With a warm and upbeat attitude, Thomas Manning of Halifax, Massachusetts, said he's a lucky guy — thankful for his doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, and thankful to be the first man in the country to get a penis transplant.
The 64-year-old lost his four years ago due to cancer, but he had a donated organ attached in a 15-hour surgery last week at the Boston hospital.
Now Manning wants to use the publicity to help others, especially veterans with traumatic injuries, he told necn.
"I'm hoping that the end result (is) the government will give the hospital and the vets enough money so they can begin getting treated properly, and that trickles to down to the general public," he said.
Over 1,300 male service members have received genitourinary injuries between 2001 and 2013, according to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry, though it's not clear how many lost all or part of the penis.
Prior to the transplant, Manning said he'd have to urinate sitting down or in a bottle. He said he's now taking peeks at his new transplant, and it's surreal.
"It's starting to take shape, let's put it that way. It's starting to become more normal every day — the coloring is coming back, a lot's going to change," Manning said.
The younger man who donated Manning's new organ lives in New England, but hasn't been publicly identified.
Manning says that man's family has reached out to him and he hopes to form a friendship.
"Maybe somewhere down the road we can get together, go to Dunkin' Donuts or someplace and say 'Hi, how are you doing?'"
Manning, despite hemorrhaging after the surgery, said he's feeling almost back to normal.
He'll be able to urinate through the penis in a couple of weeks, and have sexual function after that.
As for what's next?
"In the long haul, I hope to get myself together physically, have the hospital send me out there, be a sponsor, be a representative for this, and let's get this on the road," Manning said.
Manning said his mom, who's in her 80s, and his sisters and brother have been more than supportive.
He said he hopes to get back to sport fishing and his job as a bank courier soon.