First, I would like to thank my loving and patient husband, Patrick! This road is walked by more than just me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for him as a partner.
People don’t think their sex lives will be affected by cancer.Sex is a subject I think most younger people with cancer think of as a big deal. I would say the majority of people with this stage of cancer are of an age that sex is naturally not a part of their lives anymore. I remember attending a meeting for metastatic cancer patients and I was indeed the youngest by far. Sadly the numbers are rising and more and younger people are becoming victims of this nasty disease. Ergo, my thoughts (for what they are worth) on the subject.
BODY CONSCIOUS: As I reflect from the beginning, I felt that my body was so diseased and my husband would never feel the same way about me or my breasts (even though remember I still have them, I still thought he would think they were disgusting).*Would just like to insert my props to all the ladies that have bravely had a mastectomy, your courage and strength amazes me* Along with all the stress and the fact that our entire world had been shaken up beyond recognition. I was bombarded with medications, sex zapping medications 😦 I was NOT feeling sexy. Not to mention how much pain my body felt everyday. Funny story on that. One of my bone tumors is located in my hip. One night feeling very loving towards my Patrick and quite a few drinks in, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other and I will spare you the sleazy details but feeling more limber than I really was, thanks to the booze, I was enjoying myself without the nagging cancer pain, thoughts or body shame. As I woke to pee the next morning, and stood from my cozy bed, a most horrible pain shot through my body, unfortunately I could barely walk for 3 days. I would say it was a small price to pay! :
SAD REALITIES :As we learned more about my diagnosis we learned my particular cancer loves estrogen. To help keep it from growing, my amazing oncologist, Dr. Chang, told me we had to do what we could to stop the production and release of this cancer feeding hormone. So I was introduced to menopause at 39. Yay!! If you are a woman, you will already know how important estrogen is for us. If you are a man, you are about to find out (sorry) So I was catapulted into menopause! What a lovely treat, for all my ladies who have gone through this right of passage, I salute you! Wow! I will stay on track because I could complain all day about the charming side effects myself and my family went through. Again, thank you wonderful husband!!! Estrogen is a hormone produced by us ladies, it helps our vagina stay elasticy and moist. So remove the estrogen and you are left with a flat dry vagina!!! I read up on menopause and read a line so horrifying “vaginal atrophy”, what the F*#K!! I read on and tried to accept my new phase of life, only to learn I could not take replacement hormones or anything else to help my poor atrophying (is that a word) vagina. Later that evening, I played Taps on my phone a shed a quiet tear and mourned my vagina’s death!
Moisture & how to get it with out estrogen: as I previously stated a woman with breast cancer can not take replacement hormones or anything else with estrogen in it. Here are a few things that can work, but as with any advice given from the internet PLEASE check with your Doc. before trying anything.
Replens- a good hormone free suppository. Benefit- moisture for days and good pH balance Negative- can get expensive
Terra Delyssa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil- got this recommended by a friend, thanks to you know who you are 😉 Benefit- hey it’s organic and it’s olive oil! Also can be used for massage Negative- maybe you don’t like the smell of olive oil
Please feel free to post more hormone free moisture hints or tricks if you have any!
Use it or lose it girls!: as the saying goes, pretty self explanatory. Give yourself some special time, “take care” of yourself. The more you can exercise that muscle the stronger it can be!! Don’t become a born again virgin, it hurts remember!
Remember our partners in crime : So now that you have taken care of yourself wink! wink! Let us remember and honour our significant other! Take time to give a little touch, hug or kiss. Remind them that we love them (even though the thought of sex may be the farthest thing from our minds). Massage is a great way to feel connected and loved for both involved! Hand jobs and blow jobs, well really, what else can I say.
Finally just try to enjoy each other and get past all the yucky hard stuff. Remember we are women and we are sexy dammit!! Please don’t forget that! It is so important that we try each day to live as we did before cancer, embracing the gift of time we were delivered when we were told we will die sooner than we thought.