I don't remember being afraid to show him the after effects of the surgery but I do remember he seem so non-plused by it that I felt almost ignored. It didn't happen like the movies where he pulls you into his arms and says I love you no matter what, life just went on. He was not repulsed by what he saw but also there was no visible signs of what he was. I wasn't sure if that was what he felt or his cover up of what he really did feel.
After five years of looking at myself and wearing clothes that feel wrong, I proceeded to do something about it and he supported me through that as well but inside I keep thinking, how vain is this? I am alive, so what if my clothes fall down on that side but yet one day I found myself crying uncontrollably about what I had become and what was no longer there. I did have a couple interventional procedures and do look and feel better but it didn't improve the damage that aging had already done. I am almost glad of that though as I would be afraid that I would become that person that would continue to make or want to make everything perfect.
My kids never did say anything and barely discussed the whole experience. It is what it is and we moved on. No , I didn't feel like dwelling on it but I have found a common thread with many like persons and that is once it is done, those that have continued with their lives expect you to do so otherwise, you are back to normal. They took care of the C word and that is that. For outsiders I can understand that is a more comfortable approach but for those of us that did go through it, it is ever present to varying degrees and much like a death, some days are better than others and some days we continue to mourn and look at how we have changed with what has been put behind us in our experience with cancer. My husband understands that if I find something unusual that I need to get it checked and my doctor does too. I am not willing to wait a month or two and watch it. I appreciate that suport and the fact that he manages the financial paperwork related to all of my cancer related expenditures.
He has always respected my decisions in regards to what I needed to do and yes he had input but supported me in whatever direction I chose regardless if it fell in line with his thinking or not.
Now I will say that I think communication is the tough one as it is not always easy to share some of those thoughts and feelings you have regarding all of this and even harder for my husband(maybe not all men) to not offer opinions or solutions. I just need an ear. Even now if I come home and have run out of steam , he takes on some of the practical responsibility when I need it which is much better than telling me if I did somethings differently then I wouldn't be so tired or some other opinion that I really don't want to hear. . He may pick up the groceries tonight, rather than me on the way home and often he will say, take a break and relax when I get home.
I know from various sources that reigniting intimacy may cause some difficulties due to body changes and some side effects due to the treatment options that were taken. For this I say, start small and hold hands, hugs, foot rubs, and start slow and if that hits a wall then seek help.
Last thing I want to bring up that both of you need to take care of yourself. You cannot rely solely on the other person to Fix you. Allow yourself to feel and you may just need a cool down period, a punching bag, or even a counselor. Whatever lets you let go of some of those awkward feelings related to cancer like hopeless or helpless, or angry and so many more. A counselor does not mean you are weak in fact it means you are strong as you have made the decision that you need help to improve your daily life and that is a positive thing in my estimation. Plan to make it the best day you can each day....and know you are blessed to have someone standing beside you.