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Topic: Dating After Recostruction (and CANCER!)

Forum: Singles With Breast Cancer —

Singles with breast cancer who want to connect.

Posted on: Sep 28, 2009 02:28PM

elizzim wrote:

Hi friends,

I thought I would start a new topic, since I know there MUST be others like me out there?! I was diagnosed last December (2008), and 2009 was spent in treatment thus far: bilateral MX w/ TE's, chemo, and then exchange to Allergan 410's (Gummies). Facing cancer did one great thing for me: it taught me that I do, really want to experience love again in my life.

I'm a very young 47, single (divorced with 2 beautiful daughters), and faced with the prospect of dating as a completely different, less confident person than I was before I last dated, before BC. It's funny - I managed to stay pretty positive and hopeful through treatment. But ironically, now that it's mostly over (except for tamoxifen for 5 yrs) I feel a kind of sadness - even depression setting in. The fear about my future, the loss of my breasts, the uncertainty about how a man might react to my new breasts - all of this makes me doubt myself and my chance of finding love, even though I've always been a pretty confident woman in that department. I feel as though I shouldn't even put myself out there (with the short hair, reconstuction, etc.), that it would be a miracle to find someone who could feel about me the way men have felt about me in the past.

I know, intellectually, that good men are out there, that love happens to people in the thick of treatment, that I am more than my "looks". But on a gut level, it feels like the wind has been taken out of my sails.

Can anyone relate to this? Where did you begin to search, for those of you that are taking care of children, and don't get out there much? 

Liz Dx 12/9/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Apr 27, 2011 11:55AM musiclovermom wrote:

I waited a month after I got my implants before I went out with girlfriends. Then started with Internet dating before I got my nipples. It was not as awkward as I imagined. No one needed to know until I decided to become intimate. I have been with the man I met before I got my nipples for ten months now. He liked my implants before nipples and now I wish I didn't bother with them at all. They are just decorations. But I didn't know I would feel this way about them. I was so excited to get my nips and when I look in the mirror I feel normal but they are still just decorations. In the big scheme of things my man does not care about boobs. He loves me and cares about me.

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 29, 2011 06:25AM Fearless_One wrote:

Musiclovermom, you met him on-line?    How long did you date him before telling him about your foobs?  

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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May 3, 2011 01:31PM musiclovermom wrote:

I did meet him on line

Match.com

We e mailed a few times then had a few dates. When we were kissing and he started to touch my breasts I kept moving his hand away then finally I told him " I have no nipples"

OMG. Good thing we had had a few drinks... We talked and laughed about standing in the rain with a white t shirt on our first date and I never got COLD.

Anyway... We are still together and it is the best sex I have ever had in my life with the most wonderful man I have ever met.

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 17, 2011 05:56PM Fearless_One wrote:

OMG, what a great story!    I am happy to read this :-)   I need some hope!

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Jul 18, 2011 06:09PM sbry7 wrote:

Wow.  I was so glad to find this site eventually.  I was wondering if there was anyone else out there that had these thoughts.  I was diagnosed in March, had a double mastectomy in April and my husband left me in May.  I obviously married the wrong man and having been doing a lot of reading about the emotionally unavailable, (the criteria of which he fits) but that is another subject.  But I couldn't help but think that men would not want to have a woman with no boobs.  I try to stay positive and it's not that I NEED a man, but want one. LOL

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Jul 24, 2011 08:22AM musiclovermom wrote:

sbry7 - mine left me too.... ( right before cancer) so I did it alone.

I have to say: I never knew how miserable I was while I was "Happily Married!" 

There is hope and a lot of self esteem work to be done. I picked up a book called sex and intimacy after breast cancer (or something like that) anyway it covers a lot of what I needed to get out there and deal with to become happy again.

