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Topic: Husband Not Interested in Sex After Mastectomy

Forum: Sex & Relationship Matters —

A safe place to talk candidly about how your romantic relationships and/or your sex life has changed following your diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Dec 15, 2014 03:12PM

MtnMama3 wrote:

Just wondering if there is a thread or a community of women out there with this issue? When I google it, it's usually the woman not interested in sex. It's been 4 years since my bi-lateral mastectomy and the same amount of time since my husband has touched me. Seriously, the last time we had sex was in the hotel room next to the hospital the night before my mastectomy. Then...nothing. He hasn't even seen my scars or my reconstruction. How sad is that? Struggling with the sadness. Wondering how to live in this marriage. We have three young kids. Anyone have any stories to share, inspiring, or otherwise?

Dx 10/8/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 15, 2014 04:33PM Obxflygirl1 wrote:

yes..for some it's very hard. I think a lot of husbands reaction is based on how we cope. I had to guide my husband through it and let him know how I felt.....that I was still very much interested and it would be different for both of us. It took some time but he was very open once he saw that I was comfortable with him seeing me. He showered me after MX and helped with drains so the scars weren't new to him. Now, they are almost non existent, which I imagine yours are also. I'm not sure if you've had a good sit down conversation. I handed my husband a good strong drink, opened bottle of wine for me and let it all ou...and I'm glad I did. Good luck to you.

Exchange Jan. 2013; CV Flaps Nips....April. 2013.. Vinnie....Sept. 2013 Dx 8/14/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 10/8/2012 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Dec 15, 2014 05:29PM MtnMama3 wrote:

Thanks for your response. Yes, we've talked. It hasn't really helped. I think he's pretty messed up by the whole thing and now that so much time has gone by...it's just so far gone. Sounds like your husband was pretty supportive...the way I imagine a husband is supposed to be. You're very lucky.

Dx 10/8/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 15, 2014 06:17PM angelia50 wrote:

I saw one lady post a message that said she felt almost hurt when her husband touched her reconstructed breast because the idea that he could get pleasure from something that caused her so much hurt, was just hard for her to handle. Maybe your husband is afraid that you might not want him to approach you. Have you tried approaching him? It is a hard thing. My surgery was in July of this year and I have an expander in and my husband has not seen my scars. The times we have done anything, I choose to keep my pajama top and bra on. After I have my exchange, I may feel differently but for now, thats actually more in my head than his, or I think so and I can imagine, he would not know what its ok to touch or what its not. I once said to him, feel this and I put his hand on the expander said and he just smiled and said its firm. But that was standing in the kitchen, not at an intimate moment. You are right though, so much time has passed that now, its awkard so you may just have to force yourself to approach him.

Dx 6/4/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/13/2014 Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 8/17/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 12/18/2015 Reconstruction (right)
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Dec 16, 2014 02:45PM mrenee68 wrote:

I think the best thing to do right now is open up a conversation about how you are feeling. Men can be a challenge, they don't always handle feelings well, ours or theirs. Take baby steps, hold hands, hug, sweet love pats. A lot of time has past and both of you have changed, and getting back to sex is going to take a great deal of planning and effort. I hope that both of you can see that this was just a bad moment that life has delt and you can be close again. Best wishes

"Embrace the suck!" Surgery 7/22/2012 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 7/27/2012, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 9/30/2012 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 1/22/2013 Reconstruction (left) Surgery 5/7/2013 Reconstruction (left)
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Jan 25, 2015 10:23PM DrV wrote:

As a young husband (30 when my wife was diagnosed) who has been at this for 3 and a half years i can say that for everybody the response will be different. I think that men are really left out to dry on all this and we are not prepared at all for any of it. You do need to talk directly to him though if you want things to improve. I adjusted to my wifes reconstruction quite well and yes i helped with the drains and all that so i knew how she looked and i still am very attracted to her. Unfortunately she wants nothing to do with me. Her mets to the lungs was clear in May of 2014 but showed up in her brain after a seizure in October and things have been pretty tough after she had whole brain radiation. Please don't write off your husband, but you really need to have a one on one about this. It will not be good for your kids to live with an elephant in the closet forever.

