Welcome to the Diabetes Man Cave, a virtual sanctuary where those of us of the male persuasion who are living with diabetes can hopefully find a place to share our stories about what’s getting to us.
There are so many resources for women with diabetes out there, everything from their own Diabetes Sisters group to focused female-only sessions and discussions at local and national conferences. All of that is needed and it hasn’t always existed, so the fact that it’s so talked about now is great.
On the other side of the gender coin, there’s nothing like that for Men with Diabetes.
Sure, you can find guys with diabetes all around the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), and there are some inspirational and real-life stories being shared out there.
But there isn’t a Diabetes Brothers, so to speak, and that’s probably because these issues are more difficult to talk about even amongst our own, since so many of us just don’t share in the same way women do.
And no, you don’t have to have a “Man Card” or special pass to be a part of the discussions here. This is certainly going to be a place for me to vent and share my own stories, but being a WordPress blog, all are able to see what’s being written. So, hello Ladies and Parents and Diabetes Overlords who may be visiting and reading along, too.
For introductory purposes, here’s the deal.
You’re not going find my real name here. That’s because this isn’t something I am comfortable sharing online with these issues, because they are very personal and not something I’m comfortable letting everyone tie to my name.
But that aside, this also isn’t about just me. It’s about these issues, and the larger point of how so many men who may be experiencing these, just don’t share because they aren’t comfortable talking about them.
So, here’s the place for me, at least, to do that.
What is relevant is that I’m a guy in my early 40s who has been living with Type 1 since I was a little kid. As a teenager and in my early 20s, my blood sugars were shit. And I didn’t do well in taking care of myself. These are the years I really regret, especially as I got into my mid-20s and started developing some complications, and entered into marriage who a great woman who is so very supportive and understanding.
We have wanted to start a family for the past several years, and that’s where some of these guy-specific issues have come into play.
Back when we were first married, I think it was an unconscious truth that I was afraid to have kids and that’s not something I was actually sure about — mainly, because of the fear that I’d pass my diabetes on to another generation. But eventually, we talked through this and it became something I really did want. Even if we had kids and one or more went on to develop T1D, that’s something we would get through. After all, it’s the 21st century and you can pretty much live successfully to old age, with diabetes.
Once we started trying — sometimes off-and-on, and other times more actively — we realized this wasn’t going to be as smooth a process as we’d hoped. I saw the continuation of ED that I’d observed at times before, and the psychosocial aspect of this was certainly a factor in how often we tried.
As time went on, I felt more and more guilty. To blame for this not happening, and likely a result of my diabetes management during my teen years.
Sometimes, we just didn’t get into bed and I’d find an excuse or sleep out on the couch, or even work late in to the night — just to avoid the embarrassment and burden of having to face this inadequacy.
I haven’t been good at talking about these issues, and that just added to the stress.
We eventually consulted a professional for help, and he determined that the culprit was, in fact, my diabetes. Retrograde ejaculation, as it were.
And that brought on more conversations and planning, about how we’d go about starting a family if this roadblock stood in the way.
That’s where I’ll leave this for now, without getting into more detail — that can come later in future posts.
But, I will say this: I feel very isolated in this struggle.
Yes, as mentioned up above, I have a great wife and we can talk about this. But there are times when I want to find others “like me” who’ve gone through or are experiencing this. Not my doctor. Not my wife. And it’s certainly not something I am comfortable broadcasting to the world in today’s age of social media sharing.
In a Diabetes Community where we so often tell each other “You Are Not Alone,” I certainly do feel alone.
I’m hoping the D-Man Cave can help remedy that, to some extent. Because I don’t want to keep this in anymore, and I don’t want to feel so alone.