being problematic in terms of bleeding anymore.  There is raised tissue below and above the scar where the sutures entered and exited my flesh.

 

The fleshy crater has filled in a bit, but the pit of the wound is still open, oozing, and sensitive.  I am continuing to apply bandages and white petroleum jelly and bacitracin in attempts to keep this wound from drying, scabbing, breaking, and bleeding once more. 

 
Not much else to report apart from my redesign of the bandages to avoid taping the bandage directly onto the shaft of my penis.  I now use clear tape attached to the bandage and cover the sticky side with more tape so that there is no adhesive bared.  I then use the non-sticky tape strip to anchor the bandage with the belt of my pants, or the waistline of my pants.  In more general terms, it is much like wearing a sock with a suspender, I suppose.

23 November 2011: I Now Know Why I Write this Blog

It has taken me a while to realize it, but I think I finally understand why I am writing the things that I am.

I live in a society of collective mental illness where people seem to think that it is OK to take a knife to a baby's genitals, and not many seem to even question the practice.  I am on a fundamental level incapable of embracing such pragmatic trust in anything, let alone this.

The men who have been cut often perpetuate this mentality because it is easier to try to justify what was done than come to terms with the emotional baggage of that what was done to them may have been wrong.  The ethics of strapping down a baby and taking a knife to his or her genitals with no anesthetic nor legitimate medical reason resound too strongly for me to ever be able to turn my head away and deny the truth of such an atrocity.

My parents know about my situation.  Both of them know now.  Both of them seem to think that my anguish in this matter is merely self-obsessed and narcissistically neurotic.

But at the same time, they don't know.  They don't know the teasing in locker rooms I have endured, they don't know the pain that has been keeping me up at night, they don't know the fear of blood and pain coming from the genitals, and they don't know what they chose for me has really done to me as a person.  They know the details of the things I tell them and roll their eyes, but they don't know them from experience what it is really like.

The only things I hear from them are their feeble attempts at reassuring me by trying to legitimize and marginalize the things I have lived through as necessary and simultaneously not a big deal, and they have treated my time in anguish as collateral damage--an acceptable risk.  This is so very alienating for me.  Especially when they reply with such things as "who cares what your dick looks like?"  I care, and I point out the hypocrisy of their saying such a thing when it clearly mattered enough to one of them what it looked like when she reached the decision to elect for such a procedure (which was botched, by the ways) in the name of cosmetics.  The room gets quiet when I point out such things.

I would be lying if I said that their dumbfounded silence wasn't more comforting than their blandly proffered and inappropriate attempts of trying to justify any part of this.

I write this blog because I am alone.

There are others out there like me, but I have not a single person that I can talk to face-to-face in confidence who can understand these things.

I suppose that part of me understood this on a subliminal level when I started writing this journal-made-into-a-blog.

Writing these things has been a help, because with every entry I feel as though some sort of weight is being lifted from my mind, although it still hurts me to write.  It is like removing a splinter from your finger--it hurts to do so, but it feels so much better once it is out.

To others out there that are like me in any way shape or form, I want you to know that you are not alone.

22 November 2011: The Last of the Stitches and the Fibroid Fissure Beneath Them

I made it through the night without bleeding again, albeit without much sleep.  The last of my stitches came out in the bandage overnight, leaving raised, firm, pink points of entry/exit into my flesh where the sutures came out.  Under the surface of the formerly sutured fissure of flesh I can feel hard tissue--likely an extracellular collagen matrix from where the skin has been mending itself together.


I am unsure at this point if the hard tissue under this fissure will ever soften into a more normal tissue type.  I fear that this hard, scarred fissure (hereby to be referred to as the "fibroid fissure") may cause discomfort during prospective future intercourse for my both myself and any prospective partner if it doesn't dissolve.  This scar looks and feels almost exactly like the one I have over my eyebrow that I have had since I was seven--hard, and fibroid in nature.  This is not reassuring.

