It’s a fair measure of success if a memoir about a dry, inelegant medical problem such as prostate disease can touch a reader directly. By that yardstick, author Tony Bianco hits it out of the park with Prostate Problems, a book about his battle with BPH, or benign prostate hyperplasia.
Told in short chapters, the book reveals with frank language how Bianco began to have trouble urinating in his late 40s, was finally diagnosed with BPH and then struggled to find a regimen of medications to keep the condition in check before finally having a transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, to solve the problem.
Prospective readers would be forgiven for assuming this would not be interesting or funny, but Bianco is a fine writer with an ear for wordplay. Even when he’s not setting up intentional jokes, he has the rhythm of a comic. Upon learning that the drug he’s about to try is an “alpha blocker,” he notes: “I don’t like the sound of this. How are blockers going to unblock me?”
The account of his operation and a brief flash of anger at his doctor for not disclosing more information up front, as well as humor at his own expense about a painful and humiliating condition, give readers a rooting interest in Bianco’s recovery. What most stands out, though, is the realization that a condition thought of as minor (by anyone who doesn’t have it, anyway) can be so all-consuming.
Prostate Problems will provide vital aid and comfort (and hard-earned laughs) to anyone dealing with BPH, but it will also help friends and family better understand and sympathize with a largely undiscussed condition. Bianco put himself out there – way out there – and the risk pays off nicely in this highly readable account.
Also available as an ebook.