Need a man's point of view

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/22/2008 7:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi -
My husband is having a hard time coping with all that has happened to him and I need some advice from another man. Two years ago he perferated from diverticulitus (which we did not know he had!) - We almost lost him mulitple times as his organs failed, he went septic, etc. Total nightmare. Was in icu for 3 months literally on his death bed. Total time in hospital over 1.5 years. He's had 25+ surgeries, multiple fistulas, ili ostomy, vac machines, iv nutrition the list just goes on and on... The great news is we are 3 months post surgery of the reversal of the ostomy which from all that I have learned is really a miracle considering all his complications. He is finally getting back to work and we are trying to get used to living life again.

My issue or rather his issue is self esteem or body image. He tells me he's scared to be intimate but I think if he was he would feel alot better about himself.. not to mention re-connecting in a way that we have not been able to do for over 2 years now. I realize that maybe I've seen too much (I cared for him - no vna nurse) not sure what to do... I consistently try to build his ego and make him feel good about himself and that the scars and post surgery deformity doesn't matter... Obviously its falling on deaf ears...

Any advice ????

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 10/22/2008 5:26 PM (GMT -7)   

Your husband has been thru hell by the sounds of it. 

3 months post surgery is not that long for him, and he's just coming out of the last two years now. He'll need to absorb what's happened, and learn to accept his "new" body. You might accept it, but he's the one living in it. :)

Is he depressed ? Common enough after long illnesses. The brain is the biggest sex organ we have, and if it's not working right, the rest might not as well.

If he's acting normally in the other aspects of his personality, it could simply be a matter of time till his interest and confidence returns. Getting back to work and finding out that he'll be ok there should be a major boost for him. Keep supporting him, even though it's frustrating sometimes. Don't let it go too long tho, if he doesn't come around, please seek professional advice, which may involve you forcing him to go.  A lot of these problems are solved if caught early enough.  :-)

Good luck!



Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 10/24/2008 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   

I know you asked for a man's point of view but I have suffered with low self esteem due to my disease as well.

For the first time in 4yrs I am in remission and I just got out of the hospital (yesterday) for an ileo reversal.  I have spent a lot of time feeling like 'damaged goods' and even though I have great family and friends and an amazing boyfriend I still feel insecure.  Working through this will take time for me but I am committed to my boyfriend and myself so I will make the effort.

You said you acted like a "nurse" for your husband; are there things the 2 of you can do to reconnect as a couple?  There are lots of things you can do to be intimate that dont involve getting naked, and I agree with Vintageman, 3 months is a long time but not when you consider what he has been through.

Good luck! Your husband is very lucky to have you in his life! 

October 2003 - Dx/ed with Crohn's disease
April 2004 - 2ft of small bowel removed plus complications due to abdominal abcesses - 6 weeks in hopsital
October 2006 - perianal abcess, surgery to have drain inserted
February 2007 - abcess wont heal surgery for temporary ileostomy, started Remicade
Oct 16th, 2008 - Surgery to reverse Ileostomy - in Remission first time ever!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2765
   Posted 10/28/2008 8:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm not a man either, but I thought I'd share that what helped me after being sick for so long and having multiple surgeries was being told by my husband that he loves me and thinks I'm beautiful. You're probably already doing this, but keep telling him often how much you love him and handsome you think he is. This is especially meaningful if you say it when you see him without any clothes on. The other thing that helped me with intimacy was spooning. If you cuddle up to him that way, I wouldn't be surprised if nature just takes its course! smilewinkgrin

Good luck!
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free, medicine-free, and very thankful to be healthy again :)

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 10/29/2008 9:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I once had a doctor (ob/gyn) tell me that I would be surprised at the amount of people who have ostomies and you would never know...the point of that is confidence. Your husband is probably reminded of what happened by looking at his body, he needs time to be angry/grieve/accept what happened to him. He will get through it, and you will, too! You've gotten some great suggestions to work with...let us know how things go. You are doing a great thing by being there for him and he will/already knows that.
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