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Jan 26, 2015 06:46AM Moderators wrote:

Welcome to Breastcancer.org DrV, and thanks for sharing your opinion and experience! It's always helpful to read other's perspectives and thoughts about this delicate issue. It may be difficult and emotional to talk about it, but we agree that communication is essential to express our own needs and concerns.

DrV, we're sorry for all your wife and you are going through. If it helps,you may want to join the topic Topic: Husbands of Stage IV Breast Cancer, where you'll find other husbands under similar circumstances...

Best,

The Mods

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Jan 26, 2015 09:04AM MtnMama3 wrote:

Thanks, DrV. Lack of sex and emotional intimacy seem to pale in the face of your wife's cancer and your own personal journey. I wish you and your wife love and light during this time.

Regarding communication, I've tried it. I've discussed the topic numerous times over the years. Husband seems too repressed to access what's really going on so that he can move beyond this issue. He has started seeing a counselor so that's a big step. It's just that it all may be too little too late. But I'm still hanging on...

Dx 10/8/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 28, 2015 09:29PM roadrash wrote:

My husband and I went to a counselor prior to any surgery. I just knew he was going to be too freaked out to touch me. I think that the therapy helped him to deal with his own powerlessness over the situation. He was completely prepared for the drains, stitches, etc. I am not going to lie there is nothing attractive about my tissue expanders or the scars dragged across the front of my chest. I stopped hiim from coming to my weekly fill appts and I do not take off my compression bra to help lessen the view. He has been very good about it and I really think it is because I keep everything under wraps. My guy was very scared of rupturing or accidentally squishing the tissue expander. It's tough for us and for them. Hang in there and if you are not happy with the progress with the therapist please try someone new. We went through a couple until we found a good fit.

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Mar 21, 2015 10:32PM Evilmidget wrote:

I'm six weeks out from a mastectomy and 20 treatments in on radiation that will have a total of 36 treatments. Tonight my husband told me he did not want to see my "deformity" when I was trying to show him why my armpit hurt so much. He said that I never was eager to show my breasts to him before and now that I'm in treatment he thinks I want to show the "one" (i.e. the deformity) all the time. I just want him to be a part of this thing I'm going through, but except for the tiredness, he hasn't shown a lot of empathy.

I hate to feel like I'm alone in this.


Dx 12/1/2014, DCIS/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/20/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Dx 1/21/2015, DCIS, Left, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 2/23/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 2/23/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 22, 2015 09:36AM MtnMama3 wrote:

You're not alone. I think there are lots of husbands out there who really don't know how to deal with this stuff. It's loss, and fear, and grief for them too and many men don't know how to process emotions like that. Hang in there. Explain to him how hurtful his behavior is to you and that you just want to feel close to him through this ordeal. I'm guessing time will also help

Dx 10/8/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2015 01:26PM Trvler wrote:

Evil: Wow, that must be so hard for you. I have no idea how my husband will react after all of this but it sounds to me like there is some resentment built up already on your husbands part. I am going to strongly suggest that both you AND Mtnmama look into some couples counseling. Please don't feel alone and come here to vent. No matter what any of us are going through, there is someone on here to help.

