I once again feel the need to apologize. My posting has been limited lately.
As winter draws nearer, the child weather worsens, and so does my pain. The opioids only do so much and distraction techniques must pick up the slack. Unfortunately, some of the most effective distraction techniques will exasperate my pain. My wife and I have been volunteering at the local no-kill dog shelter. This is both a great distraction and a great way to add meaning to a life of unemployment. The unfortunate part is the side effect, the SIGNIFICANT increase in SEVERE pain.
My wife wants to volunteer much more often than I am physically able, so this thing that should have brought us together has been corrupted by intractable pain into another topic of animosity.
Pain corrupts most things that make like worth living, from work and volunteer work to dating, marriage, and sex. There's nothing that we can do to stop it, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to fight it.
I never would have believe that at age 24 I would need to take multiple pills (breakthrough opioids and sometimes a muscle relaxer) in order to have sex. I used to save my Actiq for the end of the day because they allowed me to perform closer to the way my wife remembered before IP took over my life. Was I still able to go for six to ten hours, hell no, but two hours was no longer out of the question. Having sex half of a dozen (occasionally up to a dozen) times a day is also a pre-CP/IP pursuit, but twice in one day and three or four days a week is possible with carefully timed opioids. *quick note: Sex is a great distraction technique when the pain gets really bad, although it can also exasperate pain flares*
I believe that the biggest reason that untreated CP/IP destroyed marriages is that it destroys the closeness that comes from sex. I'm not saying that cuddling up and watching a movie doesn't have a similar effect, but everyone needs their own ratios of each. It's a lot easier to deal with a spouse (or significant other) who is grouchy from unrelenting pain if they make you feel special.
When my doctors first cut my fentanyl patches in half and eliminated my Actiq and methadone, I gave up on life. Everything suffered, especially my wife's and my sex life. We both felt like I wasn't contributing and my wife grew to resent all of the little things that she does to make my life livable. As time went on, either of us felt very sexy or sexual and several times per day quickly dropped to 2-3 times in the first month and 4-6 times the next month. Thankfully, my doctor started to realize that he was killing me and increased my pain medication. It was at that same time that I realized that it wasn't just our sex life that we had abandoned, it was most of our relationship. When you're bedbound from pain and there are multiple known cures (to being bedbound from pain, they're only treatments to the pain itself), you get depressed and lose the will to live- not sexy.
I originally had a point beyond describing the hell that is CP/IP, but I've forgotten what that is. So, I'll end with these thoughts
1) CP/IP will corrupt everything good in your life, you can't stop it, but you can minimize it's effect
2) sex is an important part of relationships, try not to let pain eliminate it from your life
3) when sex isn't an option, there are other ways to maintain closeness- USE THEM
4) without intimacy (sex, cuddling, etcetera), relationships are doomed to fail
5) tell your doctor what CP/IP is taking away from you (even if it is as embarrassing as sex), it makes it real for them
6) All men AND WOMEN with CP/IP should have testosterone levels checked, especially if you're experiencing a loss of interest in sex
P.S. I hope that everyone is in minimal pain and handling the changes in weather and the holidays without too much excessive stress.