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Topic: Please tell me this gets better

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: Mar 18, 2020 03:20PM

OnlyGirlof5 wrote:

Happy, healthy and active sex life before this nightmare began. All of the sudden, the rug was pulled out from underneath me. I just turned 50 and got the diagnosis. "Welcome to your 50s! These are the best years of your life. And, by the way, you have breast cancer."

I KNEW there would be bumps. I feared he would find the scars unattractive. He's been wonderful supporting me through all of this. He has taken such good care of me post surgery. Handled the disgusting drain. Attends all the appointments. I didn't want him to even see the scar, in fear it would freak him out. But he's been great.He assures me he's okay with it. However, scars, scars and more scars. Now I fear it has been too much.

I couldn't wait until we got the clear. Remember, I said we had an active sex life? I found myself nervous when we decided it was time. I expected some discomfort and awkwardness due to this missing part. I left a shirt on to hide the scar. We turned off all the lights because I was so self-conscious. It was awkward and clumsy but my body responded immediately. Things were fine and "upright" as long as we weren't facing each other. As soon as we tried our go-to position, instant deflation. We tried several more times in varying positions and the same result when returning to facing each other. Finally I just gave up. He finished and I wound up in tears.

I KNOW it's not his fault but it cut me to the core, I know he loves me, but his physical reaction is kind of hard to ignore. As much as I need sex, I can't handle this response knowing it's because of what I look like now.

Please tell me this gets better!

Age at dx: 50. Oncotype score 4. ICD (2 masses) and DCIS (1 mass); 1/3 nodes microscopically positive w/EE present. Radiation decision pending post 2/27/2020 surgery Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1 Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/27/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 18, 2020 04:45PM prepmom wrote:

I was also diagnosed at 50 in August. Instead of wearing a shirt could you maybe wear a sexy bralette?? I have a couple - one by coobie that I particularly like. Wearing it makes me less self conscious & seems to do the trick. I apologize if I am oversimplifying your situation. This is so hard!!! Even though I know I’m very lucky in the scheme of things, sometimes I just hate the new normal

Dx 5/24/2019, LCIS/DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/14/2019 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery
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Mar 18, 2020 04:57PM Moderators wrote:

Hi OnlyGirlof5 and welcome to Breastcancer.org,

We're so sorry for the reasons that bring you here, but we're really glad you've found us. As you can already see, our incredible Community is a wonderful source of advice, information, and support -- we're all here for you! Others will surely be by soon to weigh in with their thoughts and experiences, but we wanted to let you know that you're not alone. You're sure to get some great advice soon from others who have been there, too.

Sending big hugs your way and hoping to hear more from you soon!

--The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Mar 18, 2020 05:46PM bcincolorado wrote:

I was 49 when diagnosed. Our kids were already out of the house. Married a long time.

After healed up and everything I can say life is different but still good in the bedroom with my husband. Lots of changes with meds post surgery and being put into instant menapause right away. But we manage just fine now.

I was self conscious at first but he had to help me at first anyway with drains and stuff already saw me all mutilated anyway.

It will get better. Try to be patient and just make sure he knows you love him and still want him to be by you.

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/30/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 18, 2020 06:19PM OnlyGirlof5 wrote:

Thanks, Prepmom. I guess I could try that. I have not had reconstruction yet, so my left side is pretty flat and very ugly. I got the all clear and was scheduled to have all of my fills over the next 6 weeks with reconstruction potentially 3 months later. Hooray, we are starting the "fixing" process! Then all my appointments were cancelled because of the coronavirus :(. So I am left with this ugly, flattish, mashed up breast that is concave because of extra skin that had to be removed during surgery. It looks awful. The first fill was supposed to even it out somewhat, and I was hoping that would help the appearance a bit. Waiting for months to have the visual somewhat normal seems like an eternity. I am just hoping it won't take that long for him to overcome this "deflation" issue when looking at me :(

Age at dx: 50. Oncotype score 4. ICD (2 masses) and DCIS (1 mass); 1/3 nodes microscopically positive w/EE present. Radiation decision pending post 2/27/2020 surgery Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1 Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/27/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 18, 2020 06:34PM OnlyGirlof5 wrote:

Thank you for the encouragement BCinColorado. We've been married 32 years and have overcome many things. I am confident we will eventually overcome this hurdle. He was very sweet after and reminded me we had to take baby steps. I know he's right. I just want to feel normal again!

