Interview 44

Age at diagnosis: 44
Brief Outline: Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treated with chemotherapy. In remission.
Background: Married with four adult children. Ethnic background: White European.

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Chemotherapy caused vaginal dryness so she didn't enjoy sex; she couldn't discuss it with her...

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Chemotherapy caused vaginal dryness so she didn't enjoy sex; she couldn't discuss it with her...

I mean I'm forty-four so I'm still sexually, well not that you change even now, but I was still sexually active with my husband. And it's difficult actually because when you're going through the chemotherapy you feel they're suffering quite a lot and you're desperate to get back to some kind of normality. And one of the things it did, and of course the literature tells you that you lose your natural lubrication. So you tend to be that, that was awful actually because I was desperate to pretend I was normal, even when I wasn't a hundred percent, you wanted your partner to feel you were normal. But sex was a nightmare actually and so instead of enjoying the natural, you know, it was really difficult and I'd never heard of KY jelly. And I was of the old school where you didn't talk about sex, you didn't discuss it even with your best friend actually, and so you suffered this sort of thing. And I wasn't back to normal because this was really difficult at the time, which meant that obviously it's difficult for the partner as well. 

And then all of a sudden I think I must have been so desperate and I must've been, and I'm sure I was in the company of a nurse friend, and I think I hinted at something in my desperation and she just came out and said, 'KY jelly.' And that was incredible and changed my life. I mean it was one of these simple changed my day-to-day normal living situation. 

Did you discuss the difficulties with your husband at the time or could you not even do that?

I was trying. Again I felt he'd suffered long enough, and I was just desperate to pretend to him that I was normal and so as not that we, I mean we have a great relationship and we do share everything, but for some reason I tried to hide that. And I didn't ask anybody if it was going to continue forever or, I really didn't know if this was me for the rest of my life actually. And that's scary.

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