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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 04:28PM

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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Oct 17, 2011 06:48PM Fearless_One wrote:

There is no reason for you to feel stupid - not at all!   It just sounds like he had known her for awhile and decided to pursue that (which totally sucks, I know).    Personally, I don't like to "serial date".   And I prefer men that date just one woman at a time - too bad we don't have a crystal ball to see them.     You had no way of knowing.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 17, 2011 06:49PM musiclovermom wrote:

actually, I never told him I had cancer.

The day I picked him up from the air port for our daughters graduation, I handed him divorce papers and went to sleep. He happened to go into my office and see my paperwork for the biopsy. That was how he found out about my BC.

He left long before cancer, but I thank him because I went for my check ups because we were getting divorced and the stress was unbearable. If he didnt leave I may not have found it in time.

I think his leaving saved my life - physically and emotionally! 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 06:50PM Fearless_One wrote:

Musiclovermom, you sound like you are in a good place right now :-)

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 17, 2011 06:58PM Fearless_One wrote:

Identwins, cry all you need to....it needs to come out....Cry    Please keep checking in and let us know how you are doing....

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 17, 2011 07:00PM musiclovermom wrote:

I am good!

I just had my 2 year mark October 15!

Only 3 more years of Tamoxifen to go!!! 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 17, 2011 07:08PM Fearless_One wrote:

That is wonderful!   I hit my 2-year in September and have only VERY recently begun to feel better about myself, both physically and emotionally.    It's a long process for many of us - and VERY hard to get back in that dating pool .  

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 17, 2011 08:55PM - edited Oct 18, 2011 12:08AM by identtwins

Thank you both so much.  My 1st year anniversary is 10/20. I wonder if that has anything to do with how I am feeling.  Musiclovermom I am glad now that you got a divorce too.  Mine wanted the divorce after I was diagnosised.

identtwins Dx 10/25/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 18, 2011 06:42AM musiclovermom wrote:

I think what helped me was the fact my husband felt guilty... let him feel guilt - I was not going to let him off the hook. He has been good to me through this and moved 900 miles away. I don't have to deal with him since our children are grown. He has no idea how I am doing and I like it that way.

Your one year mark might very well have lots to do with being an emotional wreck. The first year I had so many one year marks... the mammograms, biopsy, lumpectomies, and then the BMX... it was a one year mark for so many months in a row... This year they sneaked up on me and I forgot about most of them except for my BMX date.

I am sorry he asked for the divorce after diagnosis... I can only imagine what that would do to you. I was angry and didn't want mine to stay just because I had cancer... I didn't want the pity. I wanted to start fresh and now I am so much happier.

You are stronger than you think you are! You will get past this and it will make you stronger. 

Dx 7/21/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 18, 2011 08:18AM Fearless_One wrote:

Yeah, at one year you are just getting time to breathe - a reprieve from all the appointments, surgeries, etc.   So naturally more emotions will come to the surface.    Musiclovermom is right - you will surprise yourself at your strength as time goes by....

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Oct 19, 2011 06:20PM Fearless_One wrote:

Identtwins, are you feeling any better?   I hope so.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Nov 4, 2011 02:02AM - edited Nov 4, 2011 02:03AM by momoftwo526

Identtwins:  I seriously doubt it had anything to do with your cancer.  He may have already been dating her.  I had a similar situation long before I had BC.  He told me he loved me many times over. Once when I was at his home, his other girlfriend showed up unexpectedly and he wanted me to sneak out!  Of course, I had no idea there was anyone else.  Like you, I cried for a while.  I didn't cry long, but I did cry hard.  Now he has broken up with her and he wants to see me again. I told him I wasn't interested. He keeps calling and I don't even answer his calls.  I am so over him and, even if it take time, you will get over this guy too.

My dating status now --- I have really not been interested in dating.  Too much going on.  I have been divorced over 30 years now.  I have never been lucky at love and I guess I am just tired of all the games.  I have 2 young daughters that I adopted from China and they fill my life.  I think that if a really wonderful man (and I mean really wonderful!) came alone, I would want to pursue something, but I think he would have to show up on my doorstep!