Allison Dx 1/16/2015, ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2/26/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/23/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/31/2015 Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Radiation Therapy 10/14/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2016
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Dec 5, 2015 09:43PM NEwoman wrote:

I'm having the same problem, I ask myself if it's me. I have a double mastocmy just 2 mths ago and a full hystro in 2011 but he don't look at me won't touch me. I'm at a breaking point. I'm having problem leaving the house with people looking at me. So yes I need advise or anything that could help. I feel like my marriage is at risk and we have a 10 yr old so I can't give up. Any advise is needed

Thanks

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Dec 5, 2015 10:01PM Moderators wrote:

Dear NEwoman, Welcome to the community. We are glad that you reached out here and hope that you will support for your current situation. Here is a link to information on our site about Sex after Mastectomy. We notice that there has not been much activity on this particular thread since March. Check out the Sex matters Forum and perhaps you will find a similar topic that has had more recent activity. Again welcome. We look forward to hearing from you. The MOds

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Dec 27, 2015 02:21AM uplifted wrote:

I thought that I was the only one, who husband has not touched me in over 2 years. He trays to see it him and that it has nothing to do with what I went through. I feel so along and depressed. I just wish I could have my old life back.

belinda parker
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Dec 27, 2015 03:08AM Smurfette26 wrote:

OMG. I feel for all you beautiful, strong ladies. My hubby is so very different. He has seen my scar since virtually the day of surgery. I have never concealed it. He rubs cream into it, kisses and touches. While the side effects of treatment have certainly diminished my desire at the moment; my hubby still yearns for intimacy. Sorry if this is too much info. Hugs all.

Dx 9/12/2015, ILC, Right, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/9/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 27, 2015 03:26AM - edited Jan 8, 2016 05:42PM by Lily55

My ex still denies the mutilating surgery affected him but we have had no intimacy since the surgery, coming up 4 years early in 2016, and I finally felt too lonely too stay so left, I am now really alone but still feel lonely even when I see him, and he still maintains he was "fine" about it, but not once did he ever DO anything to help me still feel feminine or show that I was still attractive to him.............he just withdrew more and more and failed to be a solid support or to prop me up when I had no idea how to even go out the door, his way of helping was silent and to pretend all was ok as I "seemed" ok, unless I spelt out "I am panicking now" he would not notice...........some days I wish I could swap places with those with loved ones who are terminal as I struggle to find reasons to live some days

Dx 4/2012, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 7/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/3/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 8/15/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2013 Aromasin (exemestane) Radiation Therapy 3/7/2019 External: Bone Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Dec 27, 2015 04:46PM Smurfette26 wrote:

Oh Lily55. Huge hugs to you. xx

Dx 9/12/2015, ILC, Right, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/9/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jan 8, 2016 07:55AM bowserd wrote:

I just want to send you all big big hugs. I got on the section of the forum just out of curiosity. I am having a ductal exsion and biopsy on Monday and I'm truly hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. If that makes sense. This has to be my biggest fear. I'm scared of what cancer may do to my marriage. I openly talk to my husband about my fears ie him not being attracted to me or feeling differently toward me. He assures me that nothing will change but I know it will. I'm scared of not feeling like a woman anymore. I'm scared of losing that one thing I cherish more than just about anything. I'm so sorry that each of you have to experience this. I can't imagine the hurt and pain.

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Jan 8, 2016 07:56AM bowserd wrote:

I just want to send you all big big hugs. I got on the section of the forum just out of curiosity. I am having a ductal exsion and biopsy on Monday and I'm truly hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. If that makes sense. This has to be my biggest fear. I'm scared of what cancer may do to my marriage. I openly talk to my husband about my fears ie him not being attracted to me or feeling differently toward me. He assures me that nothing will change but I know it will. I'm scared of not feeling like a woman anymore. I'm scared of losing that one thing I cherish more than just about anything. I'm so sorry that each of you have to experience this. I can't imagine the hurt and pain.

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Jan 8, 2016 02:53PM LisaAlissa wrote:

Hi bowserd,

I'm concerned about your statement "He assures me that nothing will change but I know it will." Are you saying that you think the ductal excision and biopsy will change your relationship with your husband?

The reason I'm concerned is that if you are "sure" that it will change things, your behavior will change, and your husband may then be responding to your changing behavior, not the surgery! May I strongly suggest that you get a referral to a social worker, nurse navigator, or therapist? You need to talk this out with someone (and maybe your husband too) before you cause damage to your marriage based on your belief that your husband won't be able to handle it. That would be a terrible shame...and so, so unnecessary!

