Tag Archives: Emotions post cancer

Cancer and Depression

3 Jun

I’ve written about post-cancer depression here before. It creeps in like a bad flu and when it happens most people are surprised. Depressed? Not me. I’m a fighter, fighting against cancer. Nothing’s gonna get me, no, nothing at all.

The truth is, post-cancer depression is a lot more complex than that. There is a sense of great loss and also a sense of betrayal that the body and soul will not ever return to normal.

And of all the books, websites that I’ve read, nothing describes it as succinct as Dana Jennings, a writer for the New York Times. Gosh I wish I could write like him!

“Partly, I think, I’m grieving for the person I was before I learned I had cancer. Mortality is no longer abstract, and a certain innocence has been lost.

And while the physical trauma is past, the stress lingers and brings with it days washed in fine shades of gray. In the same way that radiation has a half-life, stress does, too. We all ache to be the heroes of our own tales, right? Well, I’m not feeling too heroic these days.” – Dana Jennings

After Cancer, Ambushed by Depression : Dana Jennings, The New York Times

Have a peaceful and joyful day ahead.

Sex and Intimacy after Cancer

15 Dec

One of the things I realised after treatment is that life does not return to normal. Well, some say that you’ll get used to the new normal  and then they go on to tell you what the possible new normal is. When it is expected, it could be well tolerated without much struggle. However, more often than not the new state surfaces out of the blue and it hits you like a “wham!”, and all you can think of is, “is that the new me now? and how long does that last?”

I came across this educational talk posted on the Livestrong blog about sex and intimacy after cancer. After treatment ended, I found myself not interested in engaging intimately with my partner. There are many reasons: don’t feel like it, not in the mood and pain. Coming to terms with the new self is a slow process and takes a great deal of communication. I remember being confused about the fear of intimacy and love – does that mean I’m not in love with him anymore? – and having to dissect what my emotions are before attempting to speak to my partner about it. I didn’t feel like a woman, more like a sexless person who has the technical functions of a female human being.

Speaking about it allows your partner to understand what you are going through. First of all it is a good thing for your partner to know that you are not rejecting him. Second of all, it reinforces the idea that you are still in the process of recovering and hence he knows what to expect – certainly not back to your pre-cancer normal. Best of all, if you can talk about it and laugh about it, it certainly helps with your relationship.

There are lots of information out there with coping with sex and intimacy after cancer. Here is the link to the livestrong video and it also comes with a handout which you can print out. This page at the National Cancer Institute also has information about how to cope with your sexual life after cancer. At the end of day, be patient and kind to yourself. Dealing cancer has been difficult and now you still have to deal with it?? WTF? I know, I feel that at times too. But moping around doesn’t really help. So focus on the positive and remember that life can sometimes throw you many curveballs, it is really up to you to make the best out of it. If in doubt, a loving hug to your dearly beloved or a relaxing massage never fails.