When problems arise
The disease will not destroy relationships if they were originally holistic, mature. Problems arise in cases where partners are codependent (relationships like victim-rescuer, parent-child). To maintain such a relationship, a healthy partner should not take on all the obligations and be overprotective. It is necessary to learn how to help, but not to do everything for a sick loved one – such a manifestation of love is fatal! On the contrary, it is important to encourage the patient to get up and do something himself, because movement, even minimal, contributes to a more successful treatment and recovery. The more the patient lies, the more difficult it will be given to him even minimal physical activity, and a breakdown in spirit can lead to sad consequences. Both the patient and his partner must remember: you can not build a life around the disease. If possible, it is worth continuing to work, at least a few hours a day, and lead a familiar life.
Another enemy of relationships, and not just in cancer, is a sense of duty. To be with a person out of a sense of duty is to create a destructive, destructive relationship. If before the illness the family existed because one of the partners felt a sense of duty, then when faced with difficulties, the situation is aggravated. Relationships turn into torture, and it often happens that a partner leaves.
In order to maintain feelings and sexual attraction to each other, each of the partners needs to take care of themselves. Try not to give up your hobbies and interests, communication with friends.
If you have a cancer diagnosis
After anticancer treatment, especially chemotherapy and surgery, the patient needs systemic recovery and care.
The state and appearance depend on our internal and external resources – resources of the first order and the second. Resources of the first order are aimed at restoring the nervous system at the most basic level.
- First of all, it is necessary to remove toxins and heavy radicals from the body that have accumulated during treatment.
- Green juices and green tea, spirulina, any foods rich in fiber and vitamin C.
- Quality sleep.
- Proper nutrition. If you have a nutritional deficiency, see a nutritionist.
- Physical activity, movement.
- Fresh air and nature.
- Silence and solitude, meditation.
- Tactile contact with loved ones.
- Oncopsychologist support.
- The opportunity to see beauty. At first glance, this is far from the most important need, but research shows that this is not the case.
- Positive emotions, laughter therapy.
Second order resources also contribute to recovery. These are different intellectual and social joys:
- Meetings with friends.
- Theatre, cinema, music.
- Self care procedures. You can and even need to visit a beautician. Before cosmetic manipulations, I recommend that you first consult with your oncologist.
- And all the other wonderful things: buy yourself something, listen to an interesting lecture, read interesting, positive books.
Another important source of strength is sex. A full-fledged intimate life helps to improve not only the psychological, but also the physical condition. Unfortunately, oncological disease often leads to violations of sexual life and, as a result, sexual maladaptation of the couple.
How to save sex in a couple
The causes of problems with sex can be directly related to the disease and treatment, and then the patient may experience discomfort and pain. If this happens, for example, due to a disruption in the work of the endocrine, nervous or cardiovascular system, you should contact your doctor or related specialists – a gynecologist, neurologist, endocrinologist. Also, for example, after surgery, depending on its nature and complexity, the ban on sexual intimacy can reach 2.5 months.
The patient has every right to refuse sex during and after treatment, but sometimes a couple may not have sex for 6 or more months due to intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts. Prolonged lack of desire with a disorder of attraction, arousal and orgasm is called sexual dysfunction. Here you need the help of a psychologist-sexologist.
Surgical treatment and radiation therapy in the pelvic area impose temporary restrictions on sexual life. During chemotherapy, thrombocytopenia associated with the risk of bleeding may occur. Also, during radiation therapy, when the vaginal mucosa is irradiated, adhesive processes can develop that shorten the vagina. The mucosa can become thinner, dryness occurs, so it is important to use lubricants (there are special lubricants that have a positive effect on the regeneration of vaginal tissues).
Women may begin to experience menopausal symptoms (vasomotor flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness even with sexual arousal). In this case, you need to contact a gynecologist and oncologist. Neutropenia (decreased immunity) may also occur, so protection is recommended.
Chemotherapy in men can cause erectile dysfunction, which is often associated with decreased testosterone production, emotional distress, and stress. Correction of the condition is carried out with a urologist. Men with erectile dysfunction require intensification of erotic caresses, including direct stimulation of the genitals.
Feel free to ask for help
If the problems of a physiological order are resolved, but tension reigns in a couple and definitely not up to sex, then you should contact a specialized specialist. Sexual therapy is a psychotherapeutic work aimed at eliminating a sexual disorder. A psychologist/sexologist can help you establish more open communication between partners, reduce tension and overcome factors that negatively affect your sex life.
It will be especially useful to contact a specialist if there is sexual incompatibility between the temperaments of partners. However, with the detection of cancer, the problem may worsen. At the heart of the harmony of relationships in a couple are three pillars: common interests, plans for the future and sex. Maintain these three areas and don’t let illness take over your life.