Dating someone with cancer
As I said, it’s not easy to write about this stuff or talk about this stuff.
So I’d like to give a huge shout out to two amazing patients: stage 4 anal cancer patient Michele Longabaugh and testicular cancer patient Jon Dibblee.
Do you think being open about BC helps you process it? Yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted anything.
Or is it just time, itself, that helps heal those wounds? I’ve had a busy summer — hiking, baking, boxing and most of all doing this thing I like to call “pretending I never had cancer.” But summer’s over and fall is here and with it, October, the month when it’s pretty much impossible to forget your breast cancer because everywhere you look people are dressed like gigantic pink ribbons and/or talking about their battle with the beast. I wrote a series of essays last October about my BC diagnosis, my double mastectomy and what it was like to go “out there” and date while going through breast cancer treatment, to try to find love in the time of chemotherapy.
These days, I’m talking – and even making jokes – about the whole ordeal on TV, in print and in line at the plastic surgeon’s.
I never set out to become the woman who talks about her boobs – or lack thereof — all the time.
Both were kind and courageous enough to talk about the sexual challenges they’ve faced since treatment and I can’t thank them enough for their candor and insights.
Many thanks, also, to Nicki Boscia Durlester and her private breast and ovarian cancer Facebook group, Beyond the Pink Moon.
Ironic, I know, since the creepy crab monster pretty much stole my boobs. But since I was diagnosed, had a double mastectomy, stumbled through treatment and most recently, started down the path toward reconstruction, it seems like all I do is blather on and on about my girls.
But I think I’ve been able to help others by serving up a few straightforward answers and insights (along with a healthy slice of attitude). Are you open about your breast cancer with everyone – even strangers — and if so, has it been a positive or negative (or both)?
As I mentioned in the interview, for me, sharing is caring. Or are you more stealth about your diagnosis and treatment?
As I said in the story, cancer cuts us to our sexual quick. Here’s a link to Part 1, which covers the sexual aftermath of cancer treatment and how surgery, chemo, radiation and hormone treatments — all those things they do to keep us alive — can cause all kinds of sexual side effects, from fatigue and body image issues to erectile dysfunction and vaginismus.
And even though it felt like I was walking around in my underpants when the stories came out (I talked a little bit about my own experience in this realm), I’m glad I covered it because it’s a big issue for cancer patients and it doesn’t get a ton of attention. Sex after cancer has become the elephant in the bedroom.Before cancer, I would never have been so blasé about showing my boobs to a room full of strangers.