Help husband deal with mastectomy?


Question from Carolina: I had a mastectomy but decided to wait on reconstruction until after all the chemo and radiation were over. Now, I feel better and want to be close with my husband but he won't look at me and is only willing to be with me if he lies behind me. That really hurts my feelings but he says it's a normal reaction for a man to have.
Answers - David Spiegel I can understand how that would be hurtful. I guess the question is how can you help him. It is understandable that it would be upsetting to a man to see a mastectomy in his wife, but sooner or later he has to get beyond it. Again I would say at a time when you are not trying to be intimate you might say to him that you would feel more comfortable sexually if he would look at you and if he and you could do that together it would help get beyond it. You have dealt with it, so maybe you can think through what you did and see if you can help him become half as smart as you are.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. This is not going to happen in one big step. It would probably take quite a number of steps over days and nights. You might want to start out in bed partially clothed facing each other and hopefully get to the point you can be face to face and as naked as you want to be. Try wearing something that you feel sexy in. That might help him get beyond the first step.

On Wednesday, October 18, 2000, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Feelings about Breast Cancer. David Spiegel, Ph.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the emotional effects of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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