I was born in 1940 with epispadias. At that time, repair surgery was postponed till a boy’s penis grew big enough to work on. That delay was medically necessary at the time but could be emotionally draining for the boy. So though I had some preliminary surgery when I was six, the major repair had to wait till my penis grew enough, till I became thirteen. I wanted and needed that surgery more than anything else, because I wanted a penis that looked like my dad’s and my friends’. From birth my penis looked as though it was slit along the upper side from its tip to about three quarters down its shaft. If I would pee standing, I would squirt around and never hit what I aimed at. I did not want other boys to see my penis. I was shy. I hid. I felt I was a mistake. When I masturbated, I always did it alone. So the repair operation was my big hope. The doctor used my foreskin to repair the slit and the result was so beautiful I could have jumped for joy. But then infection set in and much of the grafted skin died and had to be cut away, extending my hospital stay to about thirty-five days. They were days of indescribable terror for me. More and more skin died and had to be cut away piece by piece. As a boy of thirteen entering manhood, I dreaded the frequent trimmings of dead skin. I dreaded even more that the infection would get out of control and lead to the amputation of my treasured penis, forcing me to face adolescence and manhood without it. But antibiotics beat the infection and permitted a second operation to graft the surviving pieces of skin back on again. That operation was a success, and I remember the doctor calling in many of the hospital staff to see the final results. I was happy and proud of it. I finally had an effectively functioning penis, allowing me to hit what I aimed at, but it was scarred. I knew it would never look as beautiful as it was before the infection. But it worked. I could pee standing without showering the boy next to me. When I masturbated, the semen came out just where it should. As time went on, my penis grew enough to attain an erection of nearly four inches in length, five and a half inches in circumference at its base and about four and a half inches in circumference just below its head. My erection is nice and hard, though it is a little softer on its right side.
My penis will always be scarred. For years I thought that was totally bad, but I later discovered an advantage even to the scars. The people who actually matter to you, your really good friends, whether guys or girls, think a scarred penis is interesting, a sign you’ve “been around the block. ” I will always have emotional scars. I decided over those following years to confront them by living out a motto that later became a well-known saying–“it is never too late to have a happy childhood.” At summer camp I joined other boys as we exposed ourselves to each other. And I would go to the socially acceptable edge of bodily openness in group showers, baths and nude swims.
Today I function well and am happy, though I do have an unfulfilled ambition. I want to do something to help other kids with penis problems, especially abandoned kids, especially in poor countries. I know of organizations that bring healing world-wide to boys and girls with facial birth defects, and they are not shy about their projects, for the face is not a taboo. They send fund raising appeals with before and after photos, openly talk about the kids’ physical and emotional problems, and report case histories. Why can’t there be similar openness with helping kids with penis problems? I hope HEA can bring healing to kids’ penises as these other organizations bring healing to kids’ faces. That is one reason I became a member.