I never talked about my boobs that much until I got breast cancer.
Did your doctor downplay the damage or mention it at all? She was fresh out of chemo and going in to consult with a plastic surgeon about recon before her double mastectomy.I was heading in to schedule my second round of fat transfer surgery but, as usual, was happy to discuss my chest with another BC buddy (and her husband, as it turned out).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.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.I managed to get through the 8-minute segment without throwing up, fainting or dropping an f-bomb (TV still makes me nervous). These games of show-and-tell have become part of my new normal.More importantly, I was able to get across some crucial points regarding mammograms, dense breast tissue, the importance of self-exams, and, I hope, through my attitude and demeanor, convey to others – particularly newly diagnosed sisters — that a double mastectomy does not destroy your sense of humor or your strength or your soul or your lust for life. But sometimes I do wonder if I’m mentally ill for being so open and upfront about all my BC stuff. I’ve had more than one enthusiastic suitor flee after discovering my high cancer profile (Google me and you’ll see what I mean). 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.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.