I certainly concur that the impact of ADT (androgen deprivation therapy) treatments [Doug was on Suprafact for three years and had 37 radiation treatments] for PCa is often more distressing for partners of PCa survivors than the survivor himself.
It makes ultimate sense that when a guy loses all his testosterone and thus his libido, so goes the interest in sexual matters. I do know that I was the one that insisted that we go for counseling. The fact that it was available for free at the cancer clinic and we were not informed of it is beyond our understanding. We found out about it through the hospital newspaper.
Doug and I have worked very hard over the last 4 years to address our sexual issues. I am a healthy 65 yr. old female who has an equally healthy libido. I am committed to the fact that the Bible blesses the sexual union as one flesh in marriage and that fighting to retain all that was good and attainable in our intimate relationship is worth the effort. My motto has become "Not either/or BUT both/and." This is my response to those who say that only the health of the PCa survivor is important and a focus on intimacy is unimportant. My grief has been very deep and at times continues to be profound over the loss of Doug's sexual interest in me. At the same time I want to stress that PCa has brought a sweetness into our relationship that neither of us would trade for anything.
We are very open about our struggles and what we have found that works for us. We hope that we may help others who are trying to cope with these challenges.
Doug injects tri-mix to get an erection. When an Inject-ease is used the injection is virtually painless.
With my whole heart I wish we had had the opportunity to explore new ways of being intimate before we had to deal with the reality. Now it is very hard to get Doug interested in anything other than what was familiar. As I have mentioned to others; when sex is not on the radar screen then you don't spend much time working out new ways of interacting. Please don't misunderstand me. My husband is a wonderful man. He is God's greatest blessing in my life. He is able to satisfy me totally and does so with great commitment to my well-being.
A key to my present contentment with the way our intimate relationship has evolved was a powerful tool the wife of a PCa survivor gave me. She suggested to me that taking on the role of initiator might work well for me, given Doug's lack of libido. Sex is just not on his radar screen from day to day. Her husband had suggested this to Doug—role reversal—in a conversation last winter. I tried to take it on, but felt some anger at having to take all the initiative. This was hardly rational as I was already doing that. Perhaps it was because it was a suggestion that came from Doug to me from another guy. It was not until I communicated with his wife and she explained the benefits that I was able to really embrace the concept wholeheartedly.
It has transformed my attitude and freed us up to have a great deal of fun in our intimacy. I no longer expect Doug to contribute what he cannot. In fact, fun is what describes our times together more than any other word. I have discovered wonderful inexpensive ways to enhance our times together. I set the scene with music which has become OUR music. Strewing fake dollar store rose petals around the room, spraying the pillows with scent, anything that adds some hilarity to our times gives us both something to look forward to. This has given my imagination free reign to surprise Doug.
So, this is our journey thus far. We are grateful for the gains to our relationship that would not have been ours apart from a life-threatening situation. We value everything about each other more.
On Thursday last we saw Doug's urologist. I asked him if he thought that it might be helpful to try Levitra, as Doug's testosterone is rising, though he still has no libido. He said that is up to us. END of discussion. Can you feel my frustration? If the docs who are supposed to be caring for our guys have so little advice to give us in this area and are embarrassed about discussing it, what hope is there that men with PCa dealing with chemical castration issues will be open about it? I do not understand why these issues are not discussed at urological conferences. Maybe they need a few of us women there to tell them what the challenges are! How do we get on the agenda?
Always consult a medical professional.