By Peter and Melinda Fontaine, DPT, PHRC Walnut Creek
Pelvic Physical Therapy (PPT) has been a wonderfully life changing experience for me following prostate cancer treatment. It has been a nearly three year journey, and I cannot speak highly enough of the benefits of my kind, caring, and immensely skilled PPT therapist. What are these benefits? In short, marked improvement of symptoms and the resulting negative feelings.
My prostate cancer adventure began with a combination of shock, anger, disbelief, sadness, fear, despair, isolation, and eventual acceptance and resolve upon hearing that “there seems to be some cancer” after my prostate biopsy.
My wife and I were able to decide quickly that surgery was a better option for me than radiation and we sought out the best and most experienced surgeon available.
The surgeon politely and honestly informed us in a pre-operative appointment that I would be both incontinent of urine and impotent after surgery. Insert more shock, disbelief, and acceptance mixed with a dash of humor when I told him “just cut it off if it’ll be no good to me any more”. He assured me that through a combination of Kegel exercises and erectile rehabilitation both of these problems could be improved over time. What he did not tell me was that PPT could be very useful post-operatively. Unfortunately, PPT wasn’t and still isn’t part of the normal course of treatment to offer PPT to men undergoing prostate cancer treatment.
It wasn’t until after surgery in early 2019 (which went very well and some time off work doing Kegel exercises and beginning the erectile rehab) that I returned to work and learned form a urologist I worked with about the existence and benefits of PPT. I immediately got a referral to the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center and started PPT treatment with Melinda Fontaine, PT, DPT.
My feelings of despair, sadness, fear, and loneliness regarding incontinence and impotence were quickly changed and I learned that there is much much more to PPT than “just doing Kegels.” Melinda gave me hope, optimism, reassurance, and the belief and knowledge that things certainly could improve with a PPT program. Melinda made a very thorough examination and assessment of my situation and formulated a plan of office visit sessions and personalized at home DIY exercises to help me. All this in a very safe and supportive environment.
I set to work on the exercises and kept up with the in office treatments. I noticed significant improvement in my symptoms over the next few months and graduated from using bulky diaper type devices to much smaller pads to catch what ended up being very minimal urinary leakage. This minimal leakage is referred to as stress incontinence which happens with an increase in intra-abdominal pressure with simple actions such as standing from sitting, coughing, sneezing, and lifting. Melinda taught me that it is very easy to do a pelvic floor contraction (the knack) before any of these actions and it has become almost second nature to me by now.
Fast forward 16 months to a rising PSA leading to a challenging seven week course of radiation treatment for residual prostate cancer. Following this successful treatment, I had significant testicular and groin pain. The radiation oncologist and urologist assured me that this was unlikely to be related to the radiation treatment. Ok, but what to do? I had a very good idea of how best to deal with the pain…yes! More excellent PPT treatment with Melinda Fontaine! Once again her diagnostic and treatment skills were top notch and I am virtually pain free now.
Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England? We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!
Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.
In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page.
Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page.
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