Book Review By Margarert Lukasik
If you're facing prostate surgery or you're in the recovery stages, you've got Rick and Brenda Redner on your team to help you through each phase of the process. Their first book, "I Left My Prostate in San Francisco—Where's Yours?: Coping with the Emotional, Relational, Sexual, and Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer" shares every aspect of the couple's difficulties that began after Rick was diagnosed with prostate cancer. They've also written a second book, “Everything You Never Wanted To Know about Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants,” which I highly recommend reading after this first book. Both books have won awards and have led to the couple helping tens of thousands of men and their partners cope with prostate cancer and the problems that follow surgery.
Their work experience proves that no one is immune to the emotional and relational issues that surface after prostate surgery brought on mainly by urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction (ED). Brenda is an RN and Rick has experience as a medical and psychiatric social worker, but without much information available, Brenda found herself pushed away by Rick as he sunk deeper into depression based mainly upon the severe changes he underwent that challenged his self-image and manhood. However, because of their deep commitment to each other, they found the path to marital recovery, which they claim was slow and still ongoing.
Rick had to face prostate surgery head-on without most of the information he shares in the book. Thus, his purpose for sharing such intimate details about the couples’ emotional and sexual struggles as well as his personal difficulties. The technical details about Rick's personal hardships before and after surgery are many. He shares invaluable information concerning surgery, choosing the right doctor, insurance sources and much more. Everything is covered medically, financially, psychologically, sexually and spiritually.
I found the introspective questions and comments listed at the end of most chapters a great addition to the book. There are also helpful comments and guidance that can help make the journey of healing from prostate surgery easier and more pleasant, especially concerning the problems of losing bladder control and experiencing ED as I've mentioned. Where there is education about the unknown, fear subsides and I believe that Rick and Brenda have given their all to insure that men have the courage to seek medical help if they suspect they might have prostate cancer.
I enjoyed the continuous thread of faith woven throughout the chapters that tell the story of the couples’ love and commitment to God and to each other for better or for worse. No matter what difficulties they faced, both Rick and Brenda kept God at the center of their lives. They talk about the benefits of prayer and drawing nearer to God for comfort and guidance, the importance of specific scripture that helped them through difficult times and their church family which gave them much encouragement. These discussions were blended effortlessly throughout the book in a way that didn't preach, but instead enhanced Rick and Brenda's story.
"I Left My Prostate in San Francisco—Where's Yours?..." is intelligently written and easy to read. While it shares empowering information about prostate surgery and healing, Rick's writing style brings humor to his personal story and a prevailing determination to work with the surgery choice he made to achieve a positive outcome. More important, it's clear that his greatest motivation is to help other men and their partners facing the same situation that he and Brenda already lived through, achieve good health and mental well-being to properly heal.