The new stripper boobs help too! 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 24, 2011 09:06AM - edited Jul 24, 2011 09:08AM by lago

I am not dating (currently married) but had to share this very funny story about a friend who is dating. She (like many of us) had a BMX with reconstruction. She was telling me she was on a date and this guy decided to "cop a feel" if you know what I mean. Because she's numb in much of the area of her breasts she didn't notice right away. She said "I didn't realize I was giving him permission by not stopping him" She did eventually figure it out…  and was livid.

So those of us with BMX/reconstruction if you're numb be sure to watch where your date's hand my wander. Tongue out

Nipples. If you want some check out these stick on silicone ones. I do hear that some insurance companies actually cover the cost: linky  I'm sure there are other companies too. Seems like the color "skin" is pretty subjective. I think even Crayola Crayons stopped using that name.

These from the UK have more color choices: linky  

DONE!! goo.gl/IoaN6U • Tattoos 2.7.2012 • Nipples 10.6.2011 • Exchange 6.24.2011 • Chemo 1.18. 2011 • BMX 8.31.2010 Dx 7/13/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 11, 2011 11:03AM Carabella wrote:

Hi Liz, Thank you so much for asking this question!!!!! I was diagnosed June 15, 2011 and had a Bilateral Mastectomy w/ TE and will be starting my Radiation Therapy in a few weeks. I'm a younglooking, (and young at heart) single 41 yo and this question has been in the back of my mind since I was given my diagnosis. Everything I read about sexuality and intimacy after BC treatment, etc talks about your spouse and partner and I just kept thinking "what about all of the single women out there?". All of these comments and stories and questions have really helped to make me feel a bit less anxious. I know my confidence won't be the same, I already look at myself differently. So thank you for asking the question so many of us were wondering..... Laughing
Dx 6/15/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2011 07:37AM elizzim wrote:

Hi Ladies,

I haven't been around lately, but I wanted to say Hi! I'm still struggling with these issues. I haven't met anyone that I've wanted to get undressed for, but I wonder how much my self-consiousness about my new, imperfect body, has to do with that.

I used to fee so strong and confident in this area; now, when I look at myself, I seem only to see the ways in which I am different from women with real breasts. Sorry to be so negative! I'm sure that I'll have positive stories to tell down the line, but for now, my cancer and reconstruction seem to have made me recede from the world of dating and romance.

Btw - all of my male friends and family members say that I'm worrying unnecessarily. As one guy put it: "The right guy won't care, and even the wrong guy won't care." But of course, he hasn't seen my chest! 

Liz Dx 12/9/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2011 08:25AM hrf wrote:

Hi Liz

Many of us feel the same as you so don't think your feelings are unusual. There are women who find new relationships following mx with or without reconstuction.

I will apologize up front for what I am going to say but it is easy for others who are in relationships or haven't been devastated by bc to say "the right guy won't care". There are many men who will not start a relationship with someone who has had mx/reconstruction. Maybe they are shallow and maybe not but it's the truth.

There are many other threads on this forum that deal with this same topic. It's not as easy as your friends and family say.

But you may be one of the lucky ones who finds love so don't give up. 

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Oct 3, 2011 09:55AM elizzim wrote:

Yes - and I guess what I, and many of us in this situation, needs to realize that that any guy who would not start a relationship with someone who's had MX/reconstruction is - by definition - truly not the guy I'm looking for. I think I'm just scared of the pain and rejection involved in the process of discovering that a guy I'm dating is that guy.

As with everything else in life, I think once you, yourself, get to a strong and grounded place with these issues, you can go through this process and come out whole. 

Liz Dx 12/9/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2011 05:08PM Fearless_One wrote:

Hi ladies,  Elizzim makes an excellent point when she mentions wondering about how her own view of herself plays into dating.

There is no doubt there are a lot of shallow guys out there - H was right about that.   But I know for me personally, my self esteem went in the toilet in the beginning - and THAT probably impacted my attracting someone more than my surgery did.

So when we put ourselves out there, it's important to make sure we feel good about ourselves.   :-)

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 3, 2011 05:16PM hrf wrote:

Fearless, you are absolutely right.

