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Intimacy

cheryltaco
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2007

Ok Here it goes, an embarrassing topic but one that I'm in need of support on. To be honest sex has taken a back seat since my diagnosis. My hubby of 23 years has been very patient but he's beginning to hint for more, and lets face it we are only 41 and not ready to let go of this part of our relationship. The problem however is that the treatments and surgery has caused some embarrassing problems leaving me feeling uneasy and un sexy. Has anyone else experienced this anxiety, and how was it overcome?

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Yeah, I think that is a common problem that is not often discussed. I was on FOLFIRI and I remember having some "tenderness" if you will, or sensitivity for a while, but eventually it wore off. I also know what you mean, all those scars don't really look hot, and now I have a problem keeping the fat off around my middle. I feel like I look like I had a baby, even though I didn't! Exercise might help you to feel better. I know it always helps me, at least for the rest of that day, lol!
You could also try getting some sexy lingere that doesn't show your tummy, you know, like a one-piece thingy. Just be grateful that your husband is showing interest. Some people pull away from their loved ones during these hardships, so apparently he thinks you are sexy. If you elaborate a little on what sorts of "embarassing problems" you are having maybe we can help you more.
Best wishes,
Susan

hoagiemom's picture
hoagiemom
Posts: 87
Joined: Feb 2007

Boy can I relate, I hate my port and the scars. foruntally it didn't bother my husband as much as it bothered me. I agree with Susan get something that makes you feel sexy. Take care and rest. Michelle

cahalstead
Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

I love this post, I have a feeling this is a problem for many of us.

I, too, have put sex on the back burner, I feel fat, too many scars and I'm curious about the feeling fat around the middle. That is so much my problem. I believe, like the others, that our guys find us more appealing than we find ourselves. I'm having a real problem with the "fat around the middle" deal! It seems all of my weight gain goes there and I hate that.

Any ideas as to why this is?

Thanks.

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

For real! Even when I am really in great shape, which I am not right now, I still have this asymmetrical thing going on around the middle from my liver surgery. I also have this like 2nd butt thing going on from my colon resection. I have to be super skinny to keep that at bay. I have considered that after (if) I have a baby I might get some kind of tummy tuck or lipo, but then I am like WHAT?? elective surgery? am I loosing my mind! So, maybe I will just have to accept it or exercise more. I think that stress really does cause us to hold weight around the middle. This summer I was all stressed at work, and while I normally loose weight in the summertime, I didn't this year. Maybe that is part of the reason.

KierstenRx's picture
KierstenRx
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Great topic!!! One that is rarely discussed, but I think a lot of us are dealing with.

I still have a "NO TRESPASSING" sign posted. I am only 33 and I really have no interest in sex. I had a hysterectomy at the time of my resection, permanent colostomy, small bowel obstruction surgery in July, and still 10 months after surgery dealing with wound healing issues. The colostomy doesn't bother me. I have been heavy most of my life and so I am thinner than I have been in years. The scars don't bother me either. I think it is the lack of hormones and I still have a large hole that has not healed on my abdomen (I see a plastic surgeon).

My gynecolgical oncologist said I could start having sex again 6 weeks after my hysterectomy and resection. I said "have you lost your mind????!!!!" I was having chemo and felt like garbage. Sweet lovin was not a priority.

Ok, so here I am many months later. I think I can officially reapply for virgin status. I am starting to contemplate maybe having sex again (not till my abdomen is healed though). Today is our 6 year Wedding Anniversay. Hmmmmmm......odds are not good. I now know why God made me fall in love and marry a man with low testoterone and no sex drive (has made things a lot easier). Our marriage is great on all levels. I know we are missing this part right now, but he swears it does not bother him.

I look forward to hearing other peoples experiences.

Kiersten

davidsonxx's picture
davidsonxx
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

I also had a hysterectomy with my resection and had no interest in sex for many months. I do believe the hormones were part of it but not all. My husband was very good about telling me he still found me attractive but it was hard for me to believe because I felt unattractive. To please him I did try to have sex and boy did I get a big shock. It hurt a lot. The radiation for my rectal cancer had scarred my vagina. I had no idea this might happen. If you had a low tumor and radiation just be aware that this can be an issue. You may want to talk to your doctor or gyno about things to help avoid this problem. If you do end up with scarring there are things you can do to overcome it but you do have to work at it. It takes a while to help.

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

What a great discussion! It just shows how important this board really is.

