Having a serious illness almost always takes some kind of toll on your sex life. But breast cancer can bring all thoughts of intimacy and sexuality to a screeching halt.
Treatments can bring on temporary -- and sometimes permanent -- premature menopause, making intercourse painful. Chemotherapy and radiation often lead to crushing fatigue. You may want to stay in bed, but you don’t want to use it for anything but sleep. The medications you take, as well as the emotional effects of the disease, can...
Write your questions down so you don’t forget them. If it’s OK with your loved one, you can go with her to an appointment and ask the doctor about them. You may want to let other people know what you’re going to ask before you go.
Be prepared for changes in your loved one's behavior and mood. Medications, side effects from treatment, and stress may make her feel depressed, angry, or tired.
Encourage her to be active and to do as much for herself as possible. It will help her feel a sense of control.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Be sure you get enough sleep, eat well, and take some time off for yourself. If you stay well, it will be easier to help your loved one.
Ask other family members and friends to pitch in, too. They can bring meals, take the dog for a walk, or offer rides to doctor’s appointments. Most people will appreciate the chance to help.
A loved one’s illness can be stressful for you, too. To keep your worries from taking over:
Try to keep a positive attitude.
Accept that there are events you cannot control.
Find some activities that help you relax. Take a walk, listen to music, or practice meditation or yoga.
Exercise regularly. It’s a great way to fight tension, and it can help your body be better prepared to deal with stress.