Disclaimer:

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

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.

Before the Appointment: Photos

I suppose that I should have a few before and after pictures.

Here are some pictures from before the appointment, with explanations in anatomically correct terminology.


In the above photo is visible the scar tissue formation I mentioned earlier, the "skin bridge."  It originates at the circumcision scar to the corona of my glans over the sulcus, and is very tight and painful when my penis becomes erect.  


There is a darker blemish on the left side of my penis just distal to the circumcision scar.  That small dark dot is a scar from when another "skin bridge" ripped apart from about 1/2 the way up my glans, and bled and hurt badly.  This happened when I was 8.  I never told anyone about that until now.  The blemish on the glans is barely visible on the left side.  
 

There are non-bridging adhesions in the center of my sulcus--two small, cosmetic blemishes where the skin adhered confluent to the sulcus as sequelae to my circumcision.  These are sensitive to the touch and get sore very easily.

 

Like its name implies, things may pass under this unusual bridge.  I have awoken to the skin bridge becoming pulled so tightly that it cracks and bleeds, before.

 

Visible here is a chunk missing from the inner mucosa under the corona of the glans, just to the left of the penile frenulum.  Also present are unusual raised, painless, pink bumps on either side of the frenulum.  They are likely hirsuties coronae glandis, aka "pearly penile papules," a harmless anatomical variation in penile appearance and form.



Visible on the underside of the shaft is the skin-tag I have on the left side (right on the photo) from a sloppy cut, and just caudal (below) the frenulum there is a darkish dot-like blemish.  I think this may have been where they might have injected local anesthetic for when they performed the circumcision, 21 years ago.  A similar dark mark is visible on the (formerly) inner mucosa to the right of the frenulum caudal to the sulcus.  I have no idea as to what the cause might be for that one.

Off to a Delayed Start, a Preface, October 2011

I suppose that even before this unusual tale unfolds, I should do a bit of explaining.

This blog will be select excerpts from a journal that I have been keeping for a while.  Some of these entries will be backdated for this reason.

I am rambling already without even the slightest introduction.  Sorry.

I am a young man of 21 years from the rural regions of the Midwestern United States.  I have completed high school, and have been attending college for a while now.  For a long time I have known that there was something different about my body, but I had never really been able to accurately articulate what it was, up until a few years ago at least.  I remember looking down at the abnormal scar tissue on my genitals as a boy and thinking to myself "something seems wrong with me," but not really knowing what to do about it or even what to say about it to anyone else.  Thus, my concerns went unvoiced for a long time.

And so I lived quietly for a while with my body, never giving much thought to what I concluded may have been a birth defect, seeing how it had been there as long as I could remember.  While the scarred defect only seemed marginally harder to clean, I never gave it much thought.

Around puberty, my body began growing, but lamentably, the abnormal scar tissue formation left behind was not so willing to grow with the rest of my body.  Hence, the flesh on my penis became progressively tighter and tighter due to the restrictive scar.  Erections were becoming difficult if not downright painful, and I voiced my concern with my father about something being wrong with me at age 16.  I told him about the unusual feature on my penis and how tight it was.

He was unphased by my descriptions.  "Oh, the doctors must have just missed a bit when they circumcised you, and it just sounds like an extra piece of skin, so I wouldn't worry about it."  In spite of my pain, this was the best advice my own father had to offer me.  Nothing like “let’s go see the doctor,” or anything like that.  I would later try broaching the topic again, but once more had my concerns marginalized.  "Don't worry about it," he would say.  “It’s just an extra piece of skin.”  His very attitude said to me “I’m happy with my circumcision, why can’t you be with yours?”

It seemed that I would get no help from him in this matter.

Ironically, I would learn later that the sentiment of anything on the penis being erroneously thought of as "an extra piece of skin" is what landed me in my predicament in the first place.

Puberty progressed.  My condition worsened as my body continued growing.  Any attempt of bringing up this issue with my father was quickly and briefly curtailed.  Every single erection hurt me.  I had stopped getting erections during the day, but I could not stop them from spontaneously waking me at night from the pain.  Being a desperate young man seeking answers, I did what many others have done before me and turned to the internet for answers.

I tried searching for "penis pain."  I found some good information, but nothing quite like what I had.  I reformed my thoughts and searches.  Thinking about how to reform my description of my penile abnormality, I tried searching for "bridge of skin on penis," and clicked on the first link.  There I saw many other photos of penises that looked like mine, some that looked as if their conditions were better, and some that looked as if their conditions were worse, but I had found the first resource that I felt could possibly help me.

I looked, I read, and I learned.  I found out that what was wrong with my body--that the reason that my penis hurt so much was not a birth defect but rather a surgical mistake.  What was wrong was caused by a surgery, and it was called a "skin bridge,” or more specifically, a trauma-induced balano-preputial adhesion.  I learned that my complication was the direct result of my parents needlessly paying some stranger to royally screw up my genitals with a knife.

