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Topic: Sexual Intimacy after Masectomy and an Affair Possible?

Forum: Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer, Open to All To Contribute —

Topics here are started by members with a Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer diagnosis, but open to all members to contribute to discussions. Please note that there is a separate forum, Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY, where topics are open only to those members.

Posted on: May 4, 2020 07:49AM

Harr17 wrote:

I've never posted before but I'm in need of hope and wisdom.

At age 34, I was diagnosed with stage IV bc that metastasized to my bones. I am married with 2 young daughters (ages 4&5 at the time).

A week after diagnosis my port was placed and I started “the red devil" among other chemos, had a double mastectomy, radiation and a hysterectomy all within 10 months.

My tumors had spread to the skin around my breasts so the only option was total removal. All my skin, nipples...everything down to my ribs. Reconstruction with expanders weren't in the cards and because of the radiation needed, it would be at least a year before I could see what my other reconstruction options were. Oh, and I was thrown into menopause.

My husband and I had been married for 8 years at the time and our relationship was strong, not perfect, but good. We were in the throws of life with 2 young girls and we both worked full time. But there was lots of love and friendship.

I shared my fears and new insecurities with my husband. I cried over losing my breasts and how I now looked like a skinny 12 y/o boy. No hair, no breasts and all the symptoms menopause throws at you.

As hard as I tried, I felt very self conscious without breasts. So after a year and a half out from my radiation, I was able to get my reconstruction. It was a terrible surgery but it helped me gain some confidence back.

During this time, my husband barely had sex with me. I would try to not let it bother me and I would internally give him excuses. Excuses like...I don't have nipples, scars everywhere and maybe he's seen too much. He told me he loved me and he was a wonderful father to our girls but I wanted to know that he still saw ME. Me, his wife, mother to his children, a woman who he's always found smart, attractive and sexy. We've always had a strong friendship and I trusted him 1000%.

I felt like a sickly and disfigured person, but I hid that. I felt rejection from him but would excuse it and decided to focus on the good.

It has now been 7 years since my stage IV diagnosis and I have beaten so many odds and turned 41 back in February 2020!

May of 2019 I had more tumor progression and unfortunately in the last year, the treatments haven't been working. I'm on a new one now and am still full of hope.

But this February, Valentines weekend, I found out my husband has been having an affair for the last 3 years. He left an app open that he used to communicate with her, send videos, etc...it was so explicit, shocking and I saw things I will never be able to unsee.

When he sought out and started his affair 3 years ago, I was at my best. Treatments were working with little to no side effects, I was back in shape, kicking butt at work and all around back to me. No one would have ever thought I had a terminal illness. And yet my husband wouldn't have sex with me. He rejected me when I tried, so in the meantime, my self confidence was plummeting. I just kept my head down thinking this was a rough patch but we were working towards the same goal.

He broke off the affair immediately, started therapy and is doing all the “right" things to try to win me back. We have been separated since I found out.

Through all the many things that have come out, he finally admitted that he wasn't attracted to me because I don't have nipples. He was so turned off, he couldn't even pretend or try. So instead, he turned to another to be turned on by her body. He also told the other woman we weren't having sex because I had a hysterectomy and am post menopausal. He used my very worst insecurities against me. Things I had to do to save my life.

He says he's so ashamed and cannot believe he's done this. He says he was selfish and that he will spend the rest of his life making it up to me. How can I ever trust him again?

He took my most vulnerable time and instead of protecting me, he demolished me further.

The thing that I'm wrestling with is that I believe he's sincere (and only time will prove that), we have our girls and our families are so close...I've gone to therapy with him and I do believe we can build back a friendship to amicably raise our children but how do I ever trust him enough to bring sexual intimacy back? He says that he is attracted to so many other things about me and this was his issue...but knowing what I now know...how do I ever let him see my body, touch my body and use my body for pleasure ever again?

I'm so horribly humiliated, demolished and hurt...all this while I'm quite literally fighting for my life.

Has anyone dealt with something like this? I'm really struggling.

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May 4, 2020 09:32AM SoulShine1969 wrote:

Harr17-

I am so terribly sorry that the one person who vowed to love you and hold you when you were sick has failed you. What a low down jerk( I can’t say what I really want to call him). None of this is your fault, it was all beyond your control. You needed more than he gave you. I’m so angry for you.

I actually can relate to so much of what you said. I too was completely rejected, humiliated and emotionally eviscerated. The scars run deep. I’m nine years out from having Salpingo Oophorectomy and double mastectomy due to BRCA1. Five years ago I ended up getting TNBC in what little tissue I had left. Chemo, radiation, more surgeries. I feel like I’ve been whittled away. But the physical pain has never been as bad as the emotional pain.

