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Thread: marriage changes and how to cope...after cancer treatment

  1. #1

    marriage changes and how to cope...after cancer treatment

    I am the wife of a 60 yr old man who received hormone therapy and brachytherapy 3 years ago. There have been complications, especially with erectile function and libido. I am interested in talking to men and women (wives especially) about marriage after prostate cancer--what changes, how to cope. Anybody out there?
    I am the wife of a 60 yr old man who received hormone therapy and brachytherapy 3 years ago. I am interested in talking to men and women (wives especially) about marriage after prostate cancer--what changes, how to cope. Anybody out there?

  2. #2
    Just saw your post. My husband is 57 and had his surgery last January. He also had one hormone shot (which turns out he did not need) The Doctor said his nerves were spared and he should not have a problem with erections, libido, etc. but the hormone made things more difficult. It has been over a year. The hormone has not yet completely disappeared - his testosterone level is still 0 - so we do not know how long, if ever, it will take for him to be anywhere near normal again. He has been very wonderful throughout all of it. - Has had some weight gain, had hot flashes, all kinds of wonderful side affects from the shot, but I wonder how long his patience will last. As for me, I try and be supportive, am not sure just what I should do as far as sex is concerned. Think if he has no libido, it is probably good to leave him alone. What are you doing?

    Terry

  3. #3
    Regular User
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    There has been a lot of people that have read this, 1358 I think, and only one response?

    I am new to this and wondering also. Husband had surgery in December of 2007 so we are just starting on the journey to what now. I will do what it takes to help get everything working again if possible.

    I will say he is at 4 weeks, can have an orgasm with urine leakage, but only gets about 1/2 of what use to so far so may need Viagra or Cialis. Hopefully next doctor trip.

  4. #4
    Dear Sanjis and Worried Wife,
    It was amazing to me after so many months that somebody has answered my post! Thanks for answering the question, "Is anybody out there?" I thought for the longest time that I was the only wife whose husband was having difficulties healing, in all senses of the word. Hormone injections dealt his libido a huge blow. Since his treatment in 2002, he hasn't had a single sexual feeling until very recently. At first he was angry and didn't want to deal with it or talk about it at all, felt he wasn't a man anymore. But I cajoled him into joining Man to Man together (local chapter), and we've met several people who are knowledgeable about what wives go through--one is actually the wife of a urologist I know, who hears all sorts of sad stories at her husband's office, where she works. Through this friendship, and my husband's recent interest in acupuncture, things seem to be waking up again--after so long. As far as leaving him alone in his libido-less state, I did that for a long time--at least gave up approaching him sexually. I suffered terribly, feeling very lonely--and he suffered in his loneliness; and all I can say is that somehow you have to reach out to each other. I think it took a while for him to realize that my loneliness was just like his, only from another perspective. I am writing a book about our experience and may actually launch a website for wives to tell their stories--not an interactive site, but a sort of Zine, so people can come and read and then go away and think about it. Would you find that interesting? If so, I'd love to know. I'm finally feeling that we have the beginning of control over what happened to us. This is SO HARD, surviving the aftermath of these treatments, with little or no information. Yes, he had hot flashes and weight gain--those were the things the doctors warned him about--but not the total loss of libido.
    I'd love to know what anybody has to say about this.
    Whenever I get the site/Zine up and operating, I'll post an announcement here.
    Meanwhile, what do you do to cope with what's been happening? My coping mechanism turned out to be writing about it....
    I am the wife of a 60 yr old man who received hormone therapy and brachytherapy 3 years ago. I am interested in talking to men and women (wives especially) about marriage after prostate cancer--what changes, how to cope. Anybody out there?

  5. #5
    I am so happy to read your responses. I am surprised that we have not heard from more wives to date. I have to say that my husband's spirits have been good. I think he expects everything to get back to normal eventially but, lately, I am not as sure as he. I don't tell him that - want him to keep positive. I figure as long as his testosterone is so low, there is very little going on, so, it may not be time to really worry yet. I think your idea for a zine is a good one. Prostate cancer seems to be so explosive now I am sure people would love to have a place to go to share information...