There are husbands on BCO who are wonderful participants in their wives research/planning/treatment. If your husband is directed to those models for support and examples, he might well choose to be one of those!

Hang in there,

LisaAlissa

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Jan 8, 2016 03:36PM Lucy55 wrote:

Honestly.. I have had a mascetomy, and it has not effected our relationship at all. Everyone is different I know..


Surgery 8/26/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Dx 8/27/2014, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2014 Surgery
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Jan 11, 2016 10:15AM Dogbiscuit wrote:

MtnMama3, I am in the same boat. The last time we had sex was the day before my bilateral mastectomy, and that was back in April. I thought 9 months was bad, but 4 years. Wow! The disease has brought a lot of stress into the house and I had three surgeries between April and December, so he missed a lot of work. I don't know if he resents me in some way for that or what. I have been in constant pain since the initial surgery, so I have not felt like having sex, but it would be nice just to know I was wanted.

Dx 2/11/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/28/2015 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): SGAP flap/hip flap Surgery Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 11, 2016 10:42AM MtnMama3 wrote:

Checking in on this thread. So 4 years has turned into 5. During this time we dealt with my husband's alcoholism and he went through rehab and he is now almost 3 years clean. My husband and I are friends. Still no sex. It weighs heavily on me and we've discussed it a fair amount. He even got his testosterone level checked, but it was fine, as I suspected. I think the issue is in his head and he can't figure out how to fix it. Of course, I have gained weight and it is still easy to look in the mirror and say it's my fault. It's a tough one. And the ripples of breast cancer never seem to end....

Dx 10/8/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 15, 2016 02:05PM Theresanne wrote:

I did not have reconstructive surgery. I was terrified to prolong any more than I had to. It has been 41/2 years...no sex at all. It is me. I feel like I am not even a woman anymore. My husband never ever pressures me. He deserves more. I told him this is how it will be forever...I am sickened when I lokk in the mirror. I guess it is just a matter of time before he has had it. pathetic I know. I have zero zero zero interest.

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Apr 15, 2016 03:35PM MtnMama3 wrote:

Theresanne...you can still have reconstructive surgery. But do it for you, no one else. You ARE a beautiful woman and that just might be the ticket you need to feel normal again. I had reconstructive surgery, but didn't do my nipples for 5 years. I just did them last fall and it's the first time I feel somewhat normal. It's amazing how your brain works when you look in the mirror. But like I said, do it for you and for your sense of wholeness. Your husband may or may not be there, but you will be with you for the rest of your life. Don't shortchange yourself. And don't worry about the sex thing. When you feel good about yourself, that will all fall into place!

Dx 10/8/2010, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 15, 2016 04:55PM - edited Apr 15, 2016 05:01PM by LisaAlissa

Theresanne,

Babies can die from lack of touch. Grown-ups don't do well without touch either. With that in mind, your post sounds to me like a plea for help...you don't have to live this way! Let's take the things you said one by one:

No reconstructive surgery. Ok. There are women who don't reconstruct, and are happy with "flat." Check out the "breastfree.com website. Or there's a blog called The Breastless Years which has pictures of a woman who's dressing beautifully w/out breasts. Love her style! Maybe that's where you pictured yourself when you decided not to reconstruct? And you can still get there, if that's what you want!

But if you still want to reconstruct, you should get in touch with your healthcare team. Because it's probably not too late (I think it's probably never too late!)

No sex at all? Your sexiest organ is between your ears--no surgery there! You are still the woman your husband married! How about cuddling, stroking & listening to each other's heartbeats? Have you tried sex and it hurt? Or you just aren't interested... There's a thread here called "I want my mojo back!" that you may want to review in either case.