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Oct 5, 2011 11:50PM waterski wrote:

I'm happy to report there is hope out there!  I never thought there was...after feeling sorry for myself after a long, terrible divorce(though my little 5-year old boy reminds me how much more I am blessed!), getting breast cancer due to mostly stress, and feeling like a freak because of the railroad-track stitches going across from a double mastectomy and now gel implants that are too small for my body.  I'm 43, and my boyfriend found me on Facebook 25 years after we graduated together!  When I began caring for him, I had to be honest and tell him the truth.  He has been supportive the whole time and said 2 very important things I need to remember...He loves me for what's inside of me--not how I look on the outside & years ago implants were not even available to women who had mastectomies.  Hope this gives you hope!

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Oct 6, 2011 04:49AM musiclovermom wrote:

Just checking in to see how everyone is doing.

I have been with my boyfriend over a year now. He met me before I had my nipples built. I have to say now I wish i had not gotten them. Back then I just wanted to look normal when I walked past a mirror.

He is wonderful to me and for me.

As much as i love my new implants, I still keep my nightie on most times. Seems the muscles distort my chest and I feel self conscious at times.  

I look fine just standing there but if I am using my arms and my muscles flex in a weird way I know it. Its all me...  

I know there is someone out there for each of us!

  

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 6, 2011 07:52AM kriserts wrote:

musiclover, why do you wish you did not get the nipples?

elizzim, I feel the same way. But I went to meet a woman last week to find out her experience with the DIEP. She met her husband after her first surgery, when she had implants. He's her junior by years and they've been married many years now. Gave me hope. :)

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Oct 6, 2011 04:33PM musiclovermom wrote:

kriserts - my PS did such a great job on the reconstruction that I decided to let him do his best work on my nipples and went for the skin grafted areola.

What I never expected was the  rough scar tissue from the skin grafts and the hair that grows from it and to top it off one nipple is pointy and the other healed flat.

When they were unveiled they looked amazing! I was so happy with them, but now if I could have my PS take them off and give me back my scars I would in a second! 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 6, 2011 06:24PM kriserts wrote:

oh boy. Good to know. Thanks musiclover!

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Oct 7, 2011 12:52AM Hopefloats41725 wrote:

musiclover I think you are worrying too much.  The one that is pointed will eventually flatten out, just like your other one.  Did you ever get your tattoo's, if not have a dimensional artist (called realistic artist) do them.  I went to my local tattoo artist, after having mine done twice by the cosmetic reconstructive doctor....twice tattooed by him and it failed.  But I will eventually try for a third time for this tattoo artist performing the job.  I am holding out until I get the money accumulated, which I knew who would donate these ventures for us.  As far as your muscles flexing, the fat grafts looking lumpy sometimes, it helps just to build your muscles up with weights.  But I agree with you, I will probably keep mine hid for awhile until I know the right guy that I want to share them with.

Dx 12/12/2009, ILC, 2cm, Stage II, 3/20 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Oct 10, 2011 06:52PM - edited Oct 10, 2011 06:52PM by mybee333

sbry7 - I know this was long ago but wanted you to know that you are not alone picking the emotionally unavailable man.  Seems to be my favorite type!!! My relationship did not make it through BC and reconstruction either.  Need to break this pattern otherwise - what's the use of dating!!

 Musiclover - what a great story!

Don't wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain. ~ UMX w/ silicone implant reconstruction. Multifocal -IDC, DCIS, Pagets. Dx 4/6/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 12, 2011 08:22AM musiclovermom wrote:

HopeFloats

No tattooing needed here. My skin grafted areolas gave me the perfect coloring!

My PS is fantastic and I love his work. HOWEVER I just wish both looked the same. I would be happy with either style as long as they were matching.

When I posted photos on the pict forum last year they had just been unveiled and looked so good! It just happened that I healed funny and one nipple got pulled inside while healing and the other didn't. 

