“What I’ve learnt from my experience is the benefit of getting to a specialist.” Martin Fell describes GreenLight laser surgery for an enlarged prostate.

“I know exactly when it started because we were at a wedding: on April 14, 2018. As is always the case during a wedding, I was eating and drinking more than usual and ended up going back and forth to the toilet frequently. By the end of the evening, I reached the stage where I was at the toilet, but nothing was coming out.

I went to my GP the next day. He examined me and said my prostate felt normal, but my bladder needed to be drained by a district nurse. The day after that, things were no better, so I had to go to my local A&E where I had a catheter fitted.

Two weeks later, I returned to the hospital to have a trial without catheter (TWOC) but I wasn’t able to pass urine normally. I was told to come back and try again in a further two weeks’ time, although there was no assessment of the root cause of the problem.

It was a chance conversation I had with a friend which completely changed the course of action for me. My friend, who is an osteopath, said: ‘This is no good. You can’t just keep going back and forth to the TWOK clinic and wearing a catheter on a long-term basis.’

He knew someone at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and asked for advice. The advice was: see a urologist and the best person to see is Mr Doherty.

I called the Birmingham Prostate Clinic; my call was on a Friday and I was offered an appointment on the next working day, on Monday. When Mr Doherty examined my prostate (by physical examination and ultrasound) he found it was very large, so much so, that my urinary flow was restricted and led to retention.

I was relieved to have a diagnosis and Mr Doherty put my mind at ease by explaining the GreenLight laser procedure with a trim TURP, which would reduce the size of my prostate to create space for a normal flow.

I had my operation on May 30. I had a good night’s sleep in hospital and once I woke the next morning, I felt the urge to go to the toilet. At first, I couldn’t pass urine and felt anxious that it hadn’t worked, and the problem had persisted.

By about 11am, it started to work and soon, my flow was getting stronger. I felt no pain or discomfort at all: I was amazed to wake up with no scarring and not even the slightest bit of discomfort.

Within a day of surgery, I was peeing just like I did when I was much younger and I never looked back. After another couple of days passed, I’d almost forgotten that I’d had an operation.

With the benefit of hindsight, I’d say I had known something was wrong, that my flow was getting weaker and I was getting up more at night. But like a lot of men, I’d put it at the back of my mind and worked around it.

What I’ve learnt from my experience is the benefit of getting to a specialist. My GP incorrectly told me my prostate was normal and the TWOC clinic was just a ‘hit and hope’ approach. I am so grateful to my friend the osteopath; if we had not met and talked about it, I don’t know where I would have been. I have since learnt that wearing a catheter for a long period of time causes the bladder to stop working properly.

What I also know now is that the GreenLight laser with trim TURP is a great operation which worked immediately for me, without causing any pain or discomfort.

From the first time I called the Birmingham Prostate Clinic right through to assessment, treatment and follow-up care, I found the whole team and approach absolutely fantastic.”