“I think of my body as a side effect of my mind.” ~Carrie Fisher

The whole concept of side effects is bizarre. I guess nothing good comes without something bad. A typical list for just about any medication or procedure looks something like this:

Side effects are uncommon, and include headache, nausea, stigmata, vomiting, death, dizziness, vaginal ejaculations, dysentery, cardiac arrhythmia, mild heart explosions, varicose veins, darkened stool, darkened soul, lycanthropy, trucanthropy, more vomiting, arteriosclerosis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, virginity, mild discomfort, vampirism, gender impermanence, spontaneous dental hydroplosion, sugar high, even more vomiting, brown, your mom, and mild rash.

When I was warned about the side effects of radiation (and had to sign off that I acknowledged them) I was told that colorectal cancer was a potential side effect! I was lucky, I did not get too many side effects during the chemo-radiation portion of my journey. That bodes well for the chemo that I am starting on Monday.

The surgeon went over a list of potential side effects from the surgery when I had to sign that consent. It was a typical list including infection, death, impotence, blockages, etc. Pretty much a list of awful things but seeing that the alternative would be death by cancer, I smiled and signed.

I got hit with a good amount (well, a bad amount actually) of side effects after the surgery. I had two blockages in my small intestine that caused all sorts of other issues. It was fairly awful but I made it through, and that is pretty much all that counts.

One of the side effects that was emphasized a bit more than the others during that early visit was impotence. In case you are not sure what I am talking about …

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • 180 degrees shy of heaven
  • Performing with Flacido Domingo
  • A few parts shy of an erector set
  • Sch-wing and a miss
  • Not rising to the level of impeachable offence
  • The Null Monte
  • Disappointing Miss Daisy
  • Taking the gold at the Lake Flaccid Olympics
  • Ascension Deficit Disorder
  • Bouncing the Check of Love
  • Less-than-Magic Johnson
  • All Doled up with nowhere to go
  • Welcome to Flaccid City. Population: You
  • Serving boneless pork
  • Unleavened Man-Bread

Impotence is the inability for a man to get and maintain an erection. It is also known as erectile dysfunction and can impact a person’s ability to have satisfactory sexual intercourse.

The doctor did mention that we now have drugs that can help with that if it comes to fruition since the cause would be nerve damage from the surgery.

No big deal I thought. Well, to be clear, it would be a big deal, but I mean ok, I can handle that, um, I mean I can deal with it. And so can Inanna. After all, better limp than dead I always say.

I have been lucky, I only dealt with not rising to the occasion once, and having just turned 60 that is pretty amazing. I was a young college professor and had three wisdom teeth out one morning. That afternoon the dean’s very enticing secretary came by to check on how I was doing. One thing led to another and, well, I found out that heavy pain medications in those days had a direct effect on one’s (ok, my) ability to rise to the occasion.  I actually found it very funny (really). Not sure she did, she never checked in on me again. It was all probably for the best since I was not tenured and the dean was not real fond of me to start with. Anyway, I digress …

There is something about having a hard difficult time recovering from colorectal surgery, dealing with a stoma and ostomy bag, and in general one’s mindset with all of this, that keeps one’s libido in check. Whether or not I had this particular side effect was not much on my mind. Until it was back on my mind. I hit me hard as the thoughts rose in my mind, hardening my intent to figure out if my stoma was going to be the only thing sticking out from my body for the rest of my days.

I thought about it for a couple of days, willing willy to show me his stuff. Nothing. I revisited the fantasies of being Carlo Ponti … to no avail. I spent an hour in my shrine to Brigitte Bardot … nothing. Figuring the usuals did not work, I tried reverse psychology and Googled “naked Kardashians” … that only reignited my nausea side effect. Ugh. Yeah, a big nothing.

That evening I really needed to know. I took off my big-man panties and decided there is only one way to find out.

The scene was caught on one of the many nanny cams in the house. Here is the footage of me and Inanna the other night.

Great singing voice she has, no?

I guess if there is one side effect I could choose not to get, other than death or stigmata, this would be high on my list.

Yes, it’s a big deal. Yes, you can all stop worrying about it, I have.

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4 thoughts on ““I think of my body as a side effect of my mind.” ~Carrie Fisher

  1. …i hope that you will have words of wisdom for us all as we approach thanksgiving…your example of strength inspires me each day…

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