A safe place to talk candidly about how your romantic relationships and/or your sex life has changed following your diagnosis and treatment.
Dec 30, 2019 01:17AM
I’m feeling bad for myself tonight and no one else can understand. I’m 31 years old. I had a mastectomy (nipples included) in May and just had my final reconstruction three weeks ago. My good friend recently had a breast augmentation (no cancer) and said, “Is your husband driving you crazy since your surgery? Mine can’t keep his hands off of me.” It made me sad...
Because no, that’s not a problem at all. Quite the opposite. I know I can in no way compare my situation to hers.. And she is a bit clueless and insensitive, but it still makes me realize how much my marriage and sex life has changed this year. I know that my reconstruction was a result of cancer and that completely changes things, but it has been nearly a month since the surgery and not once has my husband asked to look at them, feel them.. nothing. We haven’t had sex in four months. The worst part? He seems way less concerned about this than me.. And I’m only concerned about it in theory. I’m worried about it in the same way a therapist might be (“What’s the meaning behind this? Is it ok? Is the marriage in jeopardy?”) When it comes to actual desire, I have very little myself and can’t get myself to work on things in this area.
I am on AIs and Lupron am going through menopause as a result. Anyone else? Feeling sad.
4/10/2019, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 30, 2019 08:29PM
My husband and I have both noticed a decline in our libidos since my BMX in Aug. I did not have reconstruction and while my husband has seen my scars, he has said he feels like I should be the one to initiate him looking at them. When we talk about the changes in our lives since my surgery, it occurs to me that we are still reeling somewhat from the cancer dx and surgery. We are not particularly concerned about it at this point and are waiting for our emotions to “restore”. I really do trust we will get back to our “normal” selves eventually. In the meantime, we spend time in intimate conversation and affection towards one another. The bc dx has brought us closer in many ways. Give yourselves some time and remain close in other ways.
3/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal
7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
8/13/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jan 4, 2020 08:35PM
I went through all of this in 2016 and feel like I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! (I'm on Lupron and an AI and right now looking at 10yrs min with possible 15yrs) I think the thing I mourned the most during all of this was my permanent loss of hormones. All my friends were in their "dirty thirties" and I'm sitting here like Justin Timberlake's gray troll character from the movie "Trolls" with NO FEELINGS or desire for intimacy. There ARE things you can do that are super safe. If your oncologist doesn't take you seriously then get a new one. Mine is 74 and loves to talk about current studies with me so I throw him curve balls and he gives me the latest research. The first thing that is super easy is to ask for a prescription of the Estring. That will make everything normal again "down there" without increasing your blood estrogen levels. If you're worried, test your blood levels before and then 3 months after using it. It looks like a Nuvaring and you leave it in for 3 months at a time. Secondly - go to marriage counseling. I think that when we had regular sex we could cover over many of our problems with a "sex Band-Aid" but when you take that away, the poor communication and issues that have always been there rise to the surface. We have LOVED IT. Sometimes, it's just simply the wonder of a third party being a sounding board for a disagreement and breaking it down with us. It has really helped. There's probably a lot of things being unsaid that need to be said. Third, and this is slightly controversial although I DO NOT put up with fad medical things and I have done a lot of research on this subject which involves legit NIH studies AND I talked to my oncologist about it and brought him in on it. It's testosterone therapy. I finally decided to try the pellet implant and it's a game changer for my sex life. I feel like a newly-wed. Since I'm on an AI, the testosterone CANNOT turn into estrogen. Again, if you're worried, test your estrogen levels after 3 months to make sure they're still basically zero. I hate that they have to jab a pellet into my arse every 3-4 months and of COURSE insurance doesn't cover it. I hope that the FDA eventually approves this for breast cancer survivors so that our insurance will cover it and it will be life-changing! Plus if it becomes more mainstream then some smart company will invent a better insertion method. Here's one of many places to find some info on it. I wish you well!
2/11/2016, LCIS/ILC/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
3/15/2016 AC + T (Taxol)
7/26/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
8/3/2016 Lumpectomy: Left
10/31/2016 Aromasin (exemestane)
3/28/2017 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jan 4, 2020 09:51PM
No but your friend sounds oblivious. Breast augmentation or implants when you still have your breasts is totally different then having implants put in after removing ALL breast tissue and nipples. I have seen women online say things like "well if I have breast cancer I am going to get a brand new pair! and bigger" or comments like that, as if it's just a replacement/upgrade. Personally I did not get reconstruction for various reasons, but to some people if you look the same in a shirt as you did before (but maybe now "perkier" and bigger) than all must be cool and maybe even better...
You are right though - it is sad. Breast cancer is sad, especially for younger women. I was in my physical prime and hot and had great breasts when this happened to me at 35. I hate seeing women flash their tits on social media and do all kinds of things that is somehow empowering to them but is just alienating to me. And it all seems so unfair. I've also dealt with friends who I thought were smart and receptive people - say idiotic clueless things. Some harmless, like asking if I could still breastfeed (post-mastectomy) if I had kids, another, after me talking about dreading finding a swimsuit - suggesting I could get reconstruction (uh, I don't want to change the whole path I'm on I just wish it was easier to find a swimsuit and I don't think I even tried on clothes for a year, but all good now), or just attempts at making jokes that were unnecessary. I would be more open about my situation if I didn't realize how warped people's ideas about breast cancer are. Or ideas about gender/identity/the body whatever...... People just don't get it especially in your 30s, NOBODY I know is going through this, it's all people's moms... It has gotten a little easier though, and will get easier for you! I now just limit who I talk to about these things.
Sorry that doesn't help regarding your husband but I imagine you'll have another friend say something kind of stupid that stings a little in the future. It is basically just ignorance. Try not to take it personally.
How was your relationship with your husband before all of this? Things are still pretty fresh. You should try to have a conversation of some kind or I hope you're at least snuggling and having other kinds of physical exchanges. He might worry you are too fragile for it or have some other hang up that is much different from him not being attracted to you any more or some form of rejection. He might even think he is being respectful by not trying to touch you there. You have to talk to him and find out!
Also stinks you are going through menopause (so early/due to AI) that terrifies me. It sounds like you are handling things better than he is. You are still very young, he may be shocked you are having to even deal with this so soon. Some men are very supportive (and even come onto this forum trying to figure out how they can help their partner) while some men become cowards, or selfish, or leave their wives after they are diagnosed, it's insane. Hopefully this is just a difficult phase (not unlike what couples go through when a child is born) that you will pull out of.
Age 35 at diagnosis
9/2017, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
12/1/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right