Tom Waters, 54, Lake Alfred, CAHealthline: Can you give us a little background about your experience with ED?
Tom: At age 32, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. When you are diagnosed, the doctors go over all of the things you have to “look forward to”—problems with your eyes, heart, kidneys, liver, circulation in your feet. And eventually, you get ED.
I tried everything – the vacuum pump, oral medications, suppositories, and shots. The vacuum pump was the first thing we tried—tried it twice. It was so uncomfortable and not very romantic. You put your penis into the cylinder, pump the blood into your penis, slide the band onto the base of the shaft, the band holds the blood in. You should see this thing!
I had a little trouble with the suppositories. I couldn’t get over the idea of putting something into my penis where everything is supposed to come out. Next, we tried the oral medications. Sometimes they would work, sometimes not. But the one thing I could always count on was an upset stomach.
The shots came next. They worked fine in the beginning but nothing kills the mood faster than having to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, get your needle ready, and give yourself a shot. I gave myself a shot every time my wife and I had sex for 12 years. As my ED worsened, the amount of medicine in the shot increased. Sometimes it wouldn’t work at all.
We heard about the implant through a friend. The next day we called the doctor and made an appointment. We reviewed all of the options and landed on the American Medical System's (AMS) 700 MS Series 3-Piece Inflatable Penile Implant. We scheduled the surgery for the next week – in and out of the hospital the same day. I have had the implant for over 4 years now. I have no more stress or worries. The implant works every time, anywhere. Guaranteed.
Healthline: Do you suspect ED may run in your family? Does diabetes run in your family?
Tom: Neither ED nor diabetes runs in my family. However, both of my parents had heart disease. I have since been diagnosed too.
Healthline: Did you have any knowledge about the family history prior to your diagnoses? Did that affect the way you approached your own personal health?
Tom: Absolutely—I have always tried to lead a very active and healthy lifestyle.
Healthline: Did the condition affect your relationships with your family and friends? Can you talk about how ED affected your relationship with your wife?
Tom: Yes. I was a healthy 32-year-old with a beautiful wife, three great kids, and a fantastic sex life. ED was one of the first side effects of diabetes that I experienced. Within the first year, I started having problems.
I didn’t want to talk about it. I think it’s a guy thing. When your manhood stops working, you shut down. ED affects your self-esteem. I thought it was my fault. My wife thought it was hers. We both felt so alone. We started having marital and family problems leading to marriage counseling. Even at counseling we never brought up ED—even though it was probably the reason for most of our problems.
We both sank into a deep depression. Not only do you stop having sex, you lose all intimacy. You stop holding hands, kissing, hugging, doing anything that could lead to sex. You are afraid to start something you can’t finish.
Healthline: Did it have any effect on your career?
Tom: Yes. I started working longer hours. Staying at work late was a way to avoid the possibility of intimacy. I felt guilty and stressed about avoiding family time.
Healthline: Has your experience changed your overall outlook on your health and/or on taking care of your body?
Tom: Yes. The more I learn, the more I realize how all of these vascular conditions are all connected.
We have fixed the ED. The diabetes we work on daily by controlling what I eat, getting regular exercise, and blood sugar testing. I take medications for my heart disease.
Healthline: Knowing what you know now, what kind of preventative measures (if any) do you wish you would have taken earlier in your life?
Tom: I wish I had educated myself earlier about how all of these conditions are related. I also wish that the doctors had given us the option of the implant a long time ago. My wife and I would have done it. It would have prevented so many aggravations for us—so many arguments, discussions, and fights.
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