Please note, if you are my Mother sat at home on the coffee table… I strongly advise for you NOT TO READ THIS!
Now we have that cleared up, this is a subject that I imagine many would shy away from in the diabetes world, especially if you are a man and it has ever affected you. One of those things in life that you pray just never will happen and if it does happen, you just wouldn’t want to admit it…
I am going to hold my hands up here and do just that in speaking of an experience I once had to deal with and it wasn’t all that long ago either. As a young single lad in my early twenties, well – there couldn’t have been any worse a time for it really!
Diabetes Dude and Erectile Dysfunction
When outside of my Diathlete duties and advocacy as a person living with type 1 diabetes to support the best I can for other people with diabetes, it is no hidden secret to those who know me that I also enjoy a good few drinks from time to time (I am British and it is our culture), I like a good party and a good time – you live once and it is important to have fun after all.
I have lived with diabetes for over 14 years and I will say from the start that it cannot hold you back with the right attitude and responsibilities about it. On one particular night a few years back though an incident occurred where I had in fact ‘pulled’. If you are a reader from outside of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the term pulled transformed in the English language from ‘pulling a lady’ and the term ‘pulling’ relates to charming a member of the opposite sex into accompanying you to the bedroom… It is all part of the process of evolution… (back to story!) However, on this occasion I found my masculinity ashamed within my own mind. You see my ‘Captain Scott’ was remaining in the South Pole. The temperature just was not rising that night, if you understand what I am saying!
On that particular evening I had had one too many drinks and wasn’t acting on the ball or up to my responsibilities as someone who lives with type 1 diabetes. This does not mean that you can’t go out and have fun and it absolutely doesn’t mean that you can’t go out and have a drink and get merry. What it does mean is that you always need to keep on the ball. Before I went to the bedroom I had taken a test of blood sugar levels and found myself incredibly hyper with a reading of 32.1mml/l – insanely high because I had mistakenly not taken my Novorapid insulin earlier that night. This is criminal and embarrassing to admit as a diabetes advocate myself, but I was a 20 year old lad at the time that had to make a few mistakes to learn from. What I did before rushing off following the thought-process of my man-area was inject insulin into my system – without checking how much it was. I believe that I injected a standard dinner-time dosage which on average for me (although changes with whatever meal I do have) would be around 10units. So 10 units enters my body and then all of a sudden kicks in and crashes my levels – without me knowing about it (I am not hypo-aware). When it came down to business my Jacob Marley, to quote Charles Dickens, was as dead as a doornail! And no surprise really with the affects in the blood sugars affecting my blood flow. I returned home with a Blood Sugar reading at a hypo of 2.8!
It could have been a different story. That evening was a one-off which I looked back at my irresponsibility and learned from to tell the truth. That won’t again happen to me! Had I have monitored my blood sugar levels better, had I have been more aware of what I was putting into my body, switched on that I hadn’t injected and then aware to realize how much I was then injecting after discovering the hyper – I would have saved myself a great deal of embarrassment!
I felt too ashamed to even use the D-Card when I had a genuine reason to on that occasion… sorry about that, it was the diabetes’ fault. No! It was my fault for not keeping it in check! It wasn’t like GCSE Maths where I wanted to get out of class for a bit… I wanted to get in class…
As mentioned that was indeed a one off on that occasion; however, it then happened again nearly a year on and this time in more of a serious subject which can affect many men living with diabetes. After I completed my challenge of running the United Kingdom in 30 days there were of course some affects on my body through such a high level of endurance and constant changing of blood glucose levels. I did everything in my power to keep as good a control as possible, but more importantly, I aimed to avoid hypo blood sugars, which meant I found I had a lot of hyper levels. Some said to me beforehand that what I do to my body in such endurance is harmful to the cause by harming myself, but I strongly disagree. By this post they may argue that they were right, but I would still respond absolutely not! You see, to harm the cause you would have to create misconceptions as to what both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are; or you would have to portray people with diabetes in a bad light. I believe by telling someone with diabetes that they cannot achieve something great and by reflecting a negative attitude is harmful to the cause. By highlighting the importance of regular blood sugar checks and by going out and showing exactly what can be achieved in life, even if that meant my body was on the line for a short period of time, was quite the opposite to harmful – many who saw me or got involved reported it as inspiring. And by completing it, I would like to point out once more that in living with diabetes anything can still be achieved and accomplished in life.
Of course the temporary change in levels meant that my HBA1C did rise to a 8.3 and that there were affects on my body, TEMPORARY! And this, I now confess to you all, caused a young lad a bit of an awkward period in life, even if it was just for a little while. When Erectile Dysfunction happens once that is extremely embarrassing but life goes on, if it happens twice… well, the mind goes to despair. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!!!??? I am meant to be the diabetic James Bond! Diabetes at first doesn’t even come into the chain of thoughts… there is shyness, is Woody the Wood Pecker getting stage fright? Had my body decided to have a sudden change of sexuality without me knowing about it? Impossible, Tom Daley doesn’t do it for me I am Kelly Brook’s biggest perv! Have I got something bad, another disease on top of diabetes?!
The worst part was shortly afterwards I then started dating a very good looking girl, with a good personality who also had diabetes. By this point I was so confidence restricted in that department and shy about the fact that if it might go somewhere NASA would fail in take-off, that I just didn’t know how to act. In fact we even slept in the same bed a few times and nothing happened as I couldn’t make a move through the shattered confidence.
So that all went quiet but all the time on top of doing my Diathlete work I was working to control my diabetes. I didn’t really have a clinic or a Doctor to turn to so I handled the situation by myself… Dr Gav. Within 3 months of the 8.3 HBA1C I managed to get my A1C down to 7.1, despite a constant battle with the GP on test strip allowances. But by testing regularly and being responsible for my own health I achieved that. And, low and behold (or shall I say up and behold…) as a result my partner in crime is back in business!
I feel that as a 22 year old male this is something that is a personal story, yes, but in the fight against diabetes and its complications, this relates to just that. Perhaps I may get ripped for admitting it but if it may be of any help to others then there we have it! I am back healthy again and have been back in action, so to speak. I have learned from previous experiences and ultimately have much confidence about me combined with more determination than ever. Living with diabetes cannot and should not stop you in any walk of life, especially when it comes to sex!
If you ever suffer from diabetes complications such as this and would like to contact someone – feel free to get in touch with me. You’ll find my details on the site!
Over and out!