    Terry aka worried wife

  6. #6
    my urologist prescribed viagra when I went for my first exam after RP surgery 50 mg a night at bedtime back in march 2007. he wrote prescription for 100mg and told me to cut in half. It is starting to work. Yes it can be lonesome the man is afraid to start anything and the woman is also afraid that if she does it will make the man feel worse if he can't perform. We have to realize there are many ways to be intimate and try to work at these and the other may eventually work. We need to realize our lives and time we spend together can and is still rewarding without an erection. Life is more precious. If erections don't arrive there are other things to try shots implants vacuum device all is not forever lost so we need to all hang in together and support one another. By the way I was 57 when diagnosed. Lets all hang in there. Sometimes we need to go back to starting out at first base again which always was great. Second and third base can be a blast to.

  7. #7
    He has gone the Viagra root, also has used the pump. I do think there is a little more going on than previously, which is fine, but I don't want to put any pressure on him. I agree that massages, kisses, etc. are wonderful and I am certainly willing to wait for anything more - I am just worried that I might not be doing enough for him.

    WW

  8. #8
    I meant the Viagra route - must have been a Freudian slip

  9. #9

    Wives of Husbands with Prostate Cancer

    I am new to this site. I have been to numerous sites and tried to educate myself whenever possible. I stumbled accross your postings and was so suprised that they are so inline with what I too am dealing with. My life was turned upside down 1 year ago- Jan 2007. Since then it has been a constant rollercoaster. My husband is 60 years old and diagnosed with Advanced Prostate Cancer. We have slammed his body with everything available and he has & is doing great. I have to say the hardest struggle for me is staying positive through this and trying to stay open to him. He used to be one of the most kind, caring, understanding and very nurturing men. He has been the leader in our relationship. But in the last year he has changed not only sexually but emotionally and that is so very difficult to accept, realize and deal with. It takes alot of work and we are both very frightend. But we are trying hard to make everything work. We have been so involved with the medical issues & treatments that we have not taken any steps towards the sexual side yet. I pray everyday that we make it through and am so thankful that he is alive and happy and has been so lucky with his treatments that the quality of his life is still very tolerable. So I am definately interested in more communication in regards to Wives of husbands with PC. Thanks for your time. Pam

  10. #10

    Wives of Husbands with Prostate Cancer

    I am new to this site. I have been to numerous sites and tried to educate myself whenever possible. I stumbled accross your postings and was so suprised to read about women that are struggling and dealing with the same feelings I deal with daily.

    My life was turned upside down 1 year ago- Jan 2007. Since then it has been a constant rollercoaster. My husband is 60 years old and diagnosed with Advanced Prostate Cancer. We have slammed his body with everything available and he has & is doing great. I have to say the hardest struggle for me is staying positive through this and trying to stay open to him. He used to be one of the most open, caring, kind, understanding and nurturing men. He has been the leader in our relationship. But in the last year he has changed. Obviously sexually we have lost almost everything but the daily stuggles with the emotional side is sometime so very difficult to accept, realize and deal with. It takes alot of work and at times we are both very frightend and I have to constantly push myself to be aware of his mental state. We struggle daily, weekly monthly trying hard to make everything work and to be open with each other. We have been so involved with the medical issues & treatments that we have not taken any steps towards the sexual side yet. I pray everyday that we make it through this to continue to be a happy and alive couple. I am thankful that he is alive today but still very scared of what the future has to offer us. I hope that his quality of his life does not decline anymore. So I am definately interested in more communication in regards to Wives of husbands with PC. Thanks for your time. Pam

  11. #11
    Dear Pam,

    I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. Hopefully, your husband will continue to improve every day. I guess one of the things that we have to remember is that we are dealing with cancer, primarily, not impotance. And as long as we can beat the cancer, the rest can take care of itself. So I guess as wives, we need to stress the positive as much as possible, keep having fun together, keep loving and caring for each other. I try and give my husband massages, and just non-sexual touchings until he indicates he might want something else. But, again, the most important thing is beating the disease.