[the eyebrow scar]
The fleshy crater seems relatively unchanged sans for the fact that it seems to have filled in from the bottom ever so slightly, but still shows little signs of narrowing.


I keep saying to myself that I will be able to sleep soon at night, but after the past two nights, I have gotten very little.

I am caking on bacitracin and white petroleum jelly in hopes that keeping these wounds from drying out will improve scar prognosis later.

21 November 2011: A Waking-Up, a Call, but not a Wake-Up Call Per Se

I awoke last night/early this morning around 2:30 AM to a sensation that was familiar but different.  I awoke to my old friend, pain from erection, but there was something different this time.  Along with the pain in the usual areas, I had a sticky sensation in my boxers.

I got up out of bed, turned on the lights to change my boxers, and found out that the sticky substance in my boxers was blood and that there was a lot of it.  It was still coming out.

In my sleep, the bandage over the fleshy crater had come off, the ulcer-like wound in the pit of it had opened, and it was gushing blood very badly.  The blood was all over my groin, the lower part of my abdomen, and the upper parts of my thighs.

Step one was to stop the bleeding.

Using my thumb, I put pressure on the wound until the blood stopped.  Around this point in time, I became conscious of a feeling of light-headedness.  Unsure if this was from being tired, nausea at seeing that much blood, or blood loss itself, I called one of those 24 hour nurse hotlines for advice.

I got an answer after about a minute of waiting through obnoxious, canned, pre-recorded health announcements.  The nurse came on and proceeded to ask me a bunch of nursey questions.  When asked what was wrong, I reported light-headedness and blood loss.  The nurse asked the source.

I paused for a moment.  I lied and said it was a nosebleed.  I really didn't want to explain everything over the phone at that hour, and the advice would likely be the same anyway.

I was told to drink plenty of fluids, restore electrolytes, get plenty of iron in my diet, and eat healthily tomorrow.  If I were to start bleeding again heavily, I should go to the emergency room.  I took the first parts of her advice using a multivitamin, a bottle of water, and a bottle of sports-drink.

Step two was to clean myself up without anyone else in the residence hall noticing.

This part was easy at around 3:00 AM when most were asleep.  I covered up using a bathrobe, quietly walked to the showers, managed to rinse the blood off of me with cold water, and got the vast majority of it out of my underwear.

I got back to my room, re-bandaged, and eyed my floor and bed.  The sheets were not spared from this mess, and I used my wet towel to clean the blood from the tiled floor.

I stripped my sheets and mattress cover, balled them up so the blood was on the inside along with my towel, ventured down to the laundry center in our basement, shucked in some quarters and my bloodied linens, and set the water on cold.

Laundry done at around 4:30 AM.

Crashed until around 7:15 AM.

Class started at 8:00 AM.

It's around 11:00 AM now, CST.

Haven't seen any more blood.

I'll spare you the pictures because they would be terrible, and I was stressed out enough at the time to not think of taking them.

20 November 2011: Another Lost Stitch

The middle of the three stitches on the shaft came out, coming undone instead of dissolving.

 
The flesh of the shaft scar appears to be healing well.  Perhaps such is merely the after-effect of the dermal adhesive I applied earlier in precaution.

I am taking no chances, and applying more dermal adhesive to the area anyway.


Words cannot quantify how much the dermal adhesive burns in that area, but I am taking no chances on another crater developing.

The flesh in the pit of the fleshy crater looks like raw subdermal tissues exposed.  The crater is prone to drying without application of bacitracin or white petroleum jelly, and the edges of the wound are raised, dry, pink, and tender.  It has filled in a little bit, but not too much.


The above photo shows a sample of how much bacitracin I put on the fleshy crater.

I'm doing OK for now.

18 November 2011

One week after the operation, I am not feeling too bad, now.  The crater seems like it might actually heal and fill in, but I still have my doubts.


