I was “Harold” eight years ago…except that I never thought I was at the end of the road.
I am like the story of the two twins taken to a counseling center. They were separated from each other and were taken to separate rooms, each with a 2-foot layer of horse manure. The first twin came running out of his room screaming about the terrible odor and dirtiness in that room. After 20 minutes the counselor opened the door to the second room. This twin had a smile on his face and said, “Come on in here and help me. With this much horse manure there’s got to be a wonderful pony in here somewhere.”
Although like the second twin looking for the horse, Harold’s painful statements and questions were like echoes of my statements about me and about my wife eight years ago. Yes, my questions were my wife’s questions as well.
Sexual intimacy with my wife had always been frequent and wonderful. Something that we enjoyed so much. It was a point of connecting with her inner being, that being one with her, and seeing her pleasure in our intimacy, knowing that I was the provider, the source of having such pleasure. And that I was so loved. It held similar meanings for her.
Until, that is, I started having difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection. I was beginning to have performance anxiety every time we became physically intimate with one another. My mind was filled with worry that I could not provide her pleasure.
At one point she even asked if I was having an affair and so fulfilled outside our relationship that there was nothing left between us. That really hurt. Something beyond my control was causing her to doubt my love, devotion and passion for her.
Because of this and having to get up to go to the bathroom during the night, I had myself checked by a Urologist. It was discovered that these were symptoms due to an enlarged prostate which we would later discover was malignant prostate cancer.
The shock that accompanied my diagnosis of malignant prostate cancer was a free fall off of a bridge without a budgie cord. It wasn’t like this was a volunteered leap of faith; I had been shoved off that bridge!
With facing the fear of death came questions of how this would affect my sexual relationship with my wife. That was more painful than the fears of death because I wanted sex with my wife to be as it had always been – frequent and wonderful. With prostate cancer and the recommended treatments, I was not sure if that would still be the case. I found myself saying what I had heard many of my clients say: “What is life without sex?”
The side effects of prostate cancer can be devastating to both the man and his wife. I certainly knew this from my sexuality training. Also, from the many cases of men and their significant other/s I had been successful with over the years in realizing fabulous sex, more intimacy and relationship fulfillment after prostate cancer treatment.
And, as two Urologists from Washington State University Hospital, Paul H. Lange, M.D., F.A.C.S Paul F. Schellhammer, M.D., F.A.C.S “VIEWS FROM THE “OTHER SIDE”: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER FROM TWO UROLOGICAL ONCOLOGISTS” wrote, no matter how trained or experienced in this field, going through this process is an awakening experience.
For the record, my first treatment for prostate cancer was October, 2006 and the second in April, 2010. Following my diagnosis, I was reluctant to enter into any kind of recommended treatment because of the potential outcomes of incontinence and erectile dysfunction. One year later of vigilant watch and wait, alternative treatments, diets, and extensive research, PSA tests showed a spike. The two Alternative Medicine doctors taking care of me agreed that, although we were making progress, the cancer was advancing faster than we were.
My wife could hardly wait to find out if we could again have sex. We were able to have intercourse with the assistance of Viagra and Cialis. Our sexual relationship resumed and returned to almost the same as before prostate cancer. However, the desire to go back to what was once before provided another obstacle: we were so focused on “my” performance, mostly concentrated on my erections and climaxes. This affected our sexual relationship in another way.
My journey towards healing had only started. I look forward to having you around as I continue to share my and my wife’s experience in this challenging path.
Welcome to the chronicles of individuals and couples, yes, me as well, who journeyed through the ravages of surviving from and moving to thriving after prostate cancer treatment.
I am glad you came. I invite you to learn from cases that I have encountered as well as what I have gone through. As we process through the experiences of prostate cancer affecting sexual, intimacy, relationships and life itself, let us learn together.
My desire is that you will learn for yourself from how I and survivors I have come to know have traveled and learned from having a better life after prostate cancer treatment. So that you and your loved ones can also achieve transformation awakening resulting in fabulous sex, more intimacy and relationship fulfillment.
Your reactions, associations, comments, and input are critical to my being able to best serve you with my expertise.
Join the conversation and become a member of our private learning/sharing community here.