Quote:
A skin-bridge is formed when the raw remnant where the foreskin was cut attaches to the raw surface of the glans and heals that way. This happens after the doctor has lost interest in the case and the mother, who has been told her son's circumcised penis is now "low maintenance" and has no idea what it is "supposed" to look like, does not notice that anything is the matter.
(Retrieved from The Intactivism Pages)

In that moment, I went from feeling like a freak with a birth defect to feeling surgically mutilated.  I had never suspected that my circumcision performed on me as an infant was to blame for the pain, or that my scar tissue formation was abnormal for a circumcised male, but the truth of the matter shocked me.

I read on.  I learned that the surgery that was done to me is recommended against by almost all major national medical associations, and that those that did not speak out against it did not recommend it.  It does not definitively diagnose or prevent any infection, and this information was available long before the time of my birth.  What more, no single prominent media group has ever reported that damages like mine happen, and no doctor has ever done a study on the damages as present in adult men. 

Men like me exist in misery, but are marginalized.  Even more indignation stems from the fact that a few doctors know that damage like ours happens, but still continue this practice.  Their willingness to continue to recommend circumcision means that people like me are treated as “acceptable losses or risks.”  I am a human being in pain, and not just some unrecorded number.

I learned that when I was born, my mother decided to have me circumcised (for no religious reasons, and for no legitimate medical reasons).  I learned that what happened to my penis was bloody and painful, and that one of my parents was directly responsible for choosing to cut off a piece of my penis for no good reason, and permanently scarring me in such a deeply intimate, personal, and disfiguring way.

As I later learned, the foreskin comprises more than half of the mobile skin of the penis, and that the surgery reduced my capacity for sensual stimulation to around 30% of what it could have been if I had been left intact due to the loss of quite a bit of neurological tissues down there.

I thought about all of this for a while, and the pain I had at night.  I started crying.  Someone took a knife to my genitals when I was a baby, and I was in pain for it due to excessive surgical complications.  I didn't know what to do, and had nobody I knew that I could talk to who could understand my pain and anguish on this, as everyone I had tried broaching the topic with about my pain seemed to feel the need to defend the genital surgical practice that had hurt me in lieu of comforting me as an individual.  I would mention bodily pain as a result from circumcision, and almost as if programmed, a myth response would come out in defense of a procedure that was done to many without consent of the patient in question.  Perhaps they did this because defending it is emotionally much easier than admitting that what was done to you was wrong, but I can never know this.

None of this would have ever happened if my parents simply knew better, and left me intact.

Fast forward to my third year of college, today.  I had mastered the art of never getting erections during the day, but nighttime was a different story.  Unfortunately for me, the human male experiences 4-7 spontaneous nocturnal erections.  I wake up for every single one of them, and have been doing so for the past 5 years. The sensation of the flesh of your penis straining to rip itself apart is an unforgettable one and is not easily ignored.  The pain and lack of restful sleep at night was making me into a darker person on the inside.

The pain was enough to make me silently sob to myself at times, my sides heaving, my sweaty hands digging into the sheets and mattress, hoping--praying, even, that my roommate would not wake up to hear me. He would later voice concerns that I was suffering from sleep apnea, as he heard my stifled and heaving breaths from time to time at night.

The bitterest moments in that late-night pain made me think back.  I began questioning "what was wrong with me as a baby the way I was?  Did my parents not love me enough to think that I was good enough for them the way I was born?  What right did they honestly have to cut off a part of my body based only on the reason that they wanted to?"

These thoughts destroyed me, and I spiraled downward into the recesses of my depression and insomnia.  I felt trapped, and wondered if there was anything that I could even do to escape my situation.  I couldn't focus anymore in class.  Everything I did seemed like a hollow gesture.

I took the initiative, and scheduled an appointment at the university clinic.  I went in, my body shaking uncontrollably without my really knowing why.  My heart rate and blood pressure were both elevated from stress.  Neither the doctor nor the nurse had ever seen anything like what was wrong with my penis before.  My voice was quavering when I asked if there was anything that could be done to end my pain.  The doctor later would write a letter of referral to a urologist, not really knowing herself.  I left that office, unsure.

It was time for me to again find my own answers.  I went searching the internet once more, this time for “skin bridge surgery.”  The first few medical documents presented in-office electrocautery as a solution, but with poor prognosis for cosmology and residual nerve damage and pain.  To say the least, this was not reassuring.  A few listings later, I found one mentioning reasonably successful damage revisions done by plastic surgeons who would have experience in avoiding nerve and vascular damage, and reducing scarring.

My appointment with the urologist is coming soon.

I don't know if she will recommend me to a plastic surgeon or not.  At either rate, I really don't want electrocautery.