'Life with no penis - and my journey to making a new dick from my arm' 4 months ago

'Life with no penis - and my journey to making a new dick from my arm'

Richard Stamp was 'scared shitless' when he got penile cancer - so he wrote a solo theatre show called Dick as a form of therapy. This is his story

"They said they were gonna have to remove my penis. You know that bit in Jaws where they suddenly realise about the shark? It was like that - I was in shock, this is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me. I was totally devastated.

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"The doctor said ‘You’re going to have to forget about being a man. You won’t be able to have sex again.’ This is actually what he was saying to me. I can't take it in, it’s just melting my brain.

"I went back to see the consultant in England who said, ‘Come in next week and we’ll chop your cock off.’ By the time I arrived in London I was in a real state. The lump started the size of a pea and by then it was the size of a chipolata so it had really grown.

"Meanwhile, I’m getting really involved in drinking...

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"This whole saga started one morning when I woke up and thought ‘ouch.’

Richard in hospital during one of his operations (Photo: Dave Pickens)

"I found a pea-sized lump on the base of my cock. I went down to the pharmacy and got myself some canesten, the WD40 of the genital area, rubbed that on, and thought, ‘I should be alright.’

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"The receptionist said to me, ‘You're here to see Doctor Cocks.’ It was ridiculous - You wouldn’t believe it if someone told you"

"For about a week it hurt on and off so I decided to get down to the coast, I thought salt water would do me good. It didn't help and canesten didn’t seem to be working, so I did what most guys do - took a two-month course of ‘ignore it.’

"After that, I got an email from a friend in Adelaide who gave me a job working for the Adelaide Fringe, so I thought I'd see a doctor there and get my problems sorted out. This was back in 2017.

"I went to see a GP, and the receptionist said to me, ‘You're here to see Doctor Cocks.’ It was ridiculous - You wouldn’t believe it if someone told you.

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Richard wanted to do more challenging acting work, so he wrote a play about his experiences (Photo: Dave Pickens)

"A specialist told me I’d got penile cancer. It was stage four, and they said they were gonna have to remove my penis.

"I thought, ‘I’m gonna be brave, I'm going to get through this somehow.’ I go to the hospital to discuss things again and everything sounds like a punk band name: the hand sanitisers, dirty skirting boards, germs. These docs told me they could save part of my penis and that I’d be able to have sex again.

"I told the doctor that I was planning to write a show about this, as I’d been thinking about doing something a bit more challenging, so this worked perfectly.

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"I have the major operation and I'm scared shitless. I've never had a major operation and I'm in floods of tears."

"By March 2018 they said a reconstructed penis was possible so that gave me the first chance of hope for after the op.

"Two weeks later I have the major operation and I'm scared shitless. I've never stayed in hospital, never had a major operation and I'm in floods of tears. I got through this really severe operation and I had a partial penectomy.

Richard performing in his one-man theatre show, Dick (Photo: Dave Pickens)

"Then I'm suddenly told the cancer’s gone and they got rid of everything - but then they also show me what’s left of me and it’s not a very pleasant sight. I basically look like an action man with bollocks.

"I come out of the hospital, go home, and I'm in a state, can’t move well. I pissed like a jet, it’s very strange. How do guys deal with this? How do they pee? I ended up with a shewee which girls use for festivals, they’re absolutely useless.

"I’m still getting erections cause the part of the penis you can’t see is inside me"

"I've decided to use my body to make my new penis. They’re making my penis out of my arm but I don’t want a hairy penis, so they're using laser surgery to remove the hair from one arm. They were going to use my ass to replace that part of my arm but now a bit of my stomach will become my arm basically. They’re just going to muck about with my body.

"You have three operations over about eight months. The first one is ten hours long and the next is three hours long and the last one’s an hour with the pump, to make the erection. I’ll be able to ejaculate naturally and it’ll come through the penis. I’m not sure how much sensation there will be - some people say a lot, others say less.

"At the moment, strangely enough, my orgasms last a long time. A woman’s orgasm is 20 seconds, a man's is like nine seconds and I'm more towards 20 at the moment since the operation. I’m still getting erections 'cause the part of the penis you can’t see is inside me. At night a man will have four or five erections, in the day probably about eight. It’s strange but it is enjoyable having longer orgasms.

"Having a reconstructed cock is not just about sticking it in things - it’s actually really useful to be able to pee. I occasionally can wet myself, have problems like that, so I really actually want a penis so I can just piss.

Richard performing his one-man show, Dick - one man in 100,000 (Photo: Richard Stamp)

"I have had sex since the operation. It was a different experience but there’s all sorts of ways to have sex, it’s not just through in and out, in and out. I haven’t had many partners since but I haven't had a bad reaction at all. I’ve got a friend who's a trans woman and she said to me, ‘wow, it looks like a clitoris.’ I said, ‘It doesn’t really does it, and the hairy ball bit?’ We laughed.

"There are still days - I had a moment earlier - where I go, ‘I can’t believe what’s happened to me. This is utterly crazy.’

"But you just have to keep going. I couldn’t walk, I couldn't wear jeans due to the pain, it took me three months after the operation, but now I'm wearing jeans. It’s going to take another few years after the operation for me to be feeling top again. I imagine the op will be in August or September but I’ve got to align things with my life basically, maybe with touring again.

"Doing my show is a healing thing, it is therapy. To be able to laugh, it’s comedy and tragedy - the two masks are well and truly in this show. I feel it’s an informative show, but it’s also a tragic show. It’s got hope in it, it’s about awareness. My surgeon will be there on the night and we’ll have a lot of displays of male cancer stuff and afterwards people can talk to the surgeon and the Macmillan nurse. It’s definitely not oh poor me! It’s not a moaning show. It can be viewed as entertainment, on a level.

"If you get any sign that something is wrong with your dick, go and see a doctor. Don’t be a fool like I was because you don’t want to lose a part of you. And it kills - that’s the other thing about this. If I’d left this I would have been dead by August. Finished, completely.

"I suffered from complete and utter bewilderment and a strange perverse sort of comedy but I know guys who’ve had it very very difficult with depression. They can’t talk to people about it, fortunately, because I'm a performer I'm able to talk about it - it’s better out than in."

Dick - One Man in 100,000 is on for one night at Rich Mix in London this Saturday at 8pm, as part of the Certain Blacks presents Shipbuilding festival. Get tickets here. Richard speaks at health conferences for male cancer charity Orchid, which offers advice and support to men who are experiencing, or fear they may be experiencing, penile cancer

As told to Adam Bloodworth