Saturday, 11 June 2011

Sex

I’m writing this because it’s the hardest thing to talk about and I have spent almost a year ignoring it on my blog, however now it is time to speak out. Sex and diabetes are not comfortable bed fellows when your diabetes is not under control. This problem has reared its ugly head again for me and it is having an impact on my relationship. The embarrassment I feel talking about this now is second only to the fact that I said I would be honest in this blog and so far I haven’t been.

I was in a relationship when I was first diagnosed with diabetes and it was one of the reasons I ended that relationship. Not the main reason I might add, but one of them. Another reason was that I was finding it difficult to maintain an erection and I ran away from addressing the problem as fast as my legs would carry me. It was more comfortable not to have to face the issue than to have a partner.

Even though it (I can’t even bring myself to say erectile dysfunction – ‘it’ will have to do) was recognised as a common symptom in the DESMOND diabetes training day my doctor got me booked on, I still did not think it applied to me. You see, I’m a man who likes football and the pub and big machines and Top Gear and I have no idea at all about how to deal with that sort of thing.

I assumed the problem would go away and I started dating and met a wonderful woman. But the problem hadn’t gone away. I could see a pattern about to repeat itself and didn’t Einstein say, madness is repeating the same thing over again and expecting the result to change? Well my partner, who I’m still with, doesn’t work like that. She meets things head on and metaphorically led me by the nose into the doctor’s surgery to talk about it.

Sitting on that cold plastic chair, one on one with the doctor is often an intimidating position. I can’t remember my exact words but they were as round-about as I could make them. He was very matter of fact and even light hearted about it and the tension disappeared, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t sorted this out sooner. He ran through the options for me and we decided on Cialis. Cialis is a little pill you take once a day that builds up in your system and ‘it’ disappears.

Everything was going great, but if you’ve read my latest blog posts you’ll know my blood sugar levels have been high, up to 21 on occasion. I have been suffering from the old symptoms and one of them is a lack of drive and physical lethargy. This has impacted on my desire for sex. I can’t believe I’m typing this or that I’ll then post it. Push on through.

Since that desire has dropped off it has impacted not just on my self-esteem but on my relationship and on my partner. I like to solve problems, I’m a problem solving kind of guy but once again I could recognise a problem and didn’t deal with it. I find sex a difficult subject to talk about openly. This is extremely difficult, but if I’m honest I hope this blog will resonate with others who might not be as intractable as I am about the whole thing and do something about it.

What I didn’t realise was that my sudden-ish lack of drive made my partner feel as if she was no longer desirable, a completely unintended and until just recently, unacknowledged symptom. Now I’m typing this I can’t believe I didn’t spot it. Diabetes has for the last year (my anniversary is May 14th) been, apart from this blog, a pretty solitary disease – but guess what, it isn’t. It affects those closest to you as well. So instead of communicating more fully about what I was feeling and why, I ignored it and it got worse. Once again it was this incredible woman who tackled it head on.

I’m going back to the doctors to talk about this with my partner even though I still feel uncomfortable. More than anything I want her to be reassured it’s just a medical thing and closely following that I want to get back to being a happy and football loving guy – if you know what I mean!? I’m doing it again. What I’m trying to say is that I realise diabetes isn’t something that only affects me and although I’m fine to feel uncomfortable talking about sex in this way it’s not fine to let it ruin your relationship when a trip to the doctors could quickly and easily knock it on the head.

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