Next month will mark 24 years of this wedded union. I don’t know why I haven’t divorced him, it just never seems like the right time and now with this Covid crisis leaving is impossible.

My heart absolutely breaks for you. For your health you need to be emotionally and physically safe. Even if you can’t leave because of the kids and other commitments, you need to create a safe space for yourself. Can you get counseling for yourself to help work through your own feelings? It’s helped for me.

No one deserves the way you have been treated. You deserve so much more. I’m here for you anytime you need a friend.

I’m sending hugs

Rebecc

Surgery 10/14/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 12/29/2013 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 2/18/2015, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/30/2015 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 5/2/2015 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/3/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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May 6, 2020 03:02AM Anotherone wrote:

Hi Harr

Affair , no intimacy and MBC would be heart breaking each on their own ! And you have all 3 of them... All while trying to bring up children ...

First of all I would not call your partner names or judge him that harshly - if one is not attracted to something/someone there is not much one can do about it. Honorable thing would be to leave then but leaving someone with metastatic cancer would feel mean as well so he would feel trapped.

I believe a big issue is your confidence about you being attractive- if you do not have that it is not going to work. Catch 22 is that your partner is not in a position for you to have that attractiveness explored with him...

I probably would have separated and dated others. That is if you have sex drive , can get aroused and orgasm. Or may be even if you can not - there bound to be people who are looking for the same .. Then once you are comfortable in your skin and your partner still wants you back see whether there is a spark with him.

If you want to .. If not you can just move on - for us life is so short spending it with someone who does not fancy you while you have sex drive would be a waste..

But that's me - I don't think I would have stayed with him without sex for 1 year, let alone 7 .. I am not sure I would have been able to get over a 3 year affair if I felt rejected during this time either...

I think suggestion of councelling for you is good.

It is a very tough situation to deal with..

Hugs

Primary in 2006, metastasis 2019. Sorry can lot log in diagnosis and treatment info properly - it gets jumbled. On Kadcyla now as had progression on H&P Dx 10/10/2006, IDC, Left, Stage IIIC, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Dx 7/1/2019, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs Chemotherapy 9/16/2019 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy External: Chest wall Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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May 24, 2020 10:31AM JFL wrote:

Hart17, I am sorry to hear about your heart breaking situation. Amazing you recently turned 42! I am 43. Diagnosed originally at 30 and with mets at 38. I don’t have the answers but do you go to therapy by yourself? It would be good to try to make sense of this from a therapist that works with cancer patients. If you are separated, perhaps you should consider dating others as most guys do not care you have no nipples. It may help to rebuild your self confidence, even if you plan to try to make it work with your DH. The issue is not your body but your DH. You need to know that. You don’t deserve to spend the rest of your life feeling like you are not worthy of sexual attraction. That is BS. I was single when I had my mastectomy and dated and didn’t run into any problems with that. I suspect the issues run deeper with your DH and he is using that as an excuse.

Chart your own course. Dx at 30. Dx with mets at 38 while pregnant - extensive liver & bone involvement. Currently on Enhertu & XGeva. ER+/PR+, HER2-low (IHC equivocal, +2/FISH negative). Y90 liver radioembolization in 2018. Dx 9/2006, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/22/2006 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 11/6/2006 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 3/15/2007 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 12/2014, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/other, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 12/26/2014 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 12/26/2014 Aromasin (exemestane), Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 6/18/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Chemotherapy 3/10/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 5/14/2017 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 5/14/2017 Afinitor (everolimus) Chemotherapy 8/18/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 3/23/2018 Doxil (doxorubicin) Chemotherapy 4/26/2019 Navelbine (vinorelbine) Hormonal Therapy 4/26/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Chemotherapy 11/27/2019 Gemzar (gemcitabine) Hormonal Therapy 8/25/2020 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2020 Piqray (alpelisib) Targeted Therapy 10/2/2020 Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki)
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Jun 26, 2020 07:42PM - edited Jun 26, 2020 07:44PM by Fukcancer

I’m so sorry this happened to you. I'd leave his sorry ass. What a jerk. An affair for 3 years?? Gross. Don't let the fact that you have cancer allow someone to mistreat you and stay in a bad situation. How would he like it if the tables were turned? You deserve better!

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Jun 26, 2020 08:35PM DATNY wrote:

Life is so complicated, nothing is black and white, everything has shades of gray. Why throw out of your life a person who still wants to make it right to you? I think he might be honest, he still believes you are the one, but probably has his set of unfulfilled needs that he didn't find a better way to deal with. I guess like most other husbands with wives that have gone through this experience, though many won't say it and many would learn to deal with it without having to cheat.

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