Age at dx: 50. Oncotype score 4. ICD (2 masses) and DCIS (1 mass); 1/3 nodes microscopically positive w/EE present. Radiation decision pending post 2/27/2020 surgery Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1 Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/27/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 18, 2020 07:00PM Nana2-8 wrote:

OnlyGirlof5 - I can hear the love you have for each other coming thru on your posts. Glad you reached out. As you said, you both have weathered other hurdles...and you will with this as well. As trying as this is for both of you right now, it is important that you 'keep trying', and keep talking, and keep intimate. Could you possibly be internalizing your own self-image and thus maybe 'tensing up' when you face each other? Can you, for the time being, complete without facing each other? And I second the suggestion to possibly wearing one of current (and flattering/sexy) braletts? I can verify, tho I did not have a mastectomy (and therefore cannot truly relate) my lumpectomy made for a pretty ugly scene. It surely took awhile before I felt comfortable being nude in front of him. And I was 69 then! However, I'm here to tell you....we managed that hurdle, as well. Now, I am facing mangling the opposite breast, and hope and pray we face that hurdle in the same way. Most of all....relish the love you have for one another.

Dx 9/23/2015, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/14/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Dx 2/21/2020, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 18, 2020 09:30PM bcincolorado wrote:

I had one side mx and chose not to "reduce and lift" my non-cancer side so I would still look like my real self. I did not want the additional surgery site but I'm actually glad I made that decision. I am extremely "lop-sided" but it is what it is. I had my mx in 2010 and finished exchange later that year after tissue expander done so we have lived with it for awhile. We are now 59 and 60 and married since 1982.

Just remember he does love you and you love him. Being alive and together is what is important. The rest will come.

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/30/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 18, 2020 11:14PM OnlyGirlof5 wrote:

Hello Nana2-8, I guess I didn't think of my internalization causing me to "tense-up." It felt normal but when positions changed and we found ourselves facing each other, he just deflated. Then it was the elephant in the room. He did mention before that we would need to be creative because he didn't want to hurt me. I imagine that possibility in his head must have played a big part. Because of my own self-consciousness, I just assumed it was my appearance. These past few months have been such a whirlwind. I haven't taken much time to think about how this has affected him. He has just repeatedly told me over these past few months not to worry about him, but to worry about myself. Because he has been such a rock to me through this, I failed to realize he may be scared himself. Thank you for the perspective.

Age at dx: 50. Oncotype score 4. ICD (2 masses) and DCIS (1 mass); 1/3 nodes microscopically positive w/EE present. Radiation decision pending post 2/27/2020 surgery Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1 Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/27/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 25, 2020 02:10PM DivineMrsM wrote:

Be open minded. Things don’t have to improve immediately. Really, there’s no need to rush. Your sex life has a different normal than before. How you feel about yourself and your body is certainly going to affect your sex life. You are still coming to terms with how your body has changed. It has not even been half a year since your diagnosis. Much has changed for you since December. You are a warrior princess who’s been through battle. Honor yourself and what your body has recently dealt with. You are in a new phase of life so take time to adjust to things.

I can certainly understand wearing a shirt but that can be a sexy thing. I’ve worn different shirts, lightweight jackets and romantic looking sweaters. And I never even had a mastectomy. I just prefer a little cover up sometime, it makes me feel confident.

Do tell your husband you don’t want to reveal your scar. He will respect that and there’s no reason you need to show him. None at all. It’s your body. Practice self care. Learn to love it and allow yourself to be upset with it all at the same time. You’ve been through A LOT. I wonder if you are minimizing what you’ve been through. Take care of yourself. Your husband is a good man and you two can figure things out as you go along. Best wishes.
found lump 12/22/10~er+/pr+/her2- stage iv bone mets------------- Chemo~lumpectomy~radiation~arimidex------------- March2019/Ibrance-Aromasin---------- Sept2019/Verzenio-Aromasin
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Mar 25, 2020 03:01PM Spookiesmom wrote:

There is a thread called I want my mojo back here, do a search for it. I’m sure the ladies there could help both of you.

