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Topic: New relationship and new diagnosis at same time

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: Jun 12, 2017 06:49PM

GoGo2462 wrote:

I met a good guy recently, and the next week I am told I need a biopsy after a breast MRI (scheduled as a precaution due to family history and my dense breast tissue). I have now been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer after this MRI and a biopsy. At 45 and single, never married (and not having dated for a while) I was excited to meet someone. Then this diagnosis comes along. We have gone out two additional times since I received this diagnosis, but I have not shared my diagnosis with him yet. I am struggling with when is the "right" time. I am still working with my doctors to do additional tests before making any decisions on surgical options (based on my own diagnosis, family history and genetic testing of me and my BC), so I haven't shared my diagnosis with many people until I know what I am dealing with, and what I choose to do surgically. I think this is the appropriate route with this new guy, but at the same time I do not want to wait too long and possibly mislead him. He shared upon our first meeting that he lost his mother to lung cancer earlier this year, so I am probably more sensitive to telling him about my diagnosis because of this. I am new to this site, but thought I would see if there is anyone out there that has had a similar experience with a new relationship around the time of diagnosis. Thanks.

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Jun 13, 2017 08:11AM MTwoman wrote:

GoGo, I don't have a similar experience, however I was single and 38 at my diagnosis and treatment, so I do remember really having to give thought to when to tell someone whom I met several years later, and who is now my husband. It is really hard to advise someone about something as personal as this; but let me just say that taking your time to tell him, waiting until you have a plan you feel good about and actually know what is going to happen, sounds like a reasonable thing and not misleading at all. The fact that he lost his mother to lung cancer is certainly an added piece to your puzzle. I think that him knowing too soon, when you don't know your plan and things are therefore uncertain, would be potentially worse for him. That time of uncertainty and learning all about the options and their related consequences (as well as their risk reduction) is very difficult for most women (and the people who love them) and to wait spares him that. There may be others who disagree, but I would wait until you have a plan; and then I'd choose a time when you can sit down together and tell him, allowing him to have whatever reaction he has and ask whatever questions come up. So sorry you're having to go through this! gentle ((hugs))

Dx 12/10/2002, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 12/20/2002 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 12/23/2003 Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Surgery Reconstruction (right): Saline implant Surgery Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery Mastectomy: Right
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Jun 27, 2017 08:03PM GoGo2462 wrote:

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. I have not told him yet, although I tried to test the waters this past weekend, but there was not an appropriate opening to bring the subject up. I am still working on my final game plan with my doctor, so I am going to wait now until I have that and then keep it simple in my sharing. I will share how it goes when I am able to share this news with him

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Jun 28, 2017 04:11AM - edited Jun 28, 2017 04:25AM by jamkam

Hi Gogo..Let me say a few words from just one guy's perspective who is in a somewhat similar situation, in fact it's why I joined this community, to read and understand better what women are facing and mainly listen, but here, I offer my thoughts.

I met and started dating a simply amazingly wonderful beautiful woman 2 months ago via an online app (still can't believe that part!). . I'll spare the details for sake of brevity but lets just say we fell for each other-- for me, it was head over heels; we clicked, intellectually, physically, sense of humor, the works. On our third date, no less, we were sitting in the car after a nice evening and she slowly began to tell me something that I could tell was difficult to get out, saying, something like "i'm not sure I should tell you this now... and you may run away and I don't blame you..but I am having an MRI & biopsy soon and..." She not too long thereafter found out it was DCIS.

As for me running away, nothing could be further from the case.I told her, without flinching, I was there for her no matter what. Maybe I was dewy-eyed and clueless, and yes, it was jarring and a little frightening, but, my heart is my compass and I was falling in love with HER, not a part of her body.

But then, after some thought shortly thereafter , she let me know that she couldn't take on a relationship now with so much uncertainty ahead of her and, she had to break up with me saying, it was a very hard decision but just something she couldn't handle now. Also she said with kindness it wasn't fair to me that she wouldn't be able to give me the attention I deserve (Of course, I poo-pooed this). Naturally, this was and continues to be deeply saddening to me. I consider myself a sensitive, empathetic guy, and she has been constantly on my mind, but, as hard as it's been, I understood she had to prioritize for her life. And of course, the hardest part is that as a new person in her life (she's separated and divorced yet with has two younger kids.), I have to accept that I take a back seat to her top priorities like her recovery, her kids, her family/friends and her job. I have been coming to terms with not be able to be by her side; it's not been easy.