    Terry

  12. #12
    New User
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    I am very touched by what I have read here. I hope that I can impart in a small way what has happened with the relationship between my wife and myself since the onset of my illness. It was three years ago that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and it changed our lives completely. I was 54 when diagnosed with the disease and had a very good marriage of close to twenty years. Cancer all but destroyed what these years had brought together. I had a heart attack within a month of being diagnosed and therefore my radical prostectomy was canceled for four months, and I was given a shot of Lupron. As you may know, this shot completely destroys any urge and desire for sexual contact. It really goes much further than that. It actually makes sexual contact somewhat repulsive. Sometimes when my wife and I would go to bed she would reach over and want to cuddle. I think she could feel the lack of desire from me, and before I knew it she would start crying and would wind up crying herself to sleep. I would lay in bed for hours feeling extremely guilty, and somewhat angry for her lack of understanding in what I was going through. Of course, it was also my lack of understanding what she was going through that made this time difficult. At any rate, I had my surgery four months later. Unfortunately, while I remained continent, I had lost all erectile functions. We had a very hard time dealing with the lack of intimacy during this period. She has since told me that she no longer felt that I found her attractive and desirable. The Lupron had long since worn off, and I in fact did find her very desirable. However I also felt so much less than a man now. We started to become very open with one another and talked about things that we would have never talked about before. We saved our marriage and our life together by doing this. We have tried all the drugs available and we still have no success with my problem, however we have become very adapt at being able to show our love for each other in other ways and now have a very happy home life. I guess what I am trying to pass on to you, is please take the time to talk with your husbands and let them know exactly how you feel, and encourage them to open up to you. I wish each of you the very best during this very difficult period of time you are going through.

    Ed

  13. #13
    I wish I could help - we are over a year after the shot and surgery and still struggling. He is on Viagra and Levitra but there is still not much going on. There are bright spots - his PSA is 0 and his testosterone levels are starting to rise but very slowly. He still has a very good attitude but I often wonder if there is more that I should be doing. That is my main question - what is my role here?

  14. #14
    Experienced User
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    your book

    i would be happy to assist with any technical aspects of your book or even write a foreward. I am a board certified urologist.

  15. #15
    Regular User
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    We are now 2 1/2 months past the Davinci Surgery. My husband is getting very very frustrated even to the point of anger that the incontinence and E.D. is not doing better. He is on Cialis and a pump but it is not helping. I keep telling him it has only been 2 1/2 months but of course he was hoping he would be one of the what 10% that bounces back in just 2 months I am really having a hard time coping with his frustration. I much prefer that he is just here with me than the alternative.

  16. #16
    Banned Regular User
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    There's no question that this is more difficult for some than for others. I'm nearly 9 months past my surgery - nerves spared - and waiting for signs of them "waking up". Meanwhile, my wife and I stay intimate in whichever way we can, and we can satify each other pretty well.

    Prostate Cancer is either a life-changing or life-ending event. I'll choose life-changing any day.

  17. #17
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    Not a Man Anymore?

    It's been almost exactly a year since my radical retropubic prostatectomy. I had everything taken out, including "the nerves" that control erections. THEN, since the cancer had already metastasized, I was given Eligard (lupron and other leuprolides are similar) to suppress testosterone (what the cancer feeds off of). I can take a self-administered shot that causes erections, but the desire is JUST GONE!!

    I had my catheter in for several weeks, and despite the inconvenience, my urinary system had healed COMPLETELY, and I have no dysfunction of the system whatsoever (and no pain, either). I'm no doctor, but I think the horror stories here about severe pain was due to premature cessation of the catheter system, putting too much pressure on an un-healed system.

    My libido is GONE, period. As others have related, not only can I not "get it up", but the thought never occurs to me that I might want to. That is SO WEIRD for someone like me who had a rich sexual life prior to the surgery. I truly feel like a PERSON, but not a man anymore.

    What I have accepted is that my sexuality had "aged" twenty years without the rest of me. That is, I would not expect to get aroused and erectile when I am eighty, so now that I am 60 (59, actually) that time has come prematurely.

    OF COURSE I have been depressed occasionally over this!! The intimate touching and feelings that were so abundant before last year are now negligible. ANY libidinous thoughts that creep in are so fleeting they disappear in SECONDS!!

    What I always fall back on is that I am ALIVE to report all this. I try to hug my spouse several times daily, to kiss her in the morning when I wake up, because every day I wake up is a treasured gift that would have disappeared by now if I hadn't had the prostatectomy and hormone treatment. As sad as it is to lose one's libido and the true pleasure of intercourse with one's spouse, that is the price I pay for the joy of living, traveling, seeing family, etc--ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS.