This issue really has two sides, a physical and an emotional. I believe that the physical discomfort may be harder to overcome just because it might require the help of a physician. Let's face it, if it hurts you are not going to want to do it (and maybe shouldn't).

That's not to say the emotional issue isn't hard to overcome. Remember, these are only my views and what I have thought about and used.

For us, sex is almost a reset button for our marriage, if that makes sense. It often brings us back to center and releases many stresses and tensions that may have accumulated. After reconnecting in this way, issues that seemed huge before may no longer matter. For this reason, I have found that there were times that I might have to crawls inside my head a little more and figure out what still gets the juices flowing.

As said, often times our husbands find us far more desirable than we find ourselves. I know that my husband still desires me, scars and all. He views them as my battle scars; my badges of honor. He says that I should be proud of them. That helps me feel better about myself. For feeling unattractive, try using imagery. Shut your eyes and just let yourself feel him touching you and picturing yourself as the most beautiful woman in the world. Use whatever it takes. Sometimes we have to be creative in order to bring our sex life back.

It also helped me to get over embarrasing issues by finding the humor in them. Now, things that used to mortify me I can joke with him freely.

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Unfortunately it is not a problem just for the ladies. Cancer surgery has a bad habit of severing muscles and nerves. It left me totally impotent.Unfortunately there is no solution to the problems even with drugs like viagra.
My wife and I were both in our forties at the time and the long term loss of itimacy is probably one of the reasons that she left me. It is a real problem and one that I believe that doctors fail to acknowledge. When I asked my doctor for help he asked if it was really a problem. Go figure!Ron.

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Awww, that blows! I hope that you can find a more caring and sympathetic doctor and/or a woman who will accept you the way you are. Its great we are all discussing this because my doctor never warned me about any of this stuff. For instance, I've never been on Oxy, but now I read that it can cause menopause, or infertility. Do doctors reveal these things, or just figure, well, "they're lucky to be alive."?

davidsonxx's picture
davidsonxx
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

I can't believe anybody would have to ask if impotence was really a problem.. Get a clue! Anything that interferes with intimacy in a marriage is a problem. I think that some times the doctors don't talk about the sexual side effects because they are uncomfortable with the whole topic. I am sorry to hear your wife left you. Sometimes the cost of cancer is a lot higher than just dollars.

cheryltaco
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2007

I was told that the chemo would cause infertility, but when asked if I would be pushed into early menopause the doctors said they weren't sure. Well the chemo has sent me into menopause complete with hot flashes and all that it entails. Just like someone else mentioned radiation has done some damage along with the menopause causing me to atrophy somewhat and sex has become rather uncomfortable. My gyno says that with time and work the discomfort should go away, and has advised using gels and creams.There are definately no more moments of spontanaity!

rmap59
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

hi everyone,
Been out of town(my husband took me to Florida to celebrate end of chemo). This topic fits right in with this vacation cause you know what he expected. Well, my vagina had shrunk from radiation and it was painful, however my husband was understanding and by the end of the vacation we were doing better. Really, every since I got diagnosed sex has been on the back burner. I was depressed about it but when you feel like crap and your body is changed forever sex is not very appealing. I am sure time will fix this problem but one thing me and my husband would do is take little vacations (stay in a close by state park in a cabin or just get away for one or two nights. The change in environment helped me. But believe me I am sure everyone has this problem and I have wanted to discuss it for a long time but too embarrassed so I am glad you brought this subject to the board.

Robin

nudgie's picture
nudgie
Posts: 1483
Joined: Sep 2006

Believe it or not, this is a serious issue. I was DX in 7/06 and finished treatment in Nov 06. From July to Dec 06 (6 months) my husband and I did not have intercourse due to no SEX DRIVE on my part and being the loving husband he is, he was very understanding. But don't think for one minute that he did not get anything, if you know what I mean.

Being a mother and wife, I completely understand the not looking and feeling sexy part, but chemo does play a role. I think it takes your sex drive away, at least it did for me.

kirsten1's picture
kirsten1
Posts: 23
Joined: May 2007

HOLY CRAP! (no pun intended)
I have been waiting for someone to bring this up!! I have experienced many of the things mentioned and like Kiersten I am a born again virgin. I feel terrible for my husband, but just can't get past the fact that I go to the bathroom about 15 times a night, and have gas...prior to this I don't even think my husband knew i went to the bathroom.lol. Anyway, it's new years eve, maybe I'll have too much champagne and see what happens. I'll keep you all posted!

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