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.
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.