Tony is one of those people who seem superhuman. In his early 30s, he’s lean and athletic. When he isn’t chasing after one of his three young children or helping to run a successful family business, you can find him surfing, hunting, snowboarding, golfing, swimming, or playing basketball.
It’s hard to believe that at one time, this guy who has such a passion for living was all but convinced that his life was over. But there was a time, not all that long ago, when he was sure that he’d never participate in another sport that he loved, let alone be able to work or even have relations with his wife.
It was on an unseasonably warm afternoon in February back in 2003 when Tony’s full and happy life took an unexpected detour. On that day, as usual, he was in active mode, attempting to pull off the perfect handstand when all of a sudden, he felt a sharp pinching pain in his lower abs.
Three doctors later, he was diagnosed with an “abdominal strain” and prescribed core-strengthening exercises. The exercises made his pain worse, and in a matter of weeks his symptoms exploded. The sharp pain in his abs snowballed into pain with sitting, constant perineum and groin pain, and a burning pain at the tip of his penis.
Unable to find any answers from the doctors he visited, he turned to the Internet. That’s when the fear and panic set in. After spending hours online, he discovered that his symptoms were a match with a disorder called “pudendal nerve entrapment”or “PNE.”
After reading a litany of stories about PNE, he was convinced that he needed surgery as soon as possible to free his entrapped pudendal nerve. Otherwise, according to the information he was uncovering, his symptoms would continue to worsen. He even contacted one of the doctors mentioned in the online forums who performed the surgery. The doctor encouraged him to fly out and schedule the surgery with him right away.
“I was terrified,” he recalls, “I was reading all of these horror stories, and I believed that if I didn’t get surgery as soon as possible, I would end up impotent and incontinent. Even with surgery I was afraid of what my life was going to become.”
However, before he signed up for surgery, he decided to see one more doctor in San Francisco.
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