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

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.

8 comments:

  1. Good luck with the urologist. Since your parents probably won't ever say this, I want to apologize for them for circumcising you as a baby. My intact son won't ever have to ask me why I did that to him, and I won't ever need to ask his forgiveness for it. Hopefully one day you can forgive them.

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  2. Stories like this break my heart. The only silver lining is that "lysis" (breaking the skin bridge) will ease the physical pain. It's unforgivable that you had to endure that for five years, and all for no good reason.

    I'm surprised your search didn't lead you to all the pictures at the Intactivism Pages , where you will find a variety of other resources.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I admire your courage and strength. I hope you find relief soon.

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  4. I am so sorry for your pain - all of it: the physical, the emotional, the depression. I am so sorry you were ignored and hushed and pushed aside. You never deserved that. I have always understood that circumcision was a terrible thing to do to a person. I have so much compassion for those who are victims/survivors of it. I have educated on the truth of it for 10 years or so. I am so sorry that your right to a whole body was violated. Have you considered any legal action against the person who circumcised you? In each state, you have a window of time to take such action, after you turn 18. I do not know what that time frame is. David Llewellyn in Atlanta Georgia has persued many circumcision damage cases and you can locate him here: http://thecircumcisionlawyer.com/ You have my full support as you embark on reclaiming your body. One step at a time....but there is a process of foreskin restoration that can reclaim some of what you have lost. Do an internet search, you fill find some good information that might be very helpful. As time goes on, you might wish to do this to reclaim some of what was taken from you.

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  5. I feel for you in ways few others can understand. I also had a botched circumcision and also faced indifference from parents and physicians. I wish you the best, and hope you get some help from the urologist. Please let us know how that comes out. Don't be afraid to vent if it doesn't go well . . . others have shared that experience too. I see familiar names here, and know you will have, at least, moral support.

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your trauma. I want to heartily thank you for sharing your story. It's painful to read, painful to imagine, but so important to hear. As Americans, we're so guilty of wanting to maintain the status quo and we allow thousands of babies to be mutilated daily. We don't want to believe that anything bad could ever happen and when we hear stories like yours we instantly want to dismiss it as simply some rare unfortunate accident that could never happen to our own sons. But it does happen, probably more often than anyone wants to admit. You are so brave. I wish there were more I could do, but I just want to wish you the best of luck in your quest for healing. And keep sharing.

    - PunkinheadDeluxe

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  7. Thank you for so eloquently telling your story. You are part of a historical first, people speaking up publicly about the harm circumcision has done. I urge you and anyone else suffering from circumcision harm to report it:

    http://www.circumcisionharm.org/

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  8. Thank you for the pic of your penis, I'm sorry for your pain

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