Sexual Health, Financial Cost, and Depression (Au Revoir Casanova)
I must admit, as thorough as all my doctors were, they failed miserably in one area. Not once was I told that the procedures and medications they were using on my body would effectively chemically castrate me. Two and a half years ago I can’t remember a single individual taking me aside and whispering, “This is the end of your sex life, sorry!”
Let’s talk about depression
Want to talk about depression? Let’s talk about depression. Up until the very moment I took that first Lupron shot, I was a strong, virile man’s man. I loved my wife dearly and I cherished being with her physically. Fast forward a little over two and a half years later, not a single physical, intimate interaction.
Reaching out to my doctors for guidance
Informing my care team about the situation led to little effort I thought on their part to remedy my situation. One doctor tried to get me a prescription of Viagra, but the insurance was not having it. Their answer was to pay for the meds yourself, as they are “Not Vital” to treating you as a cancer patient. Is it any wonder that I am seeing a psychiatrist and taking two separate medicines for extreme depression.
Deciding on my own to go and purchase the Viagra, I headed to the pharmacy with high hopes I would obtain the medicine and attempt to restore some physical intimacy with my significant other. After a long wait in line, I finally stepped up to the pharmacy counter.
"Isn't it more important to be alive?"
Just last week, I went to an appointment with my main urologist oncologist. After praising my PSA numbers, down to 0.21 from over 1,300, he looked me square in the eye and asked me was there “ANYTHING HE COULD DO FOR ME!”
I leaped at the opportunity, “I haven’t had sex in over two and a half years!”
After staring at his shoes for a minute or so, “Isn’t it more important to be alive, than having sex?”
Thank you, doctor, for all that well-versed knowledge and expertise. That was it, no “you could try this” or “if you do this procedure”. Just silence as he tapped away at his little tablet. Once again, I left the doctors’ offices feeling frustrated.
Taking matters into my own hands
I vowed to take matters into my own hands. I hurried to my regular pharmacy hoping to acquire the medicine on my own. After waiting for an eternity in the line leading to the register, I was ready to purchase the medicine without the help of the insurance company.
“My palliative care doctor called in a prescription for me for Viagra,” I tried to whisper.
From behind the register came, “Mr. Estep, your insurance does not cover these pills.”
“I figured that,” I replied. “I want to pay for them myself. How much would that be?”
Looking a little reluctant to answer me she stuttered, “879 dollars, Mr. Estep.”
Thus, this effectively ended my quest to purchase the Viagra. I am not sure exactly how insurance companies reason that if you take away a man’s sexual pride and his manhood, it is not important enough to offer coverage in that particular area.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?