Responses to "Mainly for single or unattached men with PCa"
On October 8, 2002, I posted a message with the above subject line to a variety of PCa mailing lists.
The response was staggering. There were over 200 replies to the lists and to me privately.
Besides the congratulations to me and Caren, many commented on the issue of sex, love and intimacy in PCa relationships. I decided to preserve some of them so others can see how other couples approach this issue.
It took me a long time in life to come to realize that most obstacles are just in
my mind. Your story will be of great importance to a lot of others. - Dave
Since my RRP, my own marriage has been sexless but filled with love. That's
nearly seven years and we are going strong. The battle is easier to fight with committed allies. - Carl
I'm not single but my story is so similar to yours that it's scary. Sue and I are talking about getting married even though my situation is pretty dire. In my case it certainly speaks to the fact that there are some wonderful, loving women out there, even for us broken down old wrecks. - Bob
Robert, your message "it can be done" is not just relevant to singles, it is important to those of us who have been together for many years (42 here) to know that anything is possible and that we need to express our feelings and not assume that the other person will reject us. - Lucy
Married, single, attached or not, this beast takes it's toll both
physically and mentally on patient and partner alike. In my opinion, part of learning
to live through it is discovering what you have found: that we are all
damaged goods - with or without PCa, and that's OK. Perhaps that
realization helps us recognize our need for relationship, and once found,
helps us give and receive grace within what will always be an imperfect
relationship. Don't know how anyone could live in the shadow of
perfection - beautiful yet untouchable. I'll choose worn-out, patched-up,
yet touchable over that anytime! - Jon
Thanks Robert. That is a great story and one that should be shared with all of us who have had an RRP, hormone therapy, or radiation, or all of the above. As I have had. Very relevant to all. - Russ
I am also a
blessed "PCa damaged goods guy" who found the woman that I wanted to spend
the rest of my life with 3 months prior to being diagnosed with advanced PCa.
I was not given a very good prognosis and could not imagine someone willing
to put up with what I was about to go through without any sort of assurance
that everything would be okay. I was obviously wrong, as my wife (yes we did
get married) and I spent our first year of marriage while I was chemically
castrated. Our honeymoon was over before it got started. My wife was so
supportive during my treatments and unaffected by my lack of libido that it
gave me a real sense of love and appreciation for her and her dedication to
I think that sometimes us guys put too much emphasis on the
sexual aspect of a relationship and our ability to perform. The fact that
most of us men are not natural nurturers we may find it difficult to discern
that the woman in our lives can be content with a loving and nurturing
relationship that does not provide intimate nirvana and the prospect of long
life. I am sure that this truth becomes more prevalent as we get older. That
being said, I am happy to also say that I have been off of ADT for 9 months
now and we have been enjoying a belated honeymoon. As for long life...it was
never up to me to begin with. - Michael
Didn't you know that with the right woman, true love is unconditional? :) - Wendy
Mazeltov to both of you from the PCAI [mailing list] "poster people" who discovered over
three years ago what you are discovering now. There is not just a life but a
fulfilling life after PCa. A man is only as damaged as he lets himself be. - Benji
What a world it would be without the "other sex" nurturing our lives! To most women a relationship is composed of many, many parts. To us guys we erroneously believe sex is the most important sector in a relationship. We just don't get it! - Dan
Well said, Robert.
I think you have hit the nail on the head about how us women feel about our
men that have prostate cancer. I couldn't have said it better myself. My
husband was diagnosed with PC a year ago next month and has been on Lupron
since last January and has had no interest in sex almost from day one, but I
love him and would rather have him this way than not at all.
There is so much more to a
relationship than sex, and women understand that a lot more than men do.
It's nowhere near the priority for women that it is for men. We value the
other good things in a relationship a lot more than sex. (At least I do)
(Just don't forget to let us women know that you love us!) - Pat
What encouraging news. It also reminds those of
us whose wives have been there during our own PCa struggles what the real
meaning of love is. - Ralph (from DC)
In some respects we guys are lucky to be the few that learn there is
more to women and marriage than just sex. I have been married 35 years,
but I was a somewhat typical male, in my interest in sex. While
recovery from surgery was quite successful, my attitude has changed.
Friendship, understanding, sharing provide a lot of rewarding feelings,
and they last longer than a climax. - Don
Yes. Vanished libido and impotence is real. Telling myself I am damaged
goods and second class is not. That message comes from other people -
not from the me inside. Now, after three years on Zoladex, I've got
used to the physical problems and, if anything, I feel better about
myself than before. My married relationship is still a joy. Sex is
only one aspect of life. Like you I have found that helping others is a very rewarding payoff of PCa. - Dave (UK)
You're wrong. This is not for single/unattached men. This is for ALL of us. We men who are married and amazed that our spouse will remain for this fight, acting as coach, nurse, partner and friend. And lover. With this guy with no libido and no sexual prowess. WOW. - Earl
Many women are looking for a relationship and companionship with a man.
They want to be involved with a man for the incredible feeling of being
connected with another human being and sexual activity is often secondary.
Sexual activity is an important part of a relationship, but sometimes that is
not the thing that attracts a woman to a man. - Wendy
It is not only a lesson for single people but a lesson for all of us, one, that, I am sure, we all are learning every post RP day. I, for one, can say that if we had learned earlier in our marriage, all that we have learned (about sex, our sexual relationship and our love, since the RP,) we would have had a better sexual (as well as overall) relationship in all the pre RP years. Who knows he is naive or ignorant before he gains knowledge? - Mike
Been thinking about this note for awhile. To me it illustrates the power of
LOVE both as a noun and as a verb. Love to me represents unconditional
acceptance and what Robert and Caren have demonstrated for us all is a
classic story of this acceptance. Thought I had a partner like Caren, but I
lost her; but I'm gonna keep trying to find a Caren. Thanks for sharing the
story, now I am hopeful once again. - Chris
John and I got married six months after he started his hormone ablation
therapy (we'd postponed the wedding plans once he was diagnosed to
concentrate on treatment) and we've been happily married now for going
on six years! (He is now on a second-line hormone ablation therapy.)
So, our sex life is not the same, but I will take my gentle, caring,
loving, kind John any day. I have never been happier! - Caryn
Compiled by Robert
Selections and names used with the permission of the authors