The Prostate Centre, Wimpole Street, London is where my success story begins. But all good stories have a prologue that sets the wheels in motion, mine begins in a small town in Surrey called Epsom (famous for the Epsom Derby Horse race, where suffragette Emily Davison was killed after stepping out in front of King George’s horse Amner).
A young man in my very early 20’s, I was fit, active and full of vivre. Leaving my then girlfriends house on a Monday morning to cycle back to my parent’s house I had a deep nagging ache in my testicles. The ride was less than 2 miles away and was nothing compared to the 30 plus miles I was used to riding per week. I got back home and the ache was becoming similar to a tooth ache but in my groin. Throbbing, gnawing and a dull grating were words I did not associate with my groin, nor did I want to associate with my groin. This however was my reality. My doctor prescribed me with a course of antibiotics and told me I either had a torsion in my testicle or epididymitis (an infection within the epididymis, which is the tube running from the testicle to the vas deferens). 10 days later and the pain had all but disappeared. Occasional aches in the same area, burning after urination and/or ejaculation proceeded infrequently but nothing as acute or unnerving as on that Monday morning. Thank goodness!
Fast forward 5 years and I find myself in an Epsom hospital bed with a testicle the size of a grapefruit, heavily sedated on morphine and feeling very, very miserable. So, lets fill in some blanks – Still in my 20’s, still full of beans and still very much enjoying life. The fact was I was enjoying myself far too much reader. What I hadn’t said before was that I had a penchant for burning candles at either end and sometimes in the middle too! My initial brush with epididymitis had come off the back of a long weekend clubbing and partying. This time was no exception, surprise, surprise! Staring on Friday night the weekend finished sometime on Sunday lunchtime. My flatmate was away and I remember having to call my sister to buy me any form of pain medication for the agonising, testicle crushing sensation that was going on in my groin. The shop was a 2 minute walk away but I was really afraid with what was going on in my testicle, really very afraid. I didn’t want to move (this was probably not helped by my mental state from the last 40+ hours). For someone who never takes any form of pain relief I knew this was bad. My flatmate returned Monday morning and thankfully drove me to the hospital where I was examined, told I had nothing but a torsion in my testicle and packed off with some pain relief that may well have been water for the relief it gave me. 24 hours later I was back in A&E with a grapefruit sized testicle and a very concerned looking Dr. This time I had very acute epididymitis (see notes on epididymitis above) and orchitis (an infection in my testicle). GULP!
3 days later, with a testicle the size of small satsuma I was allowed home. The infection did eventually subside, but I had lost a testicle! Not quite the weekend I had planned… The infection had eaten through the very delicate membranes of the testicle and left nothing but a small ball of excruciating scar tissue. I moved back in with my parents and got my life back on track again. I was left with an intermittent ache in my groin, radiating down towards my testicle (no longer plural), random pain in the urethra post ejaculation and sometimes after peeing too. Even now, 12 years on from my fruity testicle I get occasional pain in and around the groin. Last summer, before coming down with Shingles (something I would not suggest you try), I had that wonderful sensation of burning on urination return for a whole week again! And last weekend I had that heavy, dragging, dull ache in my prostate/urethra area for most of the night after ejaculating.
2006 was a massive turning point in my life. I had never been to the Harley Street district of London before. Despite my story above I have never had any major health concerns. Yes I have broken a few bones (also from being a bit wild in my 20’s), but I don’t get sick. I don’t get colds, or infections, I don’t take pain relief, or antibiotics (apart from above). I run, I cycle, I swim, I practice yoga and meditation. I am very mindful of my diet (my wife is a Nutritionist!), but yes I do enjoy a drink (you probably gathered that). The team at The Prostate Centre were and still are amazing. Professor Roger Kirby (one of the world’s leading authorities on Prostate Cancer and the man who helped revolutionise Prostate Cancer treatments by introducing the Da Vinci robot and laparoscopic surgery to the UK) heads up a truly impressive team of very experienced nurses, urologists, anaesthetists, radiologists and support staff. I would not be where I am now if it wasn’t for the Prostate Centre, their guidance, support and trust.
I joined the team as a sports massage therapist in the Autumn of 2006. My role was to help support pre and post op patients on lifestyle advice including exercise, relaxation, and diet as well as treating the staff and specialist team. I had actually qualified as a sports massage therapist in 2001, right when my story began. I knew only too well that my lifestyle back then was not conducive to my trade. What can I say, I was having too much fun! I was young and dumb and thought I knew best… The Prostate Centre shifted my healthcare focus to male health matters and in particular the prostate. Having suffered with pelvic pain since my first bout of epididymitis I wanted to learn more about the condition known as ‘Prostatitis’ or Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS).
My journey towards becoming the therapist I am today started in Belize and Mexico in 2009 where I learnt a very traditional form of abdominal and pelvis massage called ATMAT (The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy), specifically for female and male pelvic health. I returned to the UK and embarked on a very in depth education path that still continues to this very day, focusing on all matters related to men’s pelvic pain. I have since lectured in Mexico on the benefits of ATMAT in treating chronic pelvic pain. I set up the UK’s first CPPS and Prostatitis support groups. I have only last week had conversations with Amy Stein (author of “Heal Pelvic Pain) about running a male pelvic pain seminar here in the UK in 2016. And I am now very excited to bring you “The Pelvic Pain Clinic” specialising in the treatment of CPPS and Non-Bacterial Prostatitis right in the heart of London. If it wasn’t for Professor Roger Kirby and the amazing team at The Prostate Centre I would not be where I am now. Thank you for changing my life for the better.