Phyllis

Dx 5/17/2011, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 4, 2011 09:48PM hrf wrote:

Phyllis, you sound like me. Have been divorced now for 25+ years and have also never been lucky at love. I have 3 sons and they and their families keep me busy. I've given up otherwise. Yeah, if a truly wonderful guy showed up on my doorstep - maybe ... but otherwise, not willing to put myself through pain again. 

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Nov 4, 2011 09:59PM - edited Nov 5, 2011 08:57AM by bedo

This Post was deleted by bedo.
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Nov 5, 2011 11:40AM Fearless_One wrote:

It is interesting how most women who were married long term have little desire to do so again.   I never was married, so I can't offer an opinion - perhaps it's not all it's cracked up to be and I shouldn't feel so sad about being single.

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants
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Nov 5, 2011 01:28PM Stanzie wrote:

I got diagnosed with BC after my divorce. I had been dating a guy who I thought was pretty great, however once I got my diagnosis our relationship changed. He really couldn't handle it but not in the way I expected. It wasn't like his view of me changed it was that he couldn't deal with all the "attention" I got. Like I really wanted that kind of attention! It was so strange. We have remainded friends and he would like to get back together in a romantic relationship and part of me also would like that but I can't get past my feelings of how he isn't someone who will be there for me in bad times. We have fun, we can talk, but it will never be the same.

So ultimately I think a lot of men can't handle our diagnosis, whether it is because they are worried we might be too sick to take a chance on or heaven forbid they might have to take care of us rather then us take care of them, or they can't handle the physical changes we may present or the menopause situations many of us are in whether we naturally would have been or not. I have looked at dating online and am always so annoyed when men who are say 52 will say looking for women 25-39.... hello, and you are 52! Why can men gat away with that?How or why do they have such ego's to feel like the younger women will be so thrilled with them.

Anyway, Identwins - I'm so sorry seems like you were just not in a good place and then he just ripped the rug out from beneath you. I do think in the long run if your husband divorced you after the diagnosis - well it says way too much about him and not in a good way. Say you didn't have BC and met this man who said he got divorced after his wife's diagnosis? Wouldn't you run away as fast as you can? Think of what type of woman he may end up with - not saying much about her either.... So this other man, well I can't say much about him as he knew you were vunerable and still seemed to take advantage when he had someone else he was interested in - not good either. Or to give him the benefit of doubt - he may really have liked you a lot and the diagnosis didn't matter at all but this other person just tugged at his heart more and he really didn't mean to hurt you. I'm hoping it was the last one... I don't know I've never been someone who dated more than one person at a time so dont' know how that is but I'm so sorry you have been hurt so terribly.

 Maybe getting set up with someone nice that one of your friends already knows is the answer. My friends don't know any single men so I haven't been able to do that but I hope that happens for you! Don't give up hope, but don't lose your self confidence and self esteem to these men - you are worth far more than they are! Hang in there....

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Jun 17, 2012 08:20AM mybee333 wrote:

Bump!

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 17, 2012 06:22PM FCVAGG wrote:

This is my dating experience with BC. I have one breast reconstructed and when the nipple tattoo faded I had it retattoed with a fantastic colorful paisley tattoo. The tattoo is a beauty! I am 5.3, size 6, late 40s, look late 30s (genetics- nothing I’ve been doing), married 20 years, no kids and now divorced for 2 years. I am quite outgoing. Husband -couldn’t divorce him until I did. Been stable of stage IV BC for 10 years now. Yes, it’s a miracle! It’s time to move on.