He can cut the pointy one off if I want him to, but right now I am not doing anything about it. I would love to soften up the rough scar tissue. For now it's OK and I am not ready to do anything about it.

I am coming up on my 2 year mark this October 15. That is what I am focusing on!!!!  

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 03:29PM identtwins wrote:

Hi all my sisters,

  I have a story to tell.  Not a pretty one.  After being diagnosised last year my husband filed for divorce.  I had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction no other treatment.  About 3 weeks ago I was playing bingo at a octoberfest while my teenage boys were on the rides.  A very nice man sat at my table.  He asked me what happened to my arm.  I decided to go for it  I explained that I had an infection after reconstruction for breast cancer.  He told me how wonderful I looked.  At the end of the evening I gave him my number.  This was totally out of character for me.  A week later I was camping in my camper all alone.  I invited him over we had a glass of wine, nice conversation and went swimming and in the hot tub.  He was about to leave and kissed me, we ended up going to bed together.  Why I don't know  Maybe it had been so long and I was so scared no one would ever want me.  So we talked all the next week.  I was in a breast cancer fashion show last week and he came and was wonderfully supportive.  Today he told me he had known this other woman for a while and decided to date her.  I am and RN and have a beautiful home, nice things that I have worked hard for.  He doesn't have much money.  He said he was a little scared and intimatated by me.  I now feel so terrible and can't stop crying.  I don't think I can venture out again.  This was one hard lesson to learn.  

identtwins Dx 10/25/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 04:08PM musiclovermom wrote:

identtwins - I am so sorry you went through that. Big Hugs to you...

There are fantastic men out there. This one did NOT deserve you!

I must have gone on over 50 dates before I met my boyfriend, Then i kept dating after I met him BUT I would drop everything to spend time with him. After 3 months of comparing everyone else to him we decided to be exclusive.

I knew there would be the need to have break the ice sex with someone before I got involved in a long term relationship. I am so thankful that I found someone after being married for 25 years. I was with my husband from age 18 to 43 (when he left & i was diagnosed & my youngest graduated HS). Your story is close to mine.

Please take time to heal yourself... You deserve so much more than what that man was. 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 04:31PM - edited Oct 17, 2011 04:33PM by identtwins

Thank you musiclovermom.  It's so hard and I feel so stupid.  My husband told me he was leaving 2 weeks after bmx.  12 years of marriage

identtwins Dx 10/25/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 04:33PM Fearless_One wrote:

Identtwins....please know that what happened may have had nothing to do with the surgery and cancer.   I am so sorry you are sad.   These guys....they like to have more than one bun in the oven at a time, you know?  

The fact that you are an RN tells me you are both compassionate and smart.   Trust me, there are men who are going to appreciate that.   Please don't throw in the towel because of this one A-hole........((HUGS))

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 17, 2011 04:36PM identtwins wrote:

It's just so hard.  First my husband and now the first time I step out of my comfort zone this happens. 

identtwins Dx 10/25/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 04:36PM musiclovermom wrote:

Mine left before my BMX

He paid for my new stripper boobs - but will never see or touch them!!! 

I never knew how miserable I was while I was happily married!

You can find happiness again - If I can anyone can! 

You are not stupid - just vulnerable! 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 04:42PM Fearless_One wrote:

I have never been married, but I certainly know enough couples that have found love after a divorce.   I can't imagine how you must be feeling.   Our emotions are ripped open during breast cancer, and makes these kinds of dating situations so much harder.   We internalize it more.   But it's not the end and there are so many men out there.    I do hope you venture out there again, but not quite yet....you are too vulnerable right now....

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 17, 2011 04:44PM identtwins wrote:

I guess I am vulnerable  but still feel very stupid.  I am so glad you found happiness and hope things continue to go well for you.  Did your husband leave after being told you had bc?

identtwins Dx 10/25/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 04:46PM identtwins wrote:

Thank you fearless.  Just I wish I could stop crying.  I don't think anyone can understand what I am feeling but my sisters here.

identtwins Dx 10/25/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-

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