Your husband doesn't pressure you. He deserve more. I told him this is how it will be forever... It doesn't sound like you're happy. Maybe you could start with some counselling that is directed to getting you two back together physically. Check with your doc for a referral. If you're in an urban area you're more likely to have choices, but there should be something available wherever. With a goal in mind, your husband might be willing to go to therapy appointments with you so the two of you can play together, with instructions/suggestions from a counselor.

I am sickened when I look in the mirror. Do you mean when you look at yourself in the nude? Many women who are (what I'd call excessively) modest don't ever look at themselves in the mirror nude--and they haven't even had surgery. While I think you could (with time and maybe some help from a counselor) learn to look past whatever sickens you now, there's no reason you have to look at yourself in the nude if you don't want to. Dress first! (Pretty, soft, silky cami's that feel luscious & luxurious to you are fun!)

I guess it is just a matter of time before he has had it. pathetic I know. I have zero zero zero interest. It sounds to me like you're planning to lose your husband...or send him away. If that's not what you want, read the mojo thread, ask your doc for a referral to a sexual therapist, and let us know how you're doing. (Here or on the mojo thread--or a separate thread of your own.)

Hang in there. A sexy, happy future can be yours.

LisaAlissa



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Apr 15, 2016 05:39PM Theresanne wrote:

Thank for replying ladies. I wont have reconstructive surgery at this point...I dont want to go through a surgical procedure unless its medically necessary. maybe if I were young, im 56... It is everything...femara has destroyed me also...I feel like I am 90... vision problems, aches and pains, hair loss. I have absolutely no interest in a phydical relationship at all. i did tell my husband I would understand if he leaves...he says he never would. Plus every day i am distressed worried about recurrence. I was St 2 a at diagnosis...no nodes involved. er/pr positive. am on a vegan diet and have maintained a good weight...have taken supplements...excercise...but still terrified everday. Cancer is slowly taking my life away....

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May 28, 2016 11:11PM cathleen143 wrote:

Hello. I was diagnosed with 2 types of aggressive Breast Cancer in May of 2013. Since then my husband has had no intrest in me intimately. Multiple times since my double mastectomy I was asked to sleep on the couch. First he was "afraid he might hurt me". Then it was because I started snoring and he had to get up for work and couldn't get back to sleep with me making the bed "vibrate" with my snoring. (He said I wasn't loud but I irritated him)

I lost my job because of being out "too long" during my treatment / surgeries. I wasn't fired, but when I was able to return to work after my last procedure, (2015) my work (at a hospital ) didn't "fire" me. They reduced my hours to 0.

After I finally found a new job, my husband seemed happy. I was finally able to financially help again, but still I wasn't aloud back into the bedroom. "I sleep better without you"

I feel like I'm just a roommate or a live-in maid or cook.

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Jun 1, 2016 04:21PM Moderators wrote:

Hi Cathleen,

We just wanted to let you know you're not alone here in this situation -- many, many of our members experience similar predicaments with their significant others while everyone tries to process a breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery and life after breast cancer.

You're not alone and we're all here for you!

You may also be interested in checking out the main Breastcancer.org site's blogs on Sexuality and Breast Cancer, specifically Dr. Michael Krychman's series on Sex Matters.

We hope this helps and we look forward to hearing more from you!

--The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Jun 1, 2016 05:07PM Lily55 wrote:

I had the I don´t want to hurt you approach too, 4 years and no interest, we are now over, and living apart..............do I believe what he said that it did not bother him ?? NOOOO it was his favourite breast and he has never really bothered with me since other than words....and that plus the AI´s that have shrunk me down below and made me feel shrunken as a woman, plus the fact i NEVER look at myself on both side, only ever the normal side,,,,,,,,I totally get where you are...................I feel soooo unfeminine and like a con, if a man showed interest i me he would feel cheated when he found i was mutilated

Dx 4/2012, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 7/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/3/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 8/15/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2013 Aromasin (exemestane) Radiation Therapy 3/7/2019 External: Bone Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel)

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