The area is a bit red, inflamed, and tender around the edges of the crater and the stitches.  The crater seems to be coming around, perhaps.  The edges of that wound are hard to the touch and tender.  I will be keeping it moist with topical bacitracin and white petroleum jelly as needed.

I was told to never tape anything onto my penis, but this is really the only way to keep the bandage from falling off, and to keep things down there from getting irritated or bloody.  I have since overcome such trepidations by using cloth tape between the gauze and the shaft of the penis, leaving folded over "pull-tabs" for when I need to change things.  I tape on both sides because taping on one side doesn't work too well. 

Erections don't hurt me anymore, which is nice.

Things are looking up, I hope.

14 November 2011: A Lost Stitch and a Fleshy Crater

It's Monday.  I woke up this morning for class, showered, dressed the wound and dressed with clothes.  The first of the stitches came out today after coming undone instead of dissolving, with a slight pin-prick of blood from the corona where the stitch came out.  I thought nothing of it.
I had lecture.  I could not help but wincing occasionally from the pain of things down there.  Walking was much more tender than usual.  Upon examination, I found that what once was a small looking stitched cut where the stitch fell out of my corona was now once more the gaping crater of flesh I saw earlier during the operation when I chanced looking down.  I panicked. 

I called Dr. S' office once more, and hurried off to the university wellness center where I had my first appointment in hopes of finding some sort of dermal adhesive with which I might be able to reseal the fleshy crater.  Over the phone Dr. S said that the hole should fill in, but that if I wanted to try, I could try to seal the edges together with steri-strips or using dermal adhesive.  She seems to really like the word “reepithelialize.” 

I skipped my last class, and rushed to the store to find such a product.  I chose dermal adhesive.  It didn’t work, and burned very badly.  I tried again and again for several hours to get things to stick, but to no avail.  The gouge is still there, and it bled generously.

Application of steri-strips also failed.

I am attempting to let the wound scab, and hope that such a scab will make the fleshy crater fill in, although after seeing some before-and-after photos on the internet of procedures like mine, I don’t have much optimism at the moment of such working out.  At the end of all of this, I will likely still have genitals with an abnormal appearance, but will not be in any more physical discomfort. 


Above: the open crater, bloody photo not shown.


Ditto.

This journal is depressing me.

I feel like there is no escaping from my mutilation, and my last ditch efforts to remedy it seem as though they might fail and still end up leaving me visibly and permanently scarred.  The pain will be gone, and I wish I could be happy with that, but the scars of my butchers are not so easily faded.  Should all of this fall through, I may consider a practice called foreskin restoration, at least to be able to hide the scars.

There is no doubt that my problem is due to a botched circumcision.

I find myself questioning why I am even keeping record of my bitter reflections.  Perhaps some part of me plans on sharing this morbid tale.  Perhaps I might share this with my children someday so that they know what I understood I had to protect them from.  Perhaps I might share this with others who have gone through what I have to share a morbid sense of mutilatory solidarity—a sense of never being alone.  Perhaps I will never share this with anyone.  Perhaps I shall publish this bitter tome and share this with everyone, and it might someday serve as a comical glimpse into the barbarities of old and how some suffered under the pointless knife of tradition.  Perhaps I might share this with my future wife, assuming I ever marry.  I hope that this journal can make her understand why I don’t want my children to suffer as I have under that knife.

These metaliteral reflections notwithstanding, I have reached a new thought and horrid reflection.  I am no longer sure if I hate my body itself, or if I hate what was done to my body.  The line between the two concepts is now blurred to me.  I am now suspecting that my penis will always have the fleshy crater in the glans, albeit in a reepithelialized form as Dr. S fondly predicts.

I have expressed my disgust with this to my father.  I tell him that my penis looks bad, and I express my sense of hopelessness in this—in that my penis will no longer hurt me any more physically, but I express my sense of defeat in that it will probably never look “normal.”  I am beginning to hear regret or remorse in his voice when he speaks to me about this.  This is a marked change in his demeanor in regards to this issue.

