Saturday, May 16, 2009

good things, and sex

While I've been busy obsessing over my diagnoses, past, present, and putative (perhaps a new slogan: infelix hodie, heri, et semper), other interesting things have been happening in my house. My husband has been smoking around a pack a day on average since he was fifteen. That will very soon be twenty years. I've already told him I've picked out my second husband, but even before the lung cancer gets him (sorry to be blase, but these are his decisions, not mine, and heaven knows I nag enough), of course this has potential implications for infertility.

The SA is on Monday, and I've been largely overlooking the fact that in the last week or two he has been gearing up the smoking reduction that he started, in a smaller way, during Lent. In the past week, he's cut down to 1-3 cigarettes a day. I am always cautiously (if at all) supportive of such plans, because I know if you're merely cutting down, one bad day means five, and then ten, and then twenty again, and weeks of hard work (to say nothing of months of dragging his feet before he tries it) can be squandered in an hour. Also, it's another weekend, and he has never, ever gotten together with his guy friends and not chain-smoked for at least four hours. Never ever. He had actually quit for about four days last year (the only time since I've known him that he has ACTUALLY quit) and came down to DC (while we were living in MI) to interview and I asked him whether he was going to tell everyone he had quit when he saw them. He said no. I got angry right then, because the next steps were then written in stone: he got down here, he went out with his buddies, he mentioned he didn't have any cigarettes, one of them bought him a pack, and he finished it that same night.

Anyway, right now, he's on a general health kick - when he wakes up in the morning, if he wants a cigarette, he goes running instead. (Actually, he goes running several times a day, albeit not very far. I am a slug by comparison.) Part of his motivation has been to lose his tummy. One of his guy friends - who quit smoking several years ago, is about the DH's age (middle thirties), and is in fantastic shape (works out, did a triathalon) - has undertaken a campaign of benevolent harassment, all on his own. He waits until I or other guy friends are there as an audience, and then tells my husband that he's out of shape, eats terribly, and he's afraid for his health. And that he looks awful. Apparently, this has had an enormously salutary effect - I guess men and women react to things very differently. (Who knew?)

So my DH has been running several times a day, smoking far fewer cigarettes, reading The Easy Way to Quit Smoking (I am very optimistic that this will actually help - I know others who have had good results), using a punching bag he got as to work out with, and insisting I buy vegetable juice for him to drink. (I won't touch that garbage, but he has really been drinking it.) He also noted, however, that an unconscious part of his motivation might be that he wants to be favorably evaluated on Sperm Day.

I have thought about how this will work. I assume, without having any results yet, that the results will be sub-standard but not incurable - because I think he's probably basically healthy but that years and years of smoking must have taken a toll. So, I figure that a "you can improve this, but you'll need to" diagnosis will indicate that his efforts to date have had an effect (no despondency), but can't be allowed to lapse. See how I convince myself that it will all work out. Because I really, really want him to quit smoking. And getting in shape generally would be a great perk (bonus if I get in shape too. We could be a hot infertile couple. Why not?).

Here's the amusing side effect (oh, plus TMI): as we learned last year when he briefly quit (and cut back on another occasion), both lots of exercise and cutting back on cigarettes enormously increase his sex drive. This is particularly interesting because that means adjusting things from him propositioning me once a week (and more often, me propositioning him) to daily or every other day. It's not like he's calling me at lunch or something. So, what I mean is, I think this level of interest is actually probably healthy - it's the level when he is smoking that's unhealthy, though that's what we're used to. All this is good, because, as I've explained to him, once I get on medication, we're going to have to start the Sexual Marathon every month. I don't want to go in for my evaluation after a few months of tamoxifen and ask for a new treatment and have my RE look at my charts and say, "Were you even trying?" 'Cause that would just be embarassing.

Oh, one other amusing TMI-related note: I almost didn't schedule the SA for Monday, because my RE says to abstain for four days beforehand, and of course that's the whole weekend. Oh, including my fertile phase (well, you know what I mean). So this happily married, never-contracepting infertile couple will be spending the weekend sexually frustrated.

Hope y'all are having a good one...I think maybe I'll go shopping. (I bought the panties yesterday.)


  1. Good for your hubby! Yay!!!

    Yup, I've been working out and losing some pounds and it definitely makes me feel better about myself which certainly helps out in the bedroom! (or bathroom, or living room, or laundry room....)

