Sex

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!

HELPFUL HINTS:

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.

 

 

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Kids & Cancer

Probably one of the hardest reality’s of my diagnosis.

As a new parent you anxiously await the milestones your children will hit,first smile, first laugh, crawling, walking, first words, first pickle (one of my favorites lol)

As the years go one and your children grow older, the milestones change. You wonder about highschool, dances, first dates, girlfriends/boyfriends.

A few more years go by and you begin to think of them in their future’s and what they will be like as adults.  What kind of career they will choose, wedding days, grandchildren.

I learned quickly that the odds of me being present for most of my children’s life milestones are quite rare. I will certainly be lucky and be utterly grateful if I can fight this disease long enough to behold these remarkable life experiences (that is and forever will be my ultimate plan). I had to face my grisly bottom line. The beginning of this journey was filled with a lot of mourning for the future I was going to be robbed of. I had to accept the awful truth. I will not be here. I will not be here to sit with pride and watch as my children graduate college ( I will be blessed if I make it for highschool grads), find true love, marry and have children of their own.  I will not be here to answer questions and guide them on their exciting life journey. I will not be here for love advice, parenting advice or cooking advice.  I will not be here when they have their hearts broken by first loves; unable to hold them and wipe their tears as my own heart breaks along with their’s. I will not be here to spoil my grandchildren. It is truly a gut wrenching reality, everyday.

After my death, how will that affect them?! What kind of pain will they feel? My mind and heart deeply hurt when these thoughts creep in.

My husband and I decided for sure to openly communicate with our children about this disease.  Gave them the basics of cancer and how it affects the body. Talked with them about possible treatments and side effects.  Gave them the open door to questions and concerns. Taught them it is OK to be scared or sad. They attended a children’s group through the Hearth Place (An amazing place for all your cancer needs!) Gave them the assurance that I will not falter in my fight. I remind them to live life and not let anything hold them back.  When you fall get up! Fear can not and will not rule your future! Experience! Take a leap of faith! Do not waste opportunity! Love!!!! I do my best to reinforce my words by demonstrating them as best as I can.  Our family leans on each other  I am so grateful of everyday I have with them. I hug and kiss to the point of annoyance I am sure, but it is lovingly accepted and returned!

We try to live life as normal as possible as this black cloud of cancer hangs above our heads. Cancer does not rule our family, we are learning to accept it.

I now struggle with rejecting the thoughts of my lost future with my children. I focus on today and clutch to tomorrow. No matter the time left in front of us, we cannot let it shift us from our present time. Enjoy, love and cherish is all I can do!

Staying Positive *Warning this may sting a little ;)

OK, so now this is a tough one.  How can I go on a rant about how annoying and hurtful people can be when they are coming from such a loving and supportive place?!  I want to be clear that I am so thankful for the love and support from all the people in my life, but remember, this is to help people to understand and maybe make someone smile.  People that are going through this kind of thing are all thinking and feeling this way,  sometimes it’s just nice to let it out and to read someone else’s struggle to understand that it is normal to feel and think this way. In the beginning, I was ashamed and felt weak with these thoughts.  After some time, I learned it was OK, not to judge myself or the uncontrolled thoughts or reactions to the horrible reality I was facing.

A while ago I was in the cancer centre waiting for my palliative care appointment.  I sat down beside an older woman (lets be honest they are all older, I stick out like a sore thumb in that place)and her husband, anyway she was just beginning her journey into cancer and was very emotional.  I asked her what she was in for, and she told me ovarian cancer and that she was going to find out what stage she was on that day.  I immediately began to support my comrade in this war and asked her how she was feeling.  And, like most of us in the beginning she was all over the map, sad, angry, scared, depressed, shocked.  I told her how she was totally normal, as other ears leaned in to listen to our conversation. I told her to try and not let it beat her down too much even though all you want to do is lay in bed under the covers and forget the world.  I also told her it is OK to be sad and cry, cry a lot!  Be depressed because this is nothing to be celebrating. I told her if one more person tells me “you just gotta stay positive”, I was going to punch them in the throat!  Well, all the ears that had leaned in started laughing and the whole room changed its mood, we all connected and understood. See we were all positive about being negative!!

Let me tell you how extremely difficult it is to “stay positive”  I mean come on, given a death sentence but “your telling me (enter sarcasm) all I have to do is stay positive and I can beat this!!!”  Imagine how shitty it will feel when I die knowing I wasn’t strong enough or positive enough to beat this cancer! BOOM!!!!  Please don’t take me the wrong way, I love being supported and encouraged by everyone, it helps get me through a day.

Society has placed so much pressure on cancer patients, we are not “people” we are a symbol and god forbid we show our weaknesses or fears. Let me tell you it is still possible to be a positive person even though I don’t have a smile plastered on my face and rainbows shooting out my ass!! I refuse to hide my feelings to make others more comfortable but, usually I do it under the blankets 😉

*Disclaimer: please remember this is just my honest thoughts about some of the feelings and experiences I have gone through and I sometimes do need a reminder to stay positive! I love and adore all the people in my life and I really couldn’t have gotten through all this without them/you. Love and respect to you all xo!

My New Mantra

I had posted this on Facebook, a promise to my husband, children, friends and family.  I totally cried when I heard this song, it moved me so very much.  I was filled with intense emotion as I listened and it triggered a release of courage and commitment from within my soul.  Yeah I know, soooo dramatic but honestly it really happened!  Feel free to shed a tear but hopefully gain strength as I have from this amazing song.

About Me

Well I guess I should tell you a little about myself, not my diagnosis but about ME!  I am 41 years old.  I have a husband, Patrick and 2 children, Ethan 14 and Naomi 8.  Our family includes a dog we adore, Bella AKA Pupup.  I am a fun and loving person who is up for any adventure!  I love movies and reading and walking my dog.  Spending time with friends and family are a top priority in my life.  I have recently found a passion in exercise with an amazing trainer, Tash, who is basically saving my sanity!  Who needs therapy, work out!  My sister Tina is my rock and am happy to have her in my life, she is the one that suggested I start a blog. My best friend Cindy is like a sister and we have been friends for so long I cant imagine my life without her in it. My incredible husband is a truly talented bass player with a crazy sense of humor and works hard everyday not only at his job but with putting up with my crazy ass.  My kids are totally amazing, I know all moms say it but whatever, mine really are! My friends are the BEST, again I don’t care if you think yours are better. I used to have a job I really loved and worked for 10 years with the same company.  I was a laboratory technician and damn good at it, but that was another story…  My new one is full of adventure and love!  I hope to inspire and support and maybe help anyone that is going through the same journey as I am, if anyone reads this I do hope it is a least enjoyable! 😉

 

Now, about my diagnosis….dum dum duuummmm

Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer- mets to lymph system and 5 places in my bones, I was one of the lucky 6% of woman diagnosed this way.

Now for the yucky “statistics”, I have a 20% chance of living past five years, now 2.3 years into it.

Now for some good!  Even though I was diagnosed stage 4, it was too late to do a mastectomy, so I got to keep my boobies, yay!

It has been an insane life full of ups and downs since my diagnosis.  I have had many adventures and found so much love and support I never knew existed, as much as cancer has taken, it has also given so much.

As we slowly start to put the pieces back, we might find we are missing a few and some may not fit quite right but we find new pieces as well as a few old ones and can repair with time and patience .