Before, it was always “it is not a big deal.”  Now it is “we might be able to do something about this.  I will come to you to help you if I have to.  We can make this right.”  I am wondering if this new change in him is from my tone of helplessness/hopelessness over the phone, or if the weight of the horrors I have lived with all of this time is beginning to press on him too.  I have conceded defeat in this, and it is audible in my voice.  I don’t know if he has ever heard such a tone from me, but it must be off-putting enough to shake him. 

Perhaps he is changing.  Perhaps he isn’t changing.  I don’t know anymore.  All I know is that I am afraid to fall asleep because I fear I could bleed to death without ever waking.  I can't help but think "What the fu** have I done to my body?"

I’m scared.

Today, my best friend told me the nicest thing I had ever heard about this ordeal, and what probably will be the nicest thing I will ever hear in regards to all of this.  She told me “don’t worry about it.  Everything will be fine, I promise.”  I tried so hard to not cry at this.  I made it out of the Library at night before mutely sobbing over all of this with tears welling out of my eyes through the brisk November winds.

11 November 2011: Sudden Surgery

Coming into the appointment, I am unsure of how much I can expect out of Dr. S.  Her curriculum vita indicates that she specializes in nephrology, but I hoped I could trust her to help me with my problem.

As instructed by the receptionist, I arrived at 7:30 AM to provide a urine specimen.  I am unsure why I was asked to do so, since the health institute I went to did not even open until 8:00 AM, and my problem is not nephrologic in nature.

I had the appointment, and showed the doctor my problem.  I know the cause of my problem--a readhesion of the synechia membrane between the glans and my preputial remnant, but Dr. S inaccurately stated the development leading to circumcisions that were botched like mine.  Her etiological shortcomings notwithstanding, she said that she had handled several cases like mine before so I decided to trust her experience as a penile surgeon, and elected for an operation at her offering.  I wanted to be able to sleep at night.  I was told the prognostic cosmology would be good.

The operation was done under local anesthetic, and I was lying on my back on that examination bed made into an impromptu operating table, shaking the entire time.  I felt nothing beyond the first few shots of local anesthetic, which were still a bit nerve wracking.  I was a bit shaken when Dr. S told me to take a look down if I liked when things were said and done.  Worst.  Mistake.  Ever.  It looked like she had excavated the skin bridge from the corona, leaving a large, bloody hole (hereby to be referred to as the "fleshy crater").

I had an unusual but painless sensation when the dissolving sutures were put in place.

The nurse, N, told me to avoid hot dates for a while, in humor.  If only he really knew how true his words had been my entire life for shame of my body and for fear of erection pain.

A topical antibiotic to be vigorously applied twice daily for two weeks as well as acetaminophen were recommended, and I was instructed in how to dress the wounds.

The cosmetics of this operation look relatively good, at least prognostically in comparison to where I was before.  I was told that now that it is stitched and lightly cauterized, the fleshy crater looked as if it would heal nicely without much of a cosmetic blemish beyond the predicted discoloration.  The proximal incision, more towards my body, appears as though it will be well hidden along my circumcision scar.  There are four stitches total—three along the circumcision scar where the proximal end was cut away, and one on the corona where the bridge was excised and the fleshy crater sealed.  There is hardly any pain except for when walking causes the bandages to pull on the stitches.

Below are photos from one day later.  Had some light blood-spotting through the bandages, my boxers, and my jeans.


Bandage removed.  The shine is due to bacitracin ointment being spread all over my penis below the bandages.


Visible above are the four stitches--three along the already present scar, and one sealing the fleshy crater.

Ditto, a close up.

Had a bleeding erection through the night, but bleeding was very light and painless.  I'll plan on not taking acetaminophen at night so that the pain from erections will hopefully keep me from getting them.