Have been dating for 8 months now- only meeting men online since my job and friends cannot offer much help. My batting average…met 9 men in person. All around my age.  I liked four of them. Told three of them about the BC. The first on date #6 and after date #7 he vanished, the second on date #2 (in the heat of the moment) and after date #4 he vanished, the third on date #2 (in the heat of the moment) and after date #3 he vanished. So this is not looking good. Yes, I may be rushing into things (there are side benefits there!) and when I tell them in the heat of the moment it seems to be a non-issue but I am thinking later they think twice and vanish. BTW- I tried a different strategy of telling people while still corresponding. One guy stopped writing immediately, the other two after one more email. So THAT definitely does not work. I have tried eharmony since there are more serious guys there but really not my type since I am an ultraliberal urbanite and most of them are ultraconservative suburbanites. OK Cupid is better but I can’t figure out the true intentions of the fellows. Cancermatch.com seems to have a dating section. Who knows! I am even thinking of chasing down the guys and asking them to tell me if the BC was a factor and even prepared this email to shoot out, "Even if it is a non-issue for me- I am wondering if my tattoo / medical history is a non-issue, a factor or a deal breaker in your world. I won't be bothered whatever you say but am interested to know regardless. Do reply." This is very different from when I was dating in my 20s!

Dx 8/5/2016, IDC: Tubular, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone/liver/lungs, Grade 2, 2/20 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/4/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Jan 25, 2013 04:06PM grayeyes wrote:

Here's an interesting article with links to three different websites for all types of cancer survivors to meet each other - for friendship, dating, etc.:

http://www.curetoday.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/blog.showIndex/laceymeyer/2009/7/20/Cancer-and-dating--online

2011: Left MX w/TE (Ki67: 60%) AC x 4, Taxol x 12, Radiation, Tamoxifen, BRCA2+ Dec. 2012: Right prophylactic MX w/TE, ooph; June 2013: Final exchange; Nov. 2013: Fat grafting; 2014: Arimidex; 2015: Femara REST IN PEACE, MELANIE Dx 11/23/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 2/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 30, 2013 07:44PM veronica56 wrote:

I struggled with the mental issues but I realized most guys will overlook it if they care about you.

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Jul 22, 2013 08:25PM survivor2000 wrote:

Hi Ladies! I just joined this site. I was diagnosed in 2000, Stage 0 (Thank God), had a Mastectiomy on the left. My surgeon was supposed to be "top notched" plastic surgeon. Well, NOT!  She took out my expande too soon and it all sunk in! I was screaming at home and in her officce saying/asking what she did to me and that I looked like a"Freak"!! I went through the fact that I had breast cancer with a good attitude, I had to console my sister's! I was fine until a Dr. Emily Pollard from Bala Cynwood, PA screwed it up. My Attitude went to a 10 to a 3!! I got another surgeon and he did at least 3 revisions and now I'm on my third surgeon, who I should have gone to in the first place but I forgot about him. He did another Revision last October and took the skin from my back to put in the front. Now all I have to do is make an appt to get my Nipple and Aerola tattooed which I hope is soon.

I know I'm probably better off than most of you by not needing Chemo or Radiation, but I got lucky, I found it in my Annual mammogram! Sometimes I feel ashamed to complain after what some or most of you ladies have been through. Right now I just felt lonely and sad and needed to vent.  

 I was seeing a man and always had great sex with him. When I told him about my cancer he couldn't care less, it didn't bother him at all. He was there to encourage me (when he could be) but NEVER did he make me feel "weird". He touched me the same way he always did, no difference. But now I dont' see him anymore and I miss his carresing. I have not dated in at least 30 years with someone I didn't know!! I'm 66 but I look pretty good for my age, (that's what people tell me"). I feel so lonely and  scared to let anyone else in my life, feel like a freak at times, get down and depressed frequently and too many times. I had a good ego about myself and how I looked before BC. How do you bring up something like this up to a man?

I'm hoping when I get the tattooing done it will be better. Thank you all for letting vent!!

