Summary: Are you a cervical cancer patient with questions? Cervical cancer causes a myriad of side effects and life changing issues that the patient is forced to face. These are some of the most asked questions and answers for those women fighting & surviving cervical cancer.
Are you a cervical cancer patient with questions? Cervical cancer causes a myriad of side effects and life changing issues that the patient is forced to face. These are some of the most asked questions and answers for those women fighting & surviving cervical cancer.
Will my body ever return to the body I had before cervical cancer came along?
The human body is an amazing thing, capable of recovering from many different diseases, ailments, illnesses, and more- even cancer. Cancer is one of the hardest types of illnesses to face, mainly due to the types of treatment necessary to help save your life. How long your body takes to heal, and recover will depend on your overall health, and many other aspects. You will find that your sleep habits will changes, and you may sleep longer or for shorter periods of time than you are used to. Your diet will change, along with social habits and daily routines. Just when you think that things have leveled out, most likely you will see changes again.
In some cases, things that were simple before your diagnosis and treatment may become difficult, while things you never thought you could do will become more possible. Your memory may falter and play tricks on you or become stronger helping you to remember details you would rather forget. Pain issues, from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, medication or even the memories of the pain, can come flooding back. Your body might have permanent alterations that you will have to accept and adjust to, while being easier said than done.
The bottom line is your body will be different after cervical cancer.
Can I have sex after having cervical cancer?
While cancer itself might not be sexy, you can indeed have and learn to enjoy sex and intimate activities after your treatment. Many women experience the following body changes and issues after cervical cancer treatment:
- Vaginal dryness, varying in severity
- Vaginal tightness or atrophy
- Painful intercourse due to atrophy or shortened vagina
The problems that arise may not always be your parts, however. Sex and intimate activity happen not only with the body, but also in the mind and heart. When your mind and heart are wounded or stressed, desire can be hard to come by. Your libido, or desire to have sex, can be decreased due to your treatments and fluctuating hormones.
- In a committed and steady relationship, you and your partner may need to commit to heavy-duty communication and discussion about sex and intimacy. In some cases, your partner may have been acting as your caregiver for the duration of your treatment, which can make it difficult to ease back in to the “normal” life roles you had prior to cancer. You both may face sadness, fear, loneliness and anger and you will need to allow each other to speak these feelings aloud to help work through them, and back to the path of life you both desire.
- If you are single, you might find it difficult to determine when to tell your new partner about your cancer. There is no best answer for this. It may be your first date, fifth, or tenth before you’re comfortable discussing your diagnosis or treatment. It could be the first time you have sex or intimate times with this partner, or at a future point in a year.
Cancer is an extremely tough topic to address and live with. Time and time again cancer has tested you, and now it will test another that you chose to invite into your life. Rejection can and does happen in new relationships when finding out that your partner is struggling, and while rejection hurts, it is not the end of your world. Remember, you have just fought one of the toughest battles in the world!
Can I still get pregnant and have a child after cervical cancer?
This depends on the stage and grade of your cancer plus the treatment plan you went with. If you are going the route of a treatment plan that will hinder your ability to have children biologically, do not hesitate to speak with your doctor about taking measures to preserve your eggs by harvesting to freeze. These frozen unfertilized eggs can be used in the future for insemination. If you are in a stable committed relationship, the eggs can be inseminated with sperm and the embryos frozen for future use. This can be a costly process, so be sure to plan ahead and seek out financial planning to assist in your journey.
If your treatment results in a hysterectomy, a surrogate mother can carry your child to term when you are ready to become a parent. This is a complex method with many legal aspects to be aware of. We suggest using a lawyer in this process to ensure all parties are on the same terms.
If you cannot harvest eggs or biologically carry a child, adoption or fostering children is also a beautiful option for creating and growing your family. During this process, it is important to keep an open mind to all options and know that there are many paths to growing your family, even after cervical cancer.
How likely is it that my cervical cancer will come back?
There is no real way to know if your cancer will return, or not. Many people find themselves living in daily fear that their cancer will return or metastasize elsewhere at any moment. Others panic when they find new symptoms, face illnesses, or have new unexplainable aches and pains. This is a completely rational fear, as you have already lived through cervical cancer once. If you are in remission or cancer-free, the odds are in your favor that with each new morning, you will still remain in remission or cancer-free. If you find that your fears are taking over your life, seeking out therapy or speaking with your medical care team to help you to handle these feelings.
Am I the only cancer patient who is terrified of dying?
Absolutely not and this feeling is not limited solely to cancer patients. Many people face illnesses that are unpredictable and life-threatening. The fear of dying can be useful. If we as humans were not afraid, we would all be dead from doing incredibly silly or stupid things in our lives that put us in danger. If you have a fear of living, that will do you no good at all. That said, life is not always peachy and perfect, and does not always shine. There are moments where allowing yourself to feel these fears and feelings is very healthy and can help to keep you grounded during this chaotic experience. Indulge yourself whenever you need. Stay in bed for the day eating ice cream and watching bad television- just do not do it every day. Immerse yourself back into your community and get active in helping others who may be struggling the same, or differently than you are. Perspective and positivity are everything, even if you cannot commit to happiness one hundred percent of the time.