Intimacy and cancer

Posted by Iowakate @katehedderich, Feb 4 2:39pm

My husband and I have not been intimate since my cancer (glioblastoma) diagnosis (5 years now). At first it was due to fatigue. But now I don’t know why. I try to talk to him about it but he avoids the subject. Anyone else having this issue?

@katehedderich Welcome to Connect. And congratulations on trusting us with a subject many cancer patients have as concern but are hesitant to discuss. There are so many losses experienced in a cancer journey including those involving sexual intimacy. You say that you have tried unsuccessfully to discuss this with your husband. If you have had open discussions in the past, this certainly must be an additional loss if not feel like new rejection. If those discussions weren’t part of your relationships, what options to obtain help do you have that might be acceptable to your husband? Again, I applaud your trust and honesty. It speaks well of your relationship. Peace, Nancy

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@1nan

@katehedderich Welcome to Connect. And congratulations on trusting us with a subject many cancer patients have as concern but are hesitant to discuss. There are so many losses experienced in a cancer journey including those involving sexual intimacy. You say that you have tried unsuccessfully to discuss this with your husband. If you have had open discussions in the past, this certainly must be an additional loss if not feel like new rejection. If those discussions weren’t part of your relationships, what options to obtain help do you have that might be acceptable to your husband? Again, I applaud your trust and honesty. It speaks well of your relationship. Peace, Nancy

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Thanks for your thoughts.

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@katehedderich

Thanks for your thoughts.

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@katehenrichsen You are so welcome. Please know I’m not going anywhere if you think we can have conversation that would be helpful. Some of our journeys can feel pretty lonely sometimes. Nancy

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@katehedderich You’ve asked a very good question that no one ever wants to ask. And doctors don’t want to bring up the subject even though it would sure help if they did. I found this article for you that may answer some of your questions or give you some information. If you Google ‘intimacy and cancer’ you will find many reputable resources. Maybe print out some articles and just leave them lying around.
I hope what @1nan and I have suggested will help some. Please stay in touch with us. Becky
https://www.cancercenter.com/integrative-care/intimacy-relationship-challenges

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Thank you. I will look.

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I also applaud you for breaching this issue, your a brave woman. As a man, perhaps I can offer some suggestions. Have you tried initiating intimacy and telling your husband of your desires? My ex-wife had breast cancer, I was hesitant to initiate intimacy out of fear of rejection because of the cancer. I didn’t want to talk about it either. One night she was very blunt, assured me she still loved me, told me what she wanted/needed and initiated sex. It took several times of her doing the initiating until things returned to normal. Sometimes us men aren’t the smartest tool in the shed and need a push. If ED is an issue, insist he talk about it, get help or the blue pill if necessary. I’ll try answering your questions if you feel comfortable talking to me. Never give up.

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@dutchw

I also applaud you for breaching this issue, your a brave woman. As a man, perhaps I can offer some suggestions. Have you tried initiating intimacy and telling your husband of your desires? My ex-wife had breast cancer, I was hesitant to initiate intimacy out of fear of rejection because of the cancer. I didn’t want to talk about it either. One night she was very blunt, assured me she still loved me, told me what she wanted/needed and initiated sex. It took several times of her doing the initiating until things returned to normal. Sometimes us men aren’t the smartest tool in the shed and need a push. If ED is an issue, insist he talk about it, get help or the blue pill if necessary. I’ll try answering your questions if you feel comfortable talking to me. Never give up.

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Hope I didn’t say anything inappropriate or offensive. I just wanted to give an honest answer to a honest valid question.

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@dutchw thank you for joining the conversation and sharing the male perspective for @katehedderich to read and consider. I feel you shared, very honestly, your experience and suggestions that could potentially help a great deal.

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Thanks for your perspective. It helps. And I was not offended by anything you said.

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@amandajro

@dutchw thank you for joining the conversation and sharing the male perspective for @katehedderich to read and consider. I feel you shared, very honestly, your experience and suggestions that could potentially help a great deal.

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Thank you

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@katehedderich

Thanks for your perspective. It helps. And I was not offended by anything you said.

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Thank you. Hoped it helped and don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

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@katehedderich Hello. I just deleted my long reply giving a lot of details (and ended up making this longere, sorry) but main thing I wanted to say was many years ago I had "heavy" external and internal radiation for cancer of cervix stage 2. In my early forties and four years in to second marriage and great love life, I had to go to a hospital about 4 hours drive there and back, so stayed there.. he visited me at beginning and end of treatment as income low, had job and also looking after stepdaughter etc. No computers, Ipads, cell phones etc. Because of a bad drug reaction etc (a story in itself) I was away 2.5 months. I also returned home with depression and anorexia (nothing to do with wanting to be thin) and was off work another 2.5 months. Our lives had taken a hit…intimacy returned a bit but something lacking. Six months later we moved and extra bedroom…. which I moved into and that was the END of intimacy. That was 36 years ago. He also diagnozed with diabetes and I think the medication he took played some part….. but we never really talked about it or sought advice. For me, after sexually active for the past 22 years in first marriage and dating after, to be quite truthful I accepted it… maybe as the radiation had "forced" menopause by radiating the ovaries and uterus (no surgery as tumour too large) and I was put on hormone therapy. I don't think he had a girlfriend on the side!!!
We got on with our jobs, small family both sides, new house, but separate bedrooms and still have separate rooms.
I cannot offer advice to anyone else, but wanted you to know that things like this do "happen"…. and although I accepted it, I would really suggest if you wish a life with intimacy that you, or your husband, or both of you seek some counselling or ? because sometimes these things are temporary – which I hope yours is – or "permanent" and looking back possibly I should have done things differently but we still enjoyed our life together and its been 40 years now.
Hope this helps in some small way , as others have said, you and your spouse are not alone in this … cancer, depression, illness, even money troubles or problems with children, a job, stress, etc. can affect either or both partners in a marriage or relationship in many many ways, and I agree, brave you for initiating the conversation. (hope my sharing helps in some small way) J.

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