Survivor2000

Survivor2000
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Sep 15, 2013 08:47PM wibia wrote:

Hi all. I just joined this community, and am hoping for a little advice.
I've seen a few posts about my topic... it is basically, "When should I tell the men I'm starting to date that I have had a mastectomy?" After 12 yrs of not dating, a choice I made to put that on hold until after my son was in college, I have started the lovely internet dating thing. Men move fast... and one in particular did recently. I asked him to slow it down, and after 4 dates (to me that is not very much time, sheesh) and him getting very frustrated with my 'behavior', I decided to tell him.
After 24-ish hrs of him thinking about it, he sent me an email. Said I should let people (translated: potential 'dates', further translated: 'him') know about this type of "life changing event", so they can make decide whether to pursue or not. Said I was sabotaging the last date, and made him feel like it was him that said or did something wrong.
In my opinion, he changed from a charming guy on the 1st 2 dates, to a contentious guy on the 4th date because I didn't sleep with him on the 3rd...

So what do you think?

When should I tell the next potential 'date'?
Before the first phone conversation - so via email?
During the first phone conversation?
Before we meet?
After we meet, but before the 2nd date?

I've had 3 'boyfriends' since the BMX, though I really do not remember when I told them, and with all 3 it was not an issue...

I'd love to hear your opinions and experience. Glad I found this forum.
Hope I can help along the way as well!

Just a little more info...
I am one of us women who had a stage 0 diagnosis, so I don't think I really dealt with the loss. To me, since it was ductal, and stage zero, it was 'not a big deal'. I was a newly divorced mom with a 3 yr old, and put this event behind me as fast as I could.

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Sep 15, 2013 09:42PM Stix wrote:

Hi I would tell them when you think they could probably be a potential partner and you think they are really interested in you.

No need to tell earlier.  The guy that said you should have told this life changing event ealier to him probably didn't really like you- he probably was just looking for a good time. 

Everyone is different on when to bring the subject up.

stix Dx 1/22/2010, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR- Surgery 4/8/2010 Mastectomy: Right Surgery 8/15/2010 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right) Surgery 4/30/2013 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Surgery 9/11/2013 Reconstruction (left) Surgery 7/29/2014 Reconstruction (left) Surgery 1/11/2015 Reconstruction (left)
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Sep 15, 2013 09:55PM m1970 wrote:

wibia,

It sounds to me like this guy was more interested in getting into your pants than you as a person.  It wasn't you that sabataged the date, it was him not respecting your need to take it slow for WHATEVER reason.

You've said yourself you had boyfriends that this wasn't an issue with.  Guys that were into YOU.  Don't let this jerk bully you into thinking you owe him anything or did anything wrong.  If he can't deal with your mastectomy that is HIS problem not yours.  Personally I think it is a good character test and he failed.  You are fabulous and can do so much better.

I DON'T think that we are obligated to put all of our baggage out on the table before the 2nd date.  I think intimacy should unfold naturally.  You just know when it's the right time to share ... there are no RULES.  I can't imagine talking about breast cancer on the first or second date unless the conversation got intense or there was some kind of opening that led to it.  I would want to take the time to see if there is a connection before I share something so personal. 

Get back out there!

Marsha

First diagnosed at age 37. New primary in opposite breast found on MRI at age 43. Used cold caps for my second chemo and saved my hair. Dx 2/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 4/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/20/2007 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 4/1/2007 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 9/1/2007 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 10/15/2007 Surgery 6/1/2008 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 6/20/2008 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 3/20/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 5/8/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Targeted Therapy 6/19/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 7/10/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 1/22/2014 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Sep 17, 2013 04:18PM NYCorbust wrote:

I had a bilateral mastectomy in October 2011 followed by reconstruction with implants. It took a while to get back on the dating market after all the surgeries - but I am back in full swing. I've met men through events and online. I try to get a sense of who the person is before I say anything. It certainly makes me weed out the superficial men. Most men I have told between the third and fifth dates. Almost everyone I have told has been understanding and if they already liked me - it didn't change anything. However, I did have a first date with some loser I met online who started telling me how he wouldn't date a woman who had implants (I have no idea why he told me - maybe to find out if mine were real?). It hurt my feelings but at the same time, I knew he was an absolute loser. Who talks about boob preferences like that on a first date?