    So I have no need of Depends, and am doing fine in 99% of life's aspects, but I'm condemned to libido and erectile dysfunction. I accept that willingly to sustain all the other aspects of pleasurable life.

    I think couples just have to deal with what is, make whatever adjustments are mutually satisfying, and revel in the fact that one's life has been extended. You can die next year with a hard-on or go on living a premature "old man's life" for maybe twenty more years. Easy choice for me!
    T-3, Gleason 9+
    RRP 2-26-07
    Was using Lupron HDT--
    Successful for four years,
    Not working anymore!
    Fast-rising PSA 6/11
    Provenge started 8/11
    PCa invasion of bladder 9/11
    Fossa lesion discovered 11/11
    IMRT/IGRT 80 grays 12/11
    Bone mets discovered 3/12
    Provenge declared a "bust"
    Taxotere infusions started 4/12
    PSA Coming Down
    PSA Going Back Up!!
    Taxotere declared a "bust"
    Zytiga, here we come!
    BAAD SE's on Zytiga, PSA quintupled!
    Now on Xtandi and Samarium 153

  18. #18
    Moderator Top User
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    sequoiaranger,

    WAY TO GO!!!! you are truly amazing. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    For having (forgive the pun) the balls to stand up and say it all. For letting you speak freely of your life. Your expanding and long life. Others will read this and understand or value your true words of your life.

    So, again I thank you. and say again you are amazing- Your wife is very lucky to have a man like you in her life. As I think you have said- Sex isn't everything- and for many women- it's the intimacy, the closeness the love, the touch, the kiss, the held. It's the compainonship that means the most.
    You wife is one lucky women to have you in her life- and longer now.

    Thank you.
    Thinking of you Inica



    ~Nose Cancer~
    ~Car Accident- Broken Back, Ribs, Spleen
    Sternum~
    ~Continous Cervical Cancer~

    My Story-
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=6731


    9 Lives and still kicking

  19. #19
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    Thanks, Inica

    Thanks for the kind words, Inica. I read your story, too. I guess we just gotta "Keep on Truckin' " no matter what life throws our way.

    >For having (forgive the pun) the balls to stand up and say it all. <

    Well, if my chemical hormone treatment fails again, the other option to control testosterone production is to simply "cut 'em off". At this point they aren't worth much anyway!

    I have just come back from a visit Down Under--a week in Oz and three weeks in NZ with my wife. Just loved it. Combination of 5-star cruise ship and one-star campervan. Again, I am alive to report it. And now my wife and I are planning a cruise to Norway where her ancestors are. Though retired I gotta work to make $$ to afford these trips, but I certainly have motivation and a great companion (my wife) to share my non-sexual life with.

    We almost didn't go on our trip due to a mass discovered in my wife's breast a couple of weeks before the trip. What to do? We crossed our fingers and went anyway. Turns out it is NOT cancer, but "they" actually don't know quite what it is. It's coming out anyway!! The less stress the better!

    Good luck with Hunter!

    Craig
    T-3, Gleason 9+
    RRP 2-26-07
    Was using Lupron HDT--
    Successful for four years,
    Not working anymore!
    Fast-rising PSA 6/11
    Provenge started 8/11
    PCa invasion of bladder 9/11
    Fossa lesion discovered 11/11
    IMRT/IGRT 80 grays 12/11
    Bone mets discovered 3/12
    Provenge declared a "bust"
    Taxotere infusions started 4/12
    PSA Coming Down
    PSA Going Back Up!!
    Taxotere declared a "bust"
    Zytiga, here we come!
    BAAD SE's on Zytiga, PSA quintupled!
    Now on Xtandi and Samarium 153

  20. #20
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    35
    I wish my hubby would just feel that being here is enough. I do! He wishes he didn't have it done now, his libido is going down too, he is just getting frustrated and seems to be pulling away more and more from me. All I want is for us to be together for the rest of our lives and hoping it is at least 30 more years. We have been together since I was 12, married at 17. We are now 54 & 56. He is my love, my lifelong partner and I hate seeing him so depressed and angry over the E.D. and incontinence. Heck I have lived with it for quite some time now, having children did me in. He just is not handling this very well.

 
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