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Mar 25, 2020 03:29PM OnlyGirlof5 wrote:

DivineMrsM - I think you hit the nail on the head: I am minimizing what I went through. I have always taken solace as being the person others can rely on and get things done. Everyone around me tells me how I am the strongest person they know. Internally I feel nothing of the sort. I feel beat up both emotionally and physically.

I did have a frank talk with my husband. We both were able to be honest, and I feel that helped us get over the first bump. We both love each other very much so I am confident we will get through it.

For now, I will take your advice and let myself process this. You are right. I have been through a LOT. I need to give my self more space.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Age at dx: 50. Oncotype score 4. ICD (2 masses) and DCIS (1 mass); 1/3 nodes microscopically positive w/EE present. Radiation decision pending post 2/27/2020 surgery Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1 Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/27/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 25, 2020 07:39PM - edited Mar 25, 2020 07:47PM by DivineMrsM

OnlyGirl, you feel beat up both emotionally and physically because you were/are. Give yourself the gift of time to heal. Yes, put you first.

You may feel it’s your responsibility to “get over” this “breast cancer thing”so everyone else’s life (and yours) can be “back to normal”. But some of the focus must be on you, what you went through and the changes its brought about and should not be shoved under a rug because it’s “not pretty” or “too scary” or makes others uncomfortable.

We all need to reassess our lives from time to time to see what's working, what's not working and to make adjustments. Now would be one of those times for you. Learn to use your “no" muscle by turning down activities where others want you in charge. Allow yourself the freedom to only take on things you really love. It's like pruning your life to give it more quality and not quantity.


found lump 12/22/10~er+/pr+/her2- stage iv bone mets------------- Chemo~lumpectomy~radiation~arimidex------------- March2019/Ibrance-Aromasin---------- Sept2019/Verzenio-Aromasin
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Mar 25, 2020 08:20PM OnlyGirlof5 wrote:

You are so right, DivineMrsM. I have tried to "get over this" and get it behind me as quickly as possible. I've not allowed myself to process this because I do not want it to define me.

It is tough to wrap my head around. I have always used humor as a way of coping with difficult situations. I figured it was better to laugh than to cry. I am coming to realize that sometimes I just need to cry, and give myself permission to get angry. I just need to find the right way to be angry and what to aim my anger at. Sometimes that gets mixed up too.

Thank you again for your encouragement. You must have been through this before Winking

Age at dx: 50. Oncotype score 4. ICD (2 masses) and DCIS (1 mass); 1/3 nodes microscopically positive w/EE present. Radiation decision pending post 2/27/2020 surgery Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1 Dx 12/11/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/27/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/27/2020 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 25, 2020 10:00PM DivineMrsM wrote:

Yes, OnlyGirl, I've minimized what's going on with myself many times and am learning to allow myself the time and space to take care of me. I was diagnosed in my early 50s, now in my early 60s with a 30+ year marriage, so we share similarities. Reliable? Omg, that was me! Strong, dependable? Me again! Miss Multi-tasker. I look back now and think, wow, I was doing too much.

I can understand you do not want bc to define you, and it doesn't have to. I think if you give yourself time now to deal with it, you will move beyond it over time. It will always remain an episode in your life but it doesn't have to become who you are.

Hey, laughter, crying, anger—-embrace all the emotions. All the feels, as they say. Take time to sort them all out, There's great societal pressure for women to put a big honking pretty pink smile on and say, “I'm okay!" and we're sure not supposed to feel anger. You are at a time in your life where you can challenge the way others think you should behave and be more true to yourself.

There's also the societal pressure for women to look a certain way (perfect). Too many women (and I think men, too, we just don't hear about it often) are critical of their body image. You may have reached a point where you came to accept and love and felt comfortable in your body as a mature woman and then, bam! bc comes along altering the physical you. You are faced with new challenges you didn't expect. Over time you will adjust. You still have a really great life ahead of you.


found lump 12/22/10~er+/pr+/her2- stage iv bone mets------------- Chemo~lumpectomy~radiation~arimidex------------- March2019/Ibrance-Aromasin---------- Sept2019/Verzenio-Aromasin

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