After surgery, how to feel whole again?


Question from Two Fancy: How do you get over feelings of not being whole, when half of your breast has been removed?
Answers - Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. It takes some time to start feeling good about yourself again. Sometimes it helps to focus on the things about yourself that were attractive before, instead of focusing on the small part of yourself that has changed. It may help to do things that make you feel vital and attractive. Physical exercise, wearing clothes that you like, and getting comfortable looking at and touching the area of your scars are all things that can help.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Body image is usually much more of a problem for the woman herself than for her partner. The fact that sex usually occurs in the dark and under covers may give you a little bit more comfort or help you feel less exposed. I would recommend Dr. Schover's book, "Sexuality and Fertility After Cancer." This is a great resource.
Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. It has some exercises to help you get comfortable with your body again.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Don't expect that you will feel better about your body overnight. It will take time. But you also have to be willing to choose to support and nurture yourself and let go of some of your self doubts.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2001, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Intimacy and Sexuality. Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about how breast cancer diagnosis and treatment affect your sex life.

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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