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Topic: How to approach subject of sex?

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: Sep 3, 2019 03:15PM

Husband007 wrote:

My wife was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer about 6 months ago. The first few weeks were stressful, scary and exhausting to say the least. Multiple dr.s visits and trying to understand what everything meant, thinking what would I do if my wife doesn't make it through all of this. She's gone through two months of a-c and then 3 months of taxol. The last MRI showed the tumor had shrunk about 50%. Most of the last 5 months she's been tired, sick, in menopause with hot flashes and her fingernails hurt, she wakes up most days with her stomach hurting. It's been months since we had sex and until recently months since we had a date night (dinner/movie) because she's been exhausted. She's having surgery next week (double mastectomy), and then weeks of recovery and then weeks of radiation. I have so many things running through my head and I'm sure she does too. I’m sure she feels wierd being bald, having that port sticking out and just generally being tired/feeling crappy. I wanna bring up sex to her but I'm afraid it will come off as insensitive and all I want to do is be supportive and sensitive to what she is going through. Before I posted this, I read through several threads on here and I see I'm not the only person confused and lost with how/when to approach the subject. Our sex life over the 20 years we've been together has been up and down based on career focus, raising a kid and many other excuses but before she was diagnosed everything was great and we were both putting a lot of effort into us. I don't want months to turn into years and I know we have at least a few more months of her being exhausted from all that's going on. I’d like to let her know that I’m ready when she is and that the hair, port and what she’ll look like after surgery isn’t what’s important to me.

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Sep 3, 2019 03:22PM wrenn wrote:

Let her bring it up?

Metaplastic IDC Triple negative...Tumour is 1.5cm. BMX Aug. 16th. Chemo cancelled after one dose due to complications. Dx 7/25/2013, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Sep 3, 2019 03:37PM Betrayal wrote:

Who says a date night has to be outside of the home? Can you bring in a dinner she wants and rent a movie through redbox or on demand via your cable service? Getting dressed to go out can be exhausting when you have so many other things going on that make you feel awful.

I agree with letting her bring it up but I also think she needs to know that you love her no matter what. Bring flowers for no occasion, a dessert she loves, etc. so that she recognizes there is still a spark. Being present is the most important thing.

Dx 1/7/2016, DCIS/ILC/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/1/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 2/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 3/4/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/31/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/25/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 5/19/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 3, 2019 03:45PM Moderators wrote:

Hi Husband007 and welcome to,

We're so sorry to hear of your wife's diagnosis, but we're glad you've found us. Our community is full of members who have experienced similar circumstances. Obviously, this is a sensitive subject and it's true that a breast cancer diagnosis affects so many aspects of one's life, including relationships.

We hope you find support and advice here soon. You may also wish to check out the For Caregivers, Family, Friends and Supporters forum, where you can meet others who are supporting a loved one through a breast cancer diagnosis.

Please let us know if you need any help at all.

--The Mods

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Sep 3, 2019 03:48PM OnTarget wrote:

I love that you are thinking about this and how to approach it. I think that to be supportive, it is good if she knows you are turned on by her, but no overly pressureful about it.

Diagnosed at 42, Oncotype score 16, ITC in one node- considered node negative Dx 4/8/2019, ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/23/2019, ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Chemotherapy 8/6/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/6/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Sep 3, 2019 04:02PM Beesie wrote:

I think the idea of a date night at home is great. You can also do things to maintain a physical closeness without being sexual, such as rubbing her feet or legs, or giving her a gentle (very very gentle) back rub. Offer up and find out what she'd like.

As for sex, of course it's important that you not put any pressure on her, but the way you worded it here, saying that you want her to know that you are ready when she is, and that the hair, the port and the BMX surgery isn't what's important to you, is exactly what you should tell her. Maybe on one of those date nights.

“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Sep 3, 2019 05:18PM illimae wrote:

Let her know you still think she’s hot and kiss her often. Physical stuff may be very difficult right now, I remember when my nails, back, skin hurt, everything sucked. And like others said, no pressure, even if she seems to be dealing with this well, the worry in her head is unimaginable and many normal things loss priority. You might have to take care of yourself for several months and when you do get around to it, do everything possible to prevent pain, nothing kills the mood faster than razor blades, seriously, the effects of chemo are easy to see on the outside but inside, many of us weren’t warned about or prepared for.

Best of luck to you both 🙂

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 4, 2019 10:44AM Husband007 wrote:

Thanks for all of the replies. I’ll wait until she’s ready but historically sex isn’t something she’s been comfortable talking about openly.

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