Maria, my laymen's definition is a range in symptom: From total lack of urinary control to an occasional small drip that seems to happen on its own.
Post surgery and catheter removal, most man have little bladder control. Depending on the type and severity of the surgery, two of the three ways men control their bladder release have been removed. The least used and weakest control mechanisms is the rectum, which, post-surgery, takes over as the only control. It has to build up strength and you have to train your body to this function.
After you regain some control, it happens that you drip or have a small release of urine when you stand up, move quickly, sneeze or "break wind" to say it politely. Over time, it gets better as your body heals and adjusts. I just posted being dry for 2-3 days in a row, this morning, I've had a drip or two. So over time I expect to be rid of the pads.
Finally, I think it is harder on us men to admit that we can't control this part of our body, that we have to let the healing take place and it takes time! IMHO, being a little incontinent is a whole lot better than not knwoing about the cancer and the resultant illness.
My best to you and your husband, we will be praying for you for success in the surgery.
PSA: 4.1 (first test) 4.2 (second test)
Gleason: 6, cancer found in both sections of prostate
Surgery: Open RP on 5/1/07
Pathology: All contined with the gland, no spread
Catheter out: 5/15/07
Incontinence: at 10 weeks to one pad per day
ED: slowly getting better
First Post-Surgery PSA: 8/6/07 Results <.01 !!
Spread the word to men you know or meet: See your doctor. Have a PSA test early.