Consumers Against High Drug Prices
Exposing The FDA's Regulatory Quagmire
CoQ10 Wars
Assembly Line Medicine
Collapsing Within Itself
Intolerable Delays!
"Unsustainable" Cancer Drug Prices
How Government Treated Those For Whom We Now Celebrate Holidays
Horrific Conditions Inside Drug Factories
When "Rules" Are Broken
Federal Death Panels
Science by Ambush
The Looming Doctor Shortage
Former FDA Commissioner Admits Risk of Bureaucratic Delay
FDA Says Walnuts Are Illegal Drugs
The FDA's Most Heinous Drug Approval
No Real Healthcare Cost Crisis
FDA Delay of One Drug Causes 82,000 Lost Life-Years
Deadly FDA Neglect
How Much More FDA Abuse Can Americans Tolerate?
Drug Company Pleads Guilty to Health Fraud
Why American Healthcare is Headed for Collapse
The Generic Drug Rip-off
Ending the Atrocities
Millions of Needless Deaths
Would You Tolerate This Abuse?
The FDA Indicts Itself
The FDA's Cruel Hoax
Fish Oil Now Available by Prescription!
FDA Threatens to Raid Cherry Orchards
Inside the FDA's Brain
FDA Fails to Protect Domestic Drug Supply
FDA Permits New Fish Oil Health Claim
FDA Approves Deadly Drugs, Delays Lifesaving Therapies
The $50.00 Toll Bridge
Dangerous Medicine
Cardiologists Overlook Lifesaving Discovery
What You Don’t Know About Blood Sugar
Jerry Falwell Attacks Life Extension Foundation
Life Extension Achieves "Impossible" Victory in the U.S. House of Representatives
Fighting the FDA
Patient Advocates Sue FDA Over Drug Access
FDA's Lethal Impediment
Don't Blame the Doctors
One Man's Ten-Year Ordeal With Prostate Cancer
A New Day At FDA?
The FDA Versus the American Consumer
Supreme Court Roundup
The Lethal Information Gap
Consumer Rape
Dying From Deficiency
Are Offshore Drugs Dangerous?
Drugs the FDA Says You Can't Have
Does Cholesterol Cause Artery Disease?
What's Wrong with the FDA
FDA Suffers Second Massive Legal Defeat in Pearson v. Shalala
FDA Loses Case Against Compounding Pharmacies on First Amendment Grounds
Ending The Cancer Bureaucracy
Victory in the House and Senate
Life Extension Wins in the House and Senate
Congress Recognizes The Prescription Drug Problem
Americans are getting Healthier... But the FDA Remains a Major Impediment
Are We to Become Serfs of the Drug Monopoly?
A Glorious Victory Over FDA Tyranny
The Great American Rip-Off
The Plague Of FDA Regulation
Health Costs to Double Is there a free-market solution?
The FDA versus Folic Acid
They Want You Brain Dead
Life Extension vs. the FDA a Hollow Victory: Why the Agency's Approval of Ribavirin is Inadequate

A Piece of My Mind
An Essay on Desire

Howard L. Harrod, PhD Nashville, Tennessee
Reprinted from the Journal of the American
Medical Association (JAMA), Feb 19, 2003.

The fall and winter of 1993 were among the best times of my life. I was 62 years old and working on a book about Native American animal rituals; my wife, Annemarie, was preparing a paper in environmental sociology. Our intellectual lives were full. And since we were living in a remote area near the Canadian border and Glacier National Park, spectacular beauty surrounded us. During the fall, we laid in firewood, took long hikes, and fed our souls on the gorgeous crispness and solitude that fall on the land in anticipation of winter. After the main range of the Rocky Mountains was covered with snow, we spent long evenings reading. During that part of the day not given over to writing and research, we ventured forth on cross-country skis.

We returned to Nashville in December to spend Christmas with our children, grandchildren, and extended families. On the drive back, I experienced an urgency to urinate that would not be denied. Fortunately, a deserted cornfield just off the freeway provided me with sufficient cover and blessed relief. Reassured by previously normal PSA tests, I was certain the possibility of infection was high and made an appointment with a urologist.

Infection was not detected, but my PSA level had risen significantly. My urologist strongly suggested an ultrasound biopsy. The results: a fast-growing, probably very aggressive cancer. I spent much of January anxiously reviewing options, spending as much time as possible in the medical school library at Vanderbilt. Alternatives were murky. I gradually became more deeply aware that significant risks and uncertain benefits accompanied each therapy and that alternate paths were contested.

After reviewing research, further consultation with my physicians, long conversations with my wife, and listening to my own body, we decided that surgery was the best option for me at that time. So in early 1994 I entered Vanderbilt Medical Center and underwent surgery for the removal of my prostate. The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes but, thankfully, had not metastasized to my bones.

Hormone therapy was the recommended course of treatment, so I began monthly injections of Lupron. Every month upon entering the Vanderbilt clinic, a flood of memories swept over me as I relived aspects of the operation and despaired of what had happened to me. Finally, after a year of treatment, I decided to give up my testicles.

After the orchiectomy I was still physically able to do almost all that I wanted. But I was impotent, and despite considering all the possibilities, from penile implants to pumps, I remained in a state of despair. As a consequence of trying to sort out this complex emotional tangle, I gradually became aware of how deep my gender socialization had been. Not only had I a sense of having been mutilated, I had also lost the very capacities that were symbolically associated with manhood in American society. I no longer had a prostate, I was incapable of an erection, and I had no testicles. More fundamentally, I had lost the capacity to experience desire.

The sudden loss of libido produced forms of suffering I had not anticipated. The initial forms were stimulated by my context: I taught at a university each day; on campus and elsewhere, I encountered young people caught in the throes of raging hormones. Because I had lost the capacity to experience desire did not mean that I was not tormented by memories of desire. Surrounded by the presence of youthful Eros, expressed in forms of touching or longing looks, I began to feel a crushing weight of loss. Why was this happening? After all, mine was a mature sexuality fully integrated, I thought, into my personality.
But such experiences continued and they produced increased suffering. The sight of young males walking across the campus tormented me. I began to envy their capacities and, most fundamentally, their possession of what I had lost. I hated these feelings; and sometimes I hated myself for having them. But they were difficult to suppress, and they continued to break into ugly blooms in my experience. As I endured the suffering produced by unwanted fantasies, I finally began to see what was producing them. Like a range of mountains that appears in the distance, those structures of meaning that had formed the capacities for my erotic responses came gradually into focus.

When these meanings became clearer, I confronted an idea that I had read about in literature by feminist scholars: male sexuality was excessively genital in its focus. Confronting this idea at a deep emotional level was shattering; and allowing it to have an affective impact on my experience began to deconstruct my previously taken-for-granted expressions of erotic pleasure. As a consequence of my male socialization, how restricted these “pleasures” now appeared, and, more painfully, I began to sense how much I had missed.
All of this was not new to my wife. She had been saying many of these things for years, but I was not listening. The loss of capacities, body parts, and what I thought of as my essential maleness was less important to her than the intimacy that accompanied other forms of reciprocal communication: touching, holding, sharing feelings, and being deeply present to one another. As a consequence of these insights, a surprising disgust arose in me, and now I began to hate my previous sexual responses: how insensitive, narrow, and compulsive they had been. And, in a phrase that seemed to summarize all that I was feeling, how goatish!

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