I’ve decided to share my story here with the hope it may help others. I don’t believe anything about my experience is exceptionally unique, or that I have any special advice to offer, but I personally have found it therapeutic just reading others stories and being able to relate to them so here it is….
August 2016 - Original vasectomy with Dr. Patrick Frey. Right side was performed first and was uneventful. Left side seemed to be more challenging. It took significantly longer, it seemed as though he was having to dig or make multiple attempts to grab the vas but this is just a guess. I don’t know if he originally had it and it fell back through, maybe I tensed up too much, not really sure but it was a very different experience and I felt a fair amount pressure/pain that I did not feel on the right side. I have subsequently come to believe this additional trauma ultimately led to a higher than usual amount of scar tissue.
September 2016 - January 2019. Pain on left side was 0-2/10. No pain in right side whatsoever. No issue with sexual functions/pain. It was always fine in the mornings but the more active I was the more discomfort. I believe we tried antibiotics and/or steroids in the early months but that did not do much so I just lived with it, and for the most part, it did not have a major impact on my quality of life for ~2.5 years.
February 2019. Everything changed. My pain became a constant 4-5/10. Trigger unknown but I have now come to believe it was the onset of congestion.
March 2019 - May 2019.
- Ultrasound - noted small bilateral hydroceles and varicoceles but otherwise unremarkable
- Many types of different underwear
- Anti-inflammatory dieting
June 2019. Spermatic Cord Block with Dr. Parekattil at Pur Clinic. I had viewed this as a diagnostic test to help isolate the source of pain. I did not experience meaningful relief (even temporary) which led me to believe my pain was less likely to be nerve related. In any case, the results (or lack thereof) made me feel it may be congestion so I started taking papaya seed powder. Interestingly, he did comment that my varicocele was Grade 3 - which nobody else had noted so still not sure what to think about that….things were pretty flared up at the time which could have been misleading.
July 2019. More tests:
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test: <0.40 mg/dL (normal)
- TESTOSTERONE, TOTAL = 315.0 ng/dL
- FREE TESTO, CALC = 68.9 pg/mL
- BIOAVAIL TESTO, CALC = 175.8 ng/dL
September 2019. 3-day Intensive with Dr. Susie Gronski in North Carolina. By this point I was pretty set on a reversal. My goal of the sessions was to be better equipped to manage my pain both pre & post surgery as well as get my body (specifically pelvic floor) in the best condition possible. She really exceeded my expectations - addressing not just physical but emotional and mental aspects of this condition as well. I went in not being comfortable walking more than a half mile around our neighborhood, and by the second day, I had the confidence to go on a 3-mile hike in the mountains with no significant pain. I’m sure you can learn much of this from her and others books - I just prefer the hands-on one-on-one personalized experience.
As you can see, a fair amount of conservative treatments, and by this point I was regularly at 1-2/10 not getting much higher than 3-4 in the rare flare-ups which I was now equipped to get under control quickly. I cannot pinpoint exactly which treatment(s) helped the most but collectively I was in a pretty good spot relatively speaking. It may sound a bit odd that I still chose to proceed with surgery when I was feeling the best I had felt in 8 months, but at the end of the day, I wanted more and went with my gut. I was also at the 3-year mark which factored into my decision.
October 2019. One-sided reversal (vas-to-vas) with Dr. Marks at ICVR.
- No sperm granuloma noted
- Noted dense, vascular peri-vasal scarring tissue which he said was more than he normally sees. He removed what he could and injected steroids directly to remaining tissue.
- Noted definite tubule fullness. He said there was tremendous backpressure, it came “pouring out”, he did compression and there was significant fluid.
- He did not feel the varicoceles were prominent or likely to be causing issues.
- I am happy to share more details about procedure if anyone is interested.
Leading up to surgery, I had come to believe I suffered from two different sources of pain - one from original surgery (scar tissue) which flared up with activity and a second constant pain (congestion) which was relatively recent. His comments seemed to confirm both so I am cautiously optimistic and hopeful.
I am only one week post-reversal so it is too early to tell of course - just trying to follow doctor’s orders and stay positive.
All questions, comments, tips welcomed!