has anyone out there experienced probs with relationships since treatment etc.
has anyone out there experienced relationship probs/tension etc since diagnosis/surgery/treatment. Would love to talk about it.
Hello Mickey and welcome to the online group. As one of the ladies I recently trained with as a Community Liasion Officer says "We are one big happy family Can't pick your family so you are stuck with us" Not knowing your age or status I can only tell you about my experience. I had been in a longterm(8 years) relationship when I was diagnosed at age 50 (just on 4 years ago). We knew each other pretty well but there were some challenges with the treatment. I had a couple of lumpectomies, radiation and now on Tamoxifen. I was working fulltime and so we needed both incomes to survive. (divorces and raising children on your own take a huge toll on finances) My partner, feeling absolutely useless grabbed the role of Major Bread Winner - this allowed me to get on with what I had to decide about treatment without having to deal with his emotions. After surgery we had so many laughs because intimate settings had to be "arranged" so that my wounds weren't affected. I felt really well after surgery and was able to be a "wife" for the first time in our relationship. (cooking meals and being home when his day had finished) Then there was the radiation. I had to be away from home for 7 weeks. That was hard on my partner as he had to stay home and do "his job of Bread Winner." At the end of my radiation I became really ill and quite depressed but we got through it somehow. The added bonus for me was that I had a wedding to arrange. My partner proposed to me whilst I was having radiation.(must have been "absence makes the heart grow fonder") (We got married on the 1st anniversary of my diagnosis). I have been on Tamoxifen for the past 3.5years and there have been a few hiccups which have meant fairly regular surgery. Intimacy has always played a huge part in our relationship and there were some issues - most likely to do with the drugs but I wasn't sure - thought it was just me. My partner was understanding but of course there is always a limit. I got quite concerned and my Gyne's advice was to use hormone treatment - no good for me as my cancer had been hormone receptive. I attended the 15th International Breast Cancer Conference in Brisbane in May 2009 and attended a workshop on intimacy. I was gobsmacked. What I was experiencing was "normal" factors associated with treatment. Boy I felt so humble - what about these young women who were experiencing the same as me and there lives still ahead them. Anyway the workshop was fantastic and it got the conversation going between the attendees. Each gave their solutions to problems. I went home well equipped with the names of potions and lotions. Anyway "things" seemed to right themselves and all is now good again. What I'm trying to say here is there are lots of things that happen during/after treatment that only those who have experienced them can advise on. Maybe I am not at the same point as yourself - age, time of treatment, type of treatment but if anything I've said is helpful than I am pleased to assist. XLeonie PS I hope this info wasn't too graphic my 30year old daughters would be horrified!!
Leonie, I had to laugh at your comment about your 30 year old daughters ... my kids used to be like that - they are now 44 & 42 (I'm 62) and know better. Terry's girls 26 & 28 roll their eyes and ...."too much information" so we deliberately stir them every now and then, just for fun.
Mickey, I'm not making light of your question .. we all face this situation no matter what our age. In our circumstances, we have always had an active intimate relationship but after I was diagnosed (in January of this year) I seemed to withdraw into myself. We didn't actually broach the subject, it was just mutually understood that things were changing and I was not "myself" (I would have liked to know just who I was, but that's another of lifes little mysteries)
After I had the mastectomy I was too sore to even change positions in bed much less anything else. There was still the intimacy of cuddles etc, but we didn't feel the need to actually talk about it. When the time was "right" we just both seemed to know and things just progressd naturally. Whether this was through maturity (a polite way of saying old age!!!) or instinct I don't know, but no two situations are the same.
You may need to sit with your partner and talk things through, but please don't bottle it up inside and say nothing. Neither of you are mind readers so an open dialogue is the best way.
Whatever you decide, don't forget we are here to chat and to support you when ever you need us.
Take care ..... Shirl
Hello again Mickey - thank you for sharing your thoughts with us .... i do hope that it has helped you in some way.
Firstly - this is not your fault, nor is it the fault of the cancer, nor is it the fault of the treatment. You didn't ask for any of this.
It sounds to me as if has been a well thought out and on-going experience your husband has embarked on and his only regret is being caught . You have only his word that he wouldn't have thought of it or done it 18 months ago (am I right in assuming that's when your health started to deteriate), or that it only started 4 months ago.
All of the regrets, sorrow, declarations of love etc etc are empty words as are the promises that it will never happen again ... he said that and it didn't last long did it. He betrayed your trust and you have every right to feel the way you do. Don't dwell on this or "wait for this game to go too far" ... that has already happened. Make up your mind what you want to do, be decisive and act on that decision. ... you owe yourself that.
One of my pet phrases when I talk about my journey through diagnosis, mastectomy, recovery etc etc is that "I am in charge of my own destiny" ... I believe that now applies to you.....turn this negative into a positive and make YOU your main priority.
Please stay in touch and let us know how you are getting on ... we are always ready to chat and to listen (figuratively speaking). i will now proceed to get out the play dough, make a male figure which I will castrate with a rusty, blunt hacksaw blade, coat in honey and place on the nearest ant bed.... see what a sweet, gentle soul I am .....
