Resentment toward illness, home?


Question from Homebody: Ever since the diagnosis and surgery--about one year ago--my whole house just seems like enemy territory. The kitchen I need to avoid cause I've gained weight. The bedroom's bad cause I have trouble sleeping and my husband and I don't have relations anymore. I really resent the way this illness has taken over my home.
Answers - David Spiegel It sounds like the home has come to symbolize some problems with your body image and sexuality and that there is little that you find you can enjoy. The things that brought you comfort and pleasure now seem like a threat. I think somehow you need to find your way out of it. Focusing less on weight, which can be a problem with women on hormonal treatments, which tends to lead them to put on weight. If you can, you need to find things that you can enjoy, and this may involve negotiating with your husband in the ways that we have talked about before. Or it may be that you can't enjoy anything and are somewhat depressed and need treatment for depression.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. As you manage it, try to find some safe places in your home where you don't feel uncomfortable, and then try to bring back the places in your home that have felt threatening to you. I have a patient that ended up sleeping in the living room for a few weeks because her bedroom was filled with fears that kept her up at night. Slowly she was able to go back into her bedroom. Moving furniture around and changing the decoration helped somewhat.

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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