Now there’s a few possible scenarios here…
Never been better!
Great stuff – you go girl!
Not like it used to be but getting there
Take it slowly, get to know your new body and enjoy rediscovering each other after all you’ve been through. It’s one of the best ways to feel closer, less stressed, more connected and takes your mind off everything (for a little while anyway!).
Erm…what sex life?
Rest assured, its not uncommon after the shock of diagnosis, raft of gruelling treatments, early induced menopause, hormone tweaking and stress of the whole shebang, to find you a bit lacking in the frisky business department. If you’re not really feeling it in the bedroom the first thing to do is just to go easy on yourself (and your partner) – cause the last thing you’re flagging libido needs right now is a big dose of stress to really put out the fire.
One response to all the prodding and poking you’ve received can be to retreat into your shell and not even want to be affectionately cuddled, held or comforted. It can feel sad and worrying if you find yourself cringing when your kids/partner/pet/well-meaning friend try to comfort you, only to find you’re rigidly responding and not remotely into the experience. Rest assured, this is all a normal response to not having your body as your own and it gets easier with practice and time, but it can take some work.
Starting initimacy in little steps can really work – just holding hands, having a cuddle, giving a stroke or something small, can be the start of getting touch back into your life. If you find yourself backing away from any contact with your partner whatsoever in case it leads to feeling pressured to have sex, you may find agreeing on a time period (say a month) without any sex, can allow you to practice expressing affection during that time without pressuring or guilting yourself. As with most of this cancer business, talking things over with your partner (especially if you’re going to try the sex-free period!) will help you and them to understand what’s going on and how best to get back on track.
It’s a work in progress
If you’re a single lass when the C bomb lands – you’re faced with a totally different dilemma in the sex life department as you figure out how to play the dating game with an altered rule book.
Once your confidence is restored and you get back out on the scene you’ve got a couple of big considerations – like how to answer innocent questions such as, what you’ve been up to lately? (oh nothing really, just a few rounds of chemo, removal of some of my most feminine parts and a bit of radiation – how about you?). You’ve got to figure out when to mention the C word (if at all) and if things develop further then you’ll find yourself maybe having to explain that you hang your boob(s) on the door handle when you retire for the evening.
It’s a tricky one to handle, and you’ll maybe fail a few times before you work out your game plan, but don’t let it put you off meeting people altogether. In addition to any village idiots you may encounter there are also the lovely people, just like you, that will totally understand, and they’re the ones really worth getting to know.