She had the operation two days ago and I have no idea about her condition... and I now await, hopefully, word at some point that she is recovering well while I hold out hope that some day, not too far into the future, she may trust me and invite me back into her life. I just have to be patient, and present when -- and if --she decides it's time.

I'm grateful to have found this community to express what it is like from a caring man's point of view. There are guys like us out there but, like people say, even in the best of circumstances, finding a person you click with is a "numbers game," "a needle in a haystack" and all the other bromides. For you now it's even tougher but something tells me when you will know the right time to tell him -- and you'll probably know in your gut when that is. I think you'll also know right away if he's the right chap for you. My hope is he indeed is.

I will be making her a card today and sending her a book of poetry (we both share a love of poetry).

Love truly is a potent medicine.

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Jun 28, 2017 01:56PM GoGo2462 wrote:

Kamjam: THANK YOU for sharing. Your story has a lot of similarities to mine and really struck a cord with me, but of course from the other side of the diagnosis fence. It is definitely not easy on either side of this damn fence between cancer warriors and those who are there to help them. As a new patient I am already overwhelmed by information, tests, and outpouring of love and concern from those in my "inner circle" of family, friends and work colleagues who are aware of my diagnosis. If I also had to focus on children that must bring an entirely different dynamic to how I would react (if I were in her shoes).

I am not looking for this guy to "take care of me", or to be the knight riding in on the white horse to make things all better. And I certainly don't want him to think that is my expectation that he will be my caretaker in sharing my diagnosis news with him. As an empathetic person (as you describe yourself above), that is most difficult to hear that someone declines your offer of support and help.

It might be nice for her to hear from you via the card, just so she knows you are thinking of her. Maybe in time as she gets through surgery and recovery, and she gets her head around her next steps she will want to reconsider a relationship, or at least getting together. It is a lot for both of you to handle.

For me and "my guy" I am going to see what happens. While I am single, he is the separated one with kids (older), so I don't know for sure what that means for him either. I believe that I was blessed to meet this guy, and while I have no control over the timing of all of this I am hopeful that there is a purpose to all of this happening when it did.

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Jun 28, 2017 06:49PM Artista928 wrote:

jamkam- What a great guy you are. I would stay in touch with her. Maybe text her on occasion to see how she's doing. Doesn't mean you can't be friends right now.

Dx'd at 50. Doing it all, all by myself. Stopped Letrozole after 5 weeks. Debilitating se's. Back on Tamox now. Dx 6/2/2015, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (DUAL) Surgery 8/6/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/3/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Radiation Therapy 5/2/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 12/9/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 2/14/2017 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 3/26/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 9/1/2017 Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant
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Jun 28, 2017 07:48PM MinusTwo wrote:

I think you should just send a card by 'snail mail' for now. She will be busy & overwhelmed. A card in the mailbox will give her a lift. A text might make her more stressed.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jun 29, 2017 09:51PM - edited Jun 29, 2017 10:01PM by jamkam

Hi again...Thank you all! It took me a while to be able to reply to you, GG (and Arista and Minus, but when I read your posts last night, I just basically completely lost it. It was a cry I needed desperately, finally.

Of course, I've certainly not gone thru the dx and all mountains of fear and anxiety that follows and of course, children -- especially a teen--create another level of sapping your energy cuz you want them to feel safe and loved.

Yet, as much as loved ones/friends/family SAY we try to understand, we just can't. We can only be, to someone we care about, someone who cares. As for me, I feel that no matter what happens, for now I need to repeat her wishes and retreat and, maybe one day, she will want my care, affection and attention. But, I really am starting to begin to comprehend the trepidation a woman must feel post-op. And from the spouse threads I've poked thru, too many seem to end sadly with separation and after many years, at that. For me, that's impossible to fathom.

With some perseverance — and maybe a little note card and a book of poems and a cheese basket (!)-- she will appreciate me more...or maybe not , and then it wasn't meant to be. But if one truly cares for someone, it should be all between the ears and the any physical changes should matter less than specks on fly's antennae.

One thing I will say with sureness: Countless men could learn volumes in life lessons from the steadfast will, bravery and strength women demonstrate amidst trying times like these and how they persevere with silent dignity.