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Oct 2, 2013 02:59PM wibia wrote:

Thank you Marsha! You really hit the nail on the head. It absolutely felt like he was bullying me.
We haven't spoken in over 3 weeks. I did text him though, asking if we could talk sometime. Just because I wanted to figure this whole thing out. (Probably over-thinking it...). His reply after a few days was, "If I was to see you again I would want to make love to you", to which I replied, "Can we talk?".
No response.
Time to let it go.
I SO appreciate your kind words and encouragement, thank you!

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Oct 2, 2013 03:01PM wibia wrote:

"Boob preferences" - that cracked me up!
Thanks for your post!

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Oct 2, 2013 03:09PM wibia wrote:

Hi Viktoria1,
That's exactly what I was thinking! He just really threw me there, because it has been such a long time since I've dated, and am new to the whole internet thing. So I doubted my own judgement.
He said I should include this info in my profile... I think that's NUTS!
Thank you so much for your post.

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Apr 3, 2019 05:45PM TammyKh wrote:

Hi ladies,

I am joining with you. I have had BC at 32, underwent a single mastectomy, having a tissue expander and taking Tamoxifen and will have reconstruction surgery scheduled in June.

In summer of 2016, I met an American guy and dated with him when I did my internship in Washington D.C. He is 36, got divorced, no kids, a federal employee, very nice. We went out for the third times and suddenly he kissed me immediately after I finished ice cream, then he asked for a date and both of us agreed an exclusive dating. 4 months later, I came back Canada where I am living now and we had continued our dating for almost a year and ended up by a break-up. The reason could be long distance, no trust. He told me that he needs a physical relationship and long distance relationship doesn't work for him. He knew I am from Canada and he said it's not a matter after I told him that it would be a long distance relationship. We broke up-got back together, then broke up again-got back together again for several times. Eventually, I determined to give up this relationship and I stopped talking or contacting him in a year although he still texted me sometimes as a friend. I reconnected to talk to him after I was diagnosed with BC. I was shock, got angry and depressed after being told that I have cancer at 32. I told him everything about my cancer and he is really supportive me during my hard time fighting to BC. I live alone, so he offered a help by coming to Canada to give me his great caregiver when I underwent a mastectomy surgery in January. Although it's insane and weird to ask my ex to help me in this situation but I had no choice. He told me that he just came to help as a friend and asked me to take it easy, not to overthink. I appreciated what he did for me during my surgery and recovery. He took a week off to take care of me, cook for me, bath me, wash and dry my hair, do laundry, wake up every morning to help me take medicines and be with me all the times. He kept in touch when he went back to D.C and we still have been in touch since there. I am very grateful for his help, so I think I am owning him although he said that I don't own him anything. It's because he got me during his tough time after divorce, made him feel happy again, so his coming to help me looks like to pay back.

To be honest, I have still fallen in love with him but don't want to chase him as he makes me feel unsecured. He told me that he is enjoying his single life that he can do whatever he wants, he doesn't want to get in any committed relationship at this moment, so he doesn't want to get back together and just wants to be friend with me. Because he hurt and disappointed me many times, my interest in him is no longer, my love for him is also being faded out, I agreed to have this friendship. However, I don't think we are just friends because we do care about each other's lives and we have had sex when we meet. He sometimes calls me (it's not everyday like before but at least once a week now), tells me what's going on in his job and his life look like when we were still dating. He tells our common friends that we are just friends, not a couple.

I don't have many experience to deal with the men because he is just the second man who I have dated so far but I truly love him. I want to move on to start my new life with new boobs, so I am thinking about dating again. I also used to have OK cupid but I was not interested in with anyone yet because I'm very picky. I do very much care about my appearance and look. I am good in shape, except my boobs, so I'm not confident to date and tell guys about my story. I'm sick, so I'm feeling lonely and really want to have someone to be with me but I guess it's not easy for me to have a true love.

Dx 10/24/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/10/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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