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All TopicsForum: Sex & Relationship Matters → Topic: Partners reaction to breast cancer

Topic: Partners reaction to breast cancer

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: Feb 12, 2018 08:00PM

HBelle wrote:

I was treated for BC in 2008, chemo, mastectomy. I underwent reconstruction with a prosthesis within the same year. I had been married almost 20 years at the time. The cancer was discovered after breast reduction surgery. I never felt "less sexy or even shy of my body after the surgery. In fact I didn't want to waste a minute of my life feeling sorry for myself. I was greatful the cancer was found.

What I never expected was my husband's reaction to the diagnosis and treatment of the diseàse. Our intmacy seemed to change overnight and It was not me that turned away, I was desperate to reconnect. It was as if I was already dead in his eyes. As if I was suddenly sickly and weak. I had revealed my mortality, my vulnerability and was found wanting.

I had to help him adjust to the diagnosis rather than expect support for myself. I often went to treatments alone, kept doing aĺl the things I normally did, trying not to impact my family more than necessary.

Flash forward to 2018. I am divorcing my husband. I am healthy and whole. I was never less than before. Cancer showed the cracks in my husband's character. These cracks became fissures and I could not repair them. If I had it to do over I would have seen the writing on the wall in the beginning and ended it years ago.

Cancer will never define me as a person. NEVER


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Feb 12, 2018 08:24PM Georgia1 wrote:

HBelle, thank you so much for sharing that - you sound like a really smart, thoughtful, "together" woman. My own view is that some men just can't handle mortality; if someone is sick or even God forbid has their period it makes them remember that death comes to us all and they just lose it. Good for you for being strong and knowing what you need to be happy. I wish you all the best!!

Cancer touched my breast so I kicked its ass. Dx 9/3/2017, ILC/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/10/2017, LCIS, Right, 0/1 nodes Surgery 10/10/2017 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 11/27/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 12, 2018 09:33PM Moderators wrote:

Hi HBelle-

Thank you so much for sharing your story! We wish you the best!

The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Feb 13, 2018 07:24PM - edited Feb 13, 2018 07:25PM by feliciascintillation

HBelle~ Thanks for sharing your story. You sound like a strong and positive woman. I have found my BC diagnosis and treatment sometimes offer me more clarity in situations which I didn't expect. Best of luck to you and your new beginning.

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~ Mary Engelbreit
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Feb 14, 2018 04:12AM Traveltext wrote:

Good on you HBelle, what a great move. All the best for the future.


NED breast and prostate cancer. More on Male BC

Dx 03/14, IBC, Lgth. 2cm, Stge IIIB, Gde 2B, ER+/PR+, HER2- ; FEC x3, Taxol x3; Mx & 2/23 nodes; Rads x 33; now on tamoxofin.

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Feb 14, 2018 04:30AM Dustien wrote:

HBelle, His Loss...Your Gain.  Cool!

If you get lonely, just pop in and start chatting.  I'm new here, but not to chatting.  Chatting always helped me get through the hardest time.  If it were not for the smoking cessation forum in about.com I'd still be smoking a pack a day and I'll bet this cancer of mine would be all screwed up.  Thanks to that forum and all it's great members, I've been smoke free for 12 years now (after 35 yrs of 1 pack a day).  No doubt in my mind that being smoke free has kept this cancer of mine small and well behaved until I could discover it on my yearly mammo in time to deal with it safely and quickly.

So during this time, if you find yourself missing the ex SOB (Son of a Female Dog) pop in here and replace him with your own SOBWs (Sisters of Beauty and Wisdom). In one 24 hour period I've learned that all in here are truly beautiful and truly wise, and I'd love to have them all as my sister!  Hope the same goes for you.

Congrats on being YOUR OWN WOMAN now!

DustieN Dx 2/5/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/23/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy Multi-catheter: Breast
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Feb 14, 2018 06:53AM Paco wrote:

HBelle,

Good for you. Sometimes it takes times of adversity to see someone's true colors. I'm sorry your marriage had to end but you made it through hell and back and you will continue to thrive going forward. Best wishes for your new life in 2018 and beyond.