Look after yourself and stay strong
Cheers ... Shirl
You and Shirl stayed up later than me last night. My first thoughts when I read the blog this morning were of sadness for you. Then I read Shirl's comment and she is exactly right. YOU take control here. I was also betrayed 24 years ago when my husband brought a woman into our home. He had whittled me down to the size of a pea but boy did I find strength to fight the bastard. I had two little girls to fight for as well. It still hurts to this day to think back on those horrible times but I survived and did it very well. I always try to see the positive in any negative. That way it makes YOU in control. The other thought I had was, if you aren't already onto it, is to seek some professional help for yourself. Please before you sink into a hole - depression. Are you in any support groups? You may have already read on the site and from talking to others that depression is a "normal" part of the journey. It is not a good side effect but there are always remedies. I don't want to dwell on it but please keep it in mind - while you are thinking straight it is easier to make decisions. I send you all my strength to stay and grow stronger to be able to do whatever you need to do. YOU have beaten cancer YOU can do anything. I am so pleased you opened up and put your situation on "paper" it really does help. When I was going through my dramas all those years ago, I never stopped talking. I was living with my sister at the time as we had been thrown out on the street and years later she told me that she was "there" but never heard a word I said - after about the 100th time. So a "listening board" is good for the soul and a good healing source. Just had a good suggestion for you. Go out and do something you love doing or haven't ever been game to do. Feel liberated. I used to sing at the top of my voice - my poor parents just looked on and were there to support me. (money was too short to indulge myself in massages but I do now) Next time you log on I want to know what it is you are going to do !!!!!! Will we see headlines???Stay in touch as Shirl says we need to know that you are doing okay.XLeonie
Hello Shirl, well at least you put a big smile on my face when I read the bottom of your email....the play dough figure really has made my day...I will keep in contact. Thank You Mickey
Good morning Leonie, thank U again for your kind supportive words. Yes I ahve already started to do something I love. It is cycling. I ride a normal upright bike sometimes but my love for cycling comes with riding a recumbent. I have done a lot of touring on my "Roger" I have always wanted to ride from Perth to Melbourne ans am now setting my sights on that. Hoping to be fit enough early part of next year when weather is most suited. I am currently living in Katherine NT. Am from Vic. but we were travelling round OZ in motorhome. Ron had heart attack 2yr ago and underwnt open heart, but was soon in good recovery mode. He heals very quick. Then we hung around here whilst I continued to train for Kokoda which I did March 2009. 6 weeks upon my return fron PNG was when I was diagnosed. I am sure Ron was not unfaithful to me then. But this si a side of him I have never ever seen before. And you are right he will do it again. Financially I am stuck here. But I will definately be out from here before the wet season really kicks in bout end November. I only have 1 real friend here I can confide in. As for professional advice. Forget it. I work at a reputed welfare/charity store and we have health professionals/welfare workers come in regular and they openly discuss clients cases. This is one of those towns where everyone knows all. I am not prepared to advertise my marriage probs with the town. But yeah I had considered talking to a professional many times. I have found that by blurting it out on this site and to a good friend (email) in Vic it is helping heaps. I will keep in touch Regards Mickey
Sounds like you are working it out. You must be a very fit person. I try and stay pretty fit too. I was doing two Personal Training sessions, playing tennis and dragon boat paddling a week. Working full-time and all this has paid a toll on my health. I also have been doing quite a few trips to Melbourne. Grandchildren there. I seem to be coping lots of illness and they won't lift for a long time. Keep up your exercise routine - it is very good for your mind as well. My husband and I are hoping on doing the around Australia trip in a couple of years. Bit sad that you are stuck in Katherine - very small community and I understand your comments about the health workers. Seems like your husband has his own set of demons. As I've said before when you are faced with a life threatening illness/disease/accident it really makes you look at things differently. Fortunately for me it has all been positive. But I do have a healthy husband for now. Not sure which way it would go for him if he became sick. Keep your dreams/goals alive - it will keep you inspired and determined to achieve. XLeonie
Hi again Mickey - I know exactly how you feel ... especially the confidentially of small towns in rural/outback areas. I lived in Tennant Creek for 34 years and quite often it seemed that everyone knew what you were doing before you did it!!!! I will admit though the gossip-mongers were a minority, but you knew they were there and it made life a bit difficult at times.
How long have you lived there ..... if it has been a while the chances are that there are a number of people who already know about your problems - its a blokey thing to brag at the pub (been at the receiving end of that), but that doesn't make it easier for you.
Keep your head up, you have done nothing to be ashamed of - make your plans for a dignified retreat from the situation. If you find you can't be dignified then follow him up the street or into the pub and deck him in front of his mates (a piece of 4x2 should do the trick).
All jokes aside, stay in touch with us ... we are all good listeners.
Cheers .... Shirl xx
Hello Shirl, he is not a pub drinker. More of a stay at home bloke always has been We only have a couple of drinks between ourselves. Mostly on weekends. We don't go out. Guess we have always liked our quiet solitary lifestyle. This is why I find it so hard understanding his actions. Anyway the piece of 4x2 is looking good. Hav lived here for just over 3yrs. Were meant to B travellin OZ but due 2 illness between both of us we hav been stuck here. And now because of this issue we have I am so homesick for family, friends etc back in Vic. I can see me loadin up ute and just headin back south. Wow between you and Leonie U hav given me some incentive to do something/be stronger. Thanks Mickey
Thanks mate Mickey
Hello ladies. Well a bit of time has passed since my last posting. We are both going to counselling. It is helping but we have a long way to go. Our marriage was all but over. We both love each other and want what we had before. So we are both giving it our best shot. Time will be our healer.