A lot of things can happen after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Doctors warned me about “those things” during the appointments preceding and following the treatments and surgery I had to deal with. But back then, I didn’t believe what they were saying. I cared so little about it that I didn’t remember all the symptoms I could experience. Some of them I remembered: for example I could become infertile because of gamma ray exposure. They were used to treat the tumour near my rectum, which could potentially damage my testicles. But there was no problem! The hospital had a tiny room next to a busy corridor. In the room, there was a couch with a blanket, a TV with a DVD player, and a sink where I could wash my penis. I had to ejaculate in a small container so that one day, I could have children. Most of the side effects were temporary, but some were not.  

Erectile dysfunction scared me the most. I was a young 19-year-old man, and I had no problems getting an erection. That’s why I didn’t care about it that much at first. After my first treatments, I had two months to rest. During these two months, I didn’t experience anything wrong, and everything was working properly. After, I underwent surgery, and everything had changed. Peeing by myself seemed impossible for me to do. I’d spend 25 minutes standing, trying to pee a little in the container I was holding. After trying for so long, I was exhausted and covered in sweat, and the container was still empty. The nurse had to insert a catheter that went through my bladder and urethra to get the urine out. For a good while, I’d lost the joy of taking a satisfying piss because it was so painful.

I went back home, and after a while, I wanted to masturbate. My rod didn’t care, though. I really wanted to, but it didn’t respond at all… There was nothing I could do. I thought that things would get better after a while. After a while, I managed to get positive results. After a couple months, I was having decent erections here and there. However, after a few experiences, I bitterly understood that what works when I’m alone at home won’t necessarily work with a female partner. I had never experienced frustration before, but the more time passed, the more frustrated I became. I was getting better physically, but mentally, things were falling apart. Whenever I thought about maybe not getting an erection, it was all over: There was nothing for me to do anymore. I spent around a year and a half being unable to flourish my sexual life. I’d always tell myself that my problem would solve itself on its own. I figured that not being able to have an erection when you’re 20 years-old is impossible. I was wrong every time I told myself that.

At first, taking pills like Viagra was out of the question. This would be too big a blow to my male ego. My ego was too big to let me depend on pills. In the end, I changed my mind. I had to regain my confidence, and I couldn’t do it on my own. I went to see my doctor, and I walked out of his office with a prescription for Levitra. I was the cheapest brand: around $30 for two pills. It was weird to have to “predict” when it would happen, because I had to take them one hour before anything happened. But at least it worked fairly well. Thanks to these miraculous little pills, I managed to forget the question I was always asking myself: “Will it work this time?”


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