  2. I hope this next effort is the last one...I quit smoking almost ten years ago so I know it can be an uphill battle. I did the cold turkey method. I had just met my husband and I think there must have been some divine intervention because I quit and it was done. I never smoked another one since. I got the strength somewhere. Tell your dh to pray when that craving comes(as he's running)...there will be some tough times and that is when he'll have to remember to be strong and ask for God's help. Once he gets past the rough beginning it will get easier. I hope your new plan of treatment goes well for you both too. Sounds like a lot. God bless.

  3. I know all about trying to quit smoking. Unfortunately, I enjoy ever single drag. I have quit on and off for the past 3 1/2 years. I have been smoking since 16. I don't smoke anymore. Let me rephrase that, I smoke when I am out at a social event. I love a nice drink and a smoke.

    I was thinking about this at Mass today. If children are a gift then it will come when God is good and ready. Not because I performed some insanely holier then thou achievement. Not because I lay prostate on the floor praying for a child or anything of that matter.

    So my smoking every now and then isn't going to get in the way of my pregnancy achievement or non acheivement for that matter. I know people who don't eat as healthy, don't pay as much attention or anything and BAM they get pregnant. So no matter what my feeble attempts are at trying to get pregnant, they still remain feeble. I am thinking that if I just go with life, enjoy it, live abundantly (and if that includes a stiff drink and a few smokes) then so damn be it! I am really bitter today! :) Probably because I am about to sit down and sew a baby shower gift and I am pissed!

    I am just reminded that I am stripped barren. Barren as the winter tree, fruitless and in the public's eyes my suffering isn't anything because my only problem is that I can't have children.

    Anyway, what I wanted to say is that my DH was unable to quit cold turkey. But Chantix worked for him. It didn't work the first go around, but it worked the second go around. He stopped on Chantix while we were in cancun all expenses paid. I am talking open bar and everything. We got there on Wednesday and on Thursday he never lit another cigarette. :) It actually makes the cigarettes taste tasteless. I think it is a miracle drug! :) You can actually smoke while taking it and sooner or later you just don't want them anymore.

    And nothing changed in his sperm count while he was smoking to when he didn't smoke at all. So not sure what to say about that! :) I do realize that smoking is bad for your health etc...etc...But at this point whatever makes the infertile male happy then DO IT! ;) Not the best advice but I am so fed up with all of it! Muah! :)

  4. My hubby smoked 2 packs a day of Ca.mel unfiltered when I met him. He had been smoking since he was 13, and he started trying to cut back, then quit, since 2001. After years of the patch and the gum, he thought about cigs night and day and couldn't resist a cigarette after a couple drinks. He finally went on Chantix in 2006. Like Sew's husband - it took two rounds, but he hasn't had a cigarette since. Doesn't matter how much he drinks. And he doesn't think about it anymore - and he's so much healthier. Doesn't cough anymore, sleeps better, his allergies improved, etc. We didn't do an SA before, just after, but his numbers were really good (that was 2 years post quitting).

  5. Kudos to your husband in taking the steps to quit smoking. My MIL has quit several times on Chatix, the only thing that's worked for her. Her problem is that she wasnt ready to quit for good. She only did it due to upcoming back surgeries and picked it back up again the moment the doctor told her the fusions took place.

    Smoking can affect SAs, but it may well take up to three months before the steps he's taking now have any positive impact. I mention this just in case the SA results are less than stellar and he takes that as a sign to give up.

  6. My husband also quit smoking, but only after he cut back on drinking. There must be some connection, because he would go without smoking for weeks but if he started drinking he would really want a cigarette.

    Good luck to you guys.

  7. That's great your hubby is trying to quit smoking. YEAH! My husband quit smoking in Sept. 2008 but he only smoked off and on throughout the years. He does feel so much better. I used to smoke to socially especially if I had a drink to go hand in hand but after my surgery with Dr. H.ilgers I have been very strict not to smoke anymore. I am just paranoid of anything preventing me getting pregnant though. The frustrating thing is that I have several friends whose husbands smoke like crazy and have baby after baby. I don't get it!
    Anyways, I hope the SA turns out well!!!
    Many prayers,

  8. In order to start off your smoking cessation regimen with chantix, the Pfizer manufactured quit smoking drug, you need to buy chantix from authentic chantix drug stores.