Sat | Dec 3, 2016

In sickness ...

Published:Monday | October 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Writer

Scared and helpless were just a few of the emotions that Ryan Richardsand Sean Daleyfelt after their wives were diagnosed with breast cancer. After learning that their wives would be OK, they are now able to get their lives back to normal - including their sex life.

Breast cancer survivor Dr Jennifer Mamby-Alexander in her book, A Practical Guide to Coping with Cancer states that, "Cancer and its treatment may impact your sex life for many different reasons. This may be as a result of fatigue, surgery, stress, weight changes and hair loss and may be carried over into recovery period. Sex may have changed or even stopped for a period during illness because of the extent of the treatment or because of the location of the cancer. You must remember that your illness affected not only you, but also your partner."

Richards and Daley were aware their wives might have been sore from surgery and feared they would hurt them, and that caused just a slight adjustment in their sex life. Richards' wife, Staceysaid that her sex life was never really affected "The good thing for me when it came to my relationship and treatment was that my husband was not here he was away at work. So where sex was concerned I was not affected by it," she said.

On the other hand, Richards' main concern is not so much about the sex but his life without her: "When I learnt she was going to be alright I was and still am happy. I am just happy to have her," he said. "After the treatment, I just had to be extra careful. I always am. She told me that her left side was weaker because of the number of surgeries she did on that side. So when it was time to be intimate I just took extra care: be extra sensitive and take time on that side."

Love conquers all

Daley's experience was similar. "In fact, I have to be careful during sexual intercourse, she complains about putting pressure on her left side, because that's the side she did surgery. Nonetheless, I am still sexually satisfied," he said with certainty.

Love indeed conquers all. Stacey said that even though she sensed that her husband was uncomfortable with her single mastectomy she did not feel insecure. "Our sex life is now back to normal," she concluded.

"If someone really loves you, that person will support you completely and will grasp this as the biggest chance to step up to the table, put their love to the test, to be that bridge over troubled water for you," said Dr Mamby-Alexander.