Sunday, October 26, 2014

Coping With Erectile Dysfunction

According to a survey on my website 46% of the more than three hundred men who participated identified erectile dysfunction as the worst life change following surgery. Erectile Dysfunction following double nerve sparing surgery can be temporary or permanent. It extremely important that men get involved with a penile rehab program shortly after their catheter is removed.

This video by Doctor Mulhall provides important information for every man who wants to take the necessary steps in order to preserve erectile functioning following surgery. After listening to Doctor Mulhall describe the consequences of developing a venous leak (impotence) I feared venous leak as much as I did prostate cancer. I made a vow to do everything in power to prevent a venous leak.

I wasn't too happy to learn that penile injections were necessary for men who were not responding to ED medications. Determined to preserve erectile functioning I learned how to perform these injections. They were effective in helping me achieve a usable erection and my wife and I were able to resume our sexual relationship. After three months injections stopped working.

From there I tried a variety of medications at differing doses hoping I'd recover some erectile functioning. We had some success, but many more failures. My confidence in my abilities plummeted to zero. Rather than suffer the humiliation of  my inability to obtain an erection,  I began to avoid all physical contact with my wife. I carefully avoided kissing, holding hands, and using touch to expression affection. I didn't want anything to remind me that I was impotent. Since my sex drive commonly referred to as libido dropped to zero, it took no effort  to avoid all expressions of physical affection and all forms of sex. I sunk into a deep and dark depression.

Men who are depressed can become very irritable or angry. There can be a significant increase in fighting and marital tension. Men often self medicate their pain with drugs, alcohol or pornography.
My "drug of choice" was food. I watched TV for hours as a way of distracting myself from the pain, shame, and humiliation I felt as a result of ED.

It took more than a year for me to grieve my losses Once I began to do that I was ready, willing and able to find new ways my wife and I could satisfy each other without my having an erection. We were quite successful and we both enjoyed our sexuality.

Three years post surgery I found myself thinking about the possibility of a penile implant. I have a consultation with a surgeon in November. While I'm waiting for that appointment I'm reading  about and talking to men who've  had the procedure. From the comments I've received and the scientific literature I've reviewed, of all the different ways to treat ED, there is the most satisfaction among men who've chosen implants to treat ED.

In the next few blogs I'll be sharing what I've learned and what I decide with regard to going through with this surgery. I believe it's time to take back what cancer and surgery have taken away.