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Diabetes almost ruined my marriage

"“When I first realised I was becoming impotent, I ignored what was happening and did absolutely nothing.

“Within a year of noticing the symptoms, my wife Florence and I stopped sleeping together.

“Instead, I threw myself into work as a picture framer. I supposed, like a lot of men, I just ignored the problem in the hope that it would go away. But it didn’t go away and my relationship began to suffer.

“It got to the stage where if Florence even tried to hold my hand I would

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pull away.If she tried to talk about it I would lose my temper and tell her she didn’t know what she was talking about.                        

“We started sleeping in separate beds and eventually I couldn’t bear to go shopping with her. I didn’t want to commit to any sort of affection whatsoever because I just felt so inferior. We were very, very close to splitting up.

“When I eventually plucked up the courage to visit my doctor, the GP’s reaction almost made me wish I hadn’t bothered. He told me that as I had undergone some operations on my back many years ago, I shouldn’t be trying to have sex anyway.

“I know it isn’t the only thing in life, but to be told I was ‘past it’ just made me wonder why I was bothering to carry on at all. I was so angry.”

“I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes ten years’ ago but had never been warned the condition might lead to impotence. In fact, I only discovered the link between the two conditions by chance after visiting a friend who happened to be a counsellor for a sexual dysfunction clinic.

“I overheard her talking on the phone about one of her patients who was diabetic and it sounded like she was talking about me.

“I started asking her questions and she asked me if I had a problem. When I admitted that I did, she said that the first thing I should do was go home and talk to my wife about it.

“But when I discussed it with Florence, I discovered that she had already guessed at the problem. She was good with the internet and looked it all up. She’d discovered quite early on that my diabetes was probably responsible but, knowing how I became every time she tried to talk about it, had been too scared to say anything.

“When we started talking again I felt like a new person. Our closeness and affection for one another returned almost immediately.”

“I consulted a specialist neurologist and was prescribed a variety of drugs including Viagra. The only one that worked was called Levitra but after a while even that stopped working.

I have now been fitted with a penile implant. It consists of a tiny pump inserted in the scrotum and tubes in the penis and prostate that help stimulate an erection once the pump is activated.

“It doesn’t feel exactly the same, but we are now able to enjoy a normal sex life again.

"But the real change happened when I understood for the first time what was happening to me and why. Then I was able to talk about it openly for the first time in so many years. That was when we really got our lives back.”"

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