Dx @ 48 Dx 12/28/2017, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/13/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 3/27/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 4/25/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 14, 2018 09:19AM Micmel wrote:

All I can say is poo poo on him. You’re a strong beautiful woman. The character of people certainly does come through during sickness, Ive lost friends, family, but he is the one in the end that is in no way whole. When Mr or Mrs. Kharma comes a knocking. You have no choice but to answer. Be strong! ~M~

Dx 1/22/2016, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, 13/35 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/10/2016 AC Surgery 6/21/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 7/20/2016 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 11/7/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery Chemotherapy Chemotherapy
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Feb 14, 2018 11:08AM HBelle wrote:

Wow, thanks for all the supportive responses. I am now realizing that moving forward with a new relationship requires me to trust another man. I thought I had worked through all the hurt and disappointment already. I recently had the opportunity to have sex with a man. It really was too soon for me regardless but there was a moment when I thought " Oh what the heck, go for it". Then I felt I had to tell him about my breast. I felt as if he was really uncomfortable. I made a quick exit and we have had a brief communication since then which seemed like a good bye. He may have just been annoyed that I didn't have sex with him and lead him on.

I made the right decision for myself. I don't know if I was reading his reaction as the same as my husband's. I had not considered the implications of being a breast cancer survivor and dating.

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Feb 25, 2018 07:32PM beach2beach wrote:

My husband and I have had a relationship of being together just for the kids for the past 8-9yrs. We live in the same house. Amicable. When I told him I may have cancer, his reply was wow, that sucks. When I told him I had cancer, not a supportive word came out of his mouth. Not I'm sorry, not it will be ok, not can i do anything, go anywhere with you. Nothing. I even had to ask if he was coming when I had the mastectomy. His reply, do you want me to? Maybe it's because sex has been off the table for the last 9years,,maybe more, but I still had some expectation that he would give me something being the mother of his children. I said to him, I'm the mother of your kids, don't you think you should be there in case? Ask me if I needed anything after surgery, come up and say how are you feeling. Nothing. To him, and it's my fault, life continued as always, I was up and doing everything right after. Thank goodness for good friends.

I realized that I would have gotten more care from a roommate. I was checked out of the marriage years ago, but this certainly changed the way I look at him as a person. Divorce on the horizon soon.

Glad you never saw yourself as less than. Glad you took control of your life and decided what you want you should have. I hope to get to that place soon.

Dx 7/28/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/12/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 25, 2018 08:00PM HBelle wrote:

I am sorry you are going through this. I remember thinking that if one more person said to me that cancer has it's gifts I would scream. I have come to reframe that concept. Life presents us with the gifts of opportunity. This is your opportunity to honour yourself, to treat yourself with the same compassion you would extend to your children, to your friends. Any energy you expend on your spouse, on being disappointed, on being angry is draining your reserves. You shall be needing every ounce of energy for YOU and you are worth it.

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Feb 26, 2018 10:56AM Momine wrote:

HBelle, agree on all points. I took cancer the same way, as the time to take care of #1.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/20/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/13/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/9/2012 Surgery 3/8/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 26, 2018 03:36PM beach2beach wrote:

You are absolutely right , very well said.

Dx 7/28/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/12/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 8, 2018 08:44PM gardengypsy wrote:

Three weeks ago, my partner of five years left me. I am a year and a half post-treatment, and my recovery has been very difficult. I have very bad neuropathy, I'm exhausted from the Gabapentin and Tamoxifen and our sex life suffered a lot. The entire experience knocked the sh*t out of me, yet he seemed not to understand. Although I was forced to retire from my teaching career and am receiving disability income, he continually pressured me to do things I was not ready for, such as travel. In therapy, he admitted to not being able to adjust to our new normal. With the exception of inquiring about retrieving his clothing from the house, he has not communicated with me at all. Although we own a house together, he has not once checked in on me to make sure that I am ok. For five years, he has been my main source ofphysical and moral support.

I am having trouble with closure. He has already been dating and I feel totally abandoned. My therapist, who specializes in oncology, says that relationships can really suffer with this diagnosis, treatment and recovery. I know this freedom will bring wonderful things, but for now, it sucks.


Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/5/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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