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Jul 13, 2017 07:08PM Aleksandra30 wrote:

Dear GoGo, I am in a very similar situation. I am 30 years old and in hope of starting family one day. I have met someone online (yay jamkam!) a few weeks ago. If I remember correctly, I felt the lump in my left breast few days before our first date. I believe on our third date I mentioned going to the doctor and he asked why, so I told him about having biopsy done and that it's probably nothing. Then, I got the news and I was crush. I texted him right away. I know, maybe prematurely, I guess I was just looking for some comfort, someone else to know and to help me to carry this burden. I think part of me expected him to run for the hills. I also don't want him to take care of me, but I do like him and want this to move forward in its natural pace. Well, he didn't run :) And still is not running and its being very supportive. I am happy I told him. I guess it all depends on person and I hope things will work out for you two and that you ell him whenever you fell comfortable with it. You is the most important right now. Love and hugs!

Dx 7/6/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 14, 2017 07:36AM - edited Jul 14, 2017 07:37AM by GoGo2462

I was coming back to send a quick update and saw your post Aeksandra30. Thanks for sharing! As it turns out, it appears that the "slow fade" is occurring even before I have an opportunity to share my diagnosis with this guy. While I am disappointed that this potential relationship may not move forward, I have been reminded by friends who are aware of my situation that I have a very large support network already in place. If it is not the "slow fade" and we see each other again I will try again. You have given me something to think about on how to bring the topic up, if that opportunity presents itself again with this particular guy.

At the moment it appears that it may not worked out in terms of this "budding relationship", and that is OK. If anything, this has been a learning opportunity if/when someone else crosses my path, because this is my new "normal" from now on...so I am thankful for the feedback here, and maybe this blog feed with be helpful to others that visit this site too!

Moving ahead to surgery in the coming weeks, so that is where my focus will be. Love and hugs to all!

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Jul 23, 2017 05:40AM edwards750 wrote:

There are some great guys out there. A friend of mine has a daughter who was DX with BC and had just met the man of her dreams. He's a bit younger than she is so she expected him to head for the high country when she told him. He didn't. Not only did he not flee he was compassionate and with her every step of the way through the surgery and chemo. What a stand up guy!

They are still together years later and in fact just bought a house together.

Diane

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Aug 2, 2017 12:22PM jamkam wrote:

Hi GG (and all)...I hope you're doing well in advance of your surgery and if it's happened, that your making good progress and not in too much discomfort. As for Diane, I know you must be right, there are definitely others like me who care about and love a person —not the changes that will occur— but unconditionally. Of course, that is not to diminish or even claim to know, as a man especially, what it's like for a woman facing this, but we can all certainly learn volumes from a women's courage and determination on the journey back.

As one might expect, I've still not heard from "S", the woman I was seeing that I mentioned before, she is 30 days post-op. I've been told (by an oncologist I spoke with, more on that in a min.) to just give her time, which I plan on doing as I steadfastly refuse to give up on her. As for you, maybe the guy will be back, if not, you clearly deserve someone who will stick with you no matter what. Everyone does.

I've learned so much from this thread and the wonderfully supportive folks writing in here. In my quest of knowledge and understanding, the brief exchanges here have been so helpful as a man, in countless ways but I need to know more. In fact, I've taken my desire to want to help "S" And being unable to, into helping others somehow. Thru this exploration of my own feelings I have: contacted an author (who wrote of her own experiences and others on this very subject of being a single post-op mastectomy patient; the book is called "Upfront: Sex, Dating and Post-Mastectomy Woman); a support group locally and a breast oncology surgeon. For me, the research was my way of channeling (i'm a filmmaker/journalist) my energy to do something to help being light to a topic that is probably misunderstood by men and frustratingly frightening to women. The topic so effected me that I dove in to get involved more closely with the subject wanting to help patients and their loved ones, so I'm now beginning a collaboration w/ the aforementioned NYC-area support group to create a film project on the subject.

If anyone is in the NYC area and might want to cooperate with us on this film project, we'd welcome participants who would want to share their stories and of course, there is no cost. As the project takes off, I will list a link here and if nothing else, hope to provide more insight for patients, family and of course, the men in their lives, all of whom struggle with the dx and the long road of acceptance returning to an eventual idea of finding a lover one day who will embrace one for who they are—inside and out.

My gratitude to all for listening,

Jim

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