Alright, there are so many taboo topics out there, that we all just don’t talk about. Whether its sex, death, money, diarrhea, or religion. I’ve got nothing to hide, and I’ve made myself pretty vulnerable to you all in this little journey of mine, so why stop now? As I get through each day, I try to think about what I can share with all of you, what you may or may not know about what I am going through. So, let’s talk about SEX. We attended our “chemo class” at the start of this. One thing the nurse told us was that a lot of couples really struggle in their sex lives not only during chemo, but this entire fight. Each step brings new struggles, but they’re all hard in their own ways. But no matter what comes with each, it’s all more than worth it. First of all, how many of you know that for the first at least 72 hours after chemo, all of my bodily fluids are toxic? Come on, don’t lie, we can’t be the only ones who had no idea. I have to use a different bathroom than everyone, we need to wash our pillows and sheets, I need to wash my make up brushes, I’m not suppose to kiss the boys, or swap spit with my sexy husband (REAL challenge for me) and obviously not have sex. In fact, our nurse informed us if we so chose to have sex within that time, we would need to make sure to use “barriers” as the chemo could really hurt my husband. First thing I did when she told us that was laugh, thinking “man I feel bad for the guy who found that out”. Then, you get pass that initial 72 hours, and that’s the exact time I start getting really sick. All of my favorite side effects start and usually a few new ones. I typically really do not feel well for about the next 8 days. Between being miserably sick, pain, and sheer exhaustion, there is surely nothing happening in the bedroom. I’m happy if at this point I can just get a few hours of sleep. After quiet some time, I slowly start feeling better! At this point, my pain is subsiding, my rashes are somewhat healing, I’m not pooping my ever loving brains out (which just makes anyone feel sexy) my nausea is less frequent, and my mouth sores are healing (do you know how hard it is to kiss your husband when your mouth is covered in sores?) There are some things though that are always somewhat difficult. No matter what point I am at in treatment, my nose is constantly running. Why? Well, along with all of the other hair on my body, I’ve also lost my nose hairs. Not really a big deal right? It’s really not, but, it is somewhat annoying, embarrassing, and not sexy when you’re kissing your husband and your nose is constantly running. Alright, you come to terms with the fact that your nose is constantly running, and you figure out that if you blow your nose, and then head towards your super sexy husband to get yourself a nice squishy kiss, right before you kiss him, sniff your nose really hard, and you can typically get an un-snot interrupted 3-5 second kiss. No big deal. But, lets not push our limits and try for any make out session of any sort as it will end up wet and salty. Haha. Body image is next. Every woman with or without cancer struggles with this on a daily basis. And if you don’t, I admire you. On top of any regular insecurity you may have had, add some additional weight that you have had the pleasure of gaining from all of the steroids, chemo, and hormone treatment you’re on. You develop a pretty nice fluff. I know what you’re all thinking as you read this, she’s worried about the extra weight she’s gaining from chemo? At least she’s alive. And you’re right. In the big picture, there are a lot more important things, but it doesn’t make it easy, and it doesn’t take away the insecurities, or make it any less real. I still feel these things, I just choose to grow through them, to push myself, and to find confidence in myself that I’ve never had. In addition to your extra fluff, you get to be bald. I know, I know, I should well past this. For the most part I am. But, I can’t find the right words to explain how uncomfortable as a woman it is to want to be “sexy” to your husband, but how out of place and weird you feel when you’re laying in your bed next to him, and you’re bald. My husband has not changed the way he looks at me in the slightest, he thinks I am even more beautiful now, I can feel his love for me in the way he looks at me, or looks into my eyes. This is a personal struggle. A struggle to feel sexy, and to feel like a woman while I have no hair. The amazing thing is, that when I get through all of this, I will have a true unbreakable confidence in myself. Each day I fall more into my own body, my heart, my soul, my very being. You have to really fall in love with yourself, and get to know the you you’ve never known. But what an amazing gift. At the end of this, I will have fallen in love with every inch of me, I will have pushed through every insecurity, every fear, and become a truer, stronger, confident, unshakable me that I never knew could exist. On the other side of this is my husband. I’ve learned a lot recently, how much my diagnosis effects many more people than me. I’ll expand on this in another post, but for tonight, I want to talk about my husband. No, he does not have cancer, and he’s not going through chemo, but he is very much going through this too. I could not imagine how hard it would be for me to see him go through this and feel so helpless. I’m sure he feels helpless, frustrated, hurt, and stressed to say the least. He also has a lot that falls on his plate. By the time I get home, I am beyond exhausted, and I don’t have much energy as it took everything to get through the day. So, who do you think dinner, the kids, the house, and the dogs fall on? Yep, that amazing husband of mine. He’s happy to do all of it, but that doesn’t make it easy. He does all of those things, and takes care of me, all with that beautiful smile on his face that never fades. In addition to the emotional side, and all of the stress he takes on, let’s think about how much he worries about me. Let’s get back to our timeline, 72 hours I’m toxic, next 10 days or so, I’m sick and miserable, I start to feel better, but I’m insecure, and then my husband is stressed, and very worried about me. Well, before you know it you wake up and its time to get chemo again, and this whole thing starts over. So, let’s talk about sex, and how hard it is to keep alive while you’re going through this. But here’s the thing, you figure it out, you have to. But not only do you figure that out, you find a lot of other ways to be intimate. We may not have a crazy, wild, hair pulling (yeah I just went there)sex life while I am going through this, but we have found intimacy in different ways. We are very quickly becoming very good communicators, he is constantly holding my hand, getting lost in my eyes, divulging secrets, insecurities, emotions, and his truest heart, kissing me in the sweetest ways, connecting on levels we didn’t know existed, and growing the most amazing trusting friendship. He has the ability to take away any pain or worry with his touch. That’s the honest truth. When I am really sick, or in pain, or sad, the one thing I can consistently count on to ease me or take it away is a simple touch from my husband. I can fall into his arms and be at peace. I don’t know about you, but that’s something truly amazing.
Phew. I did it. I wrote about something pretty taboo, but also pretty scary to be so vulnerable and open about. I promised myself to push ,y limits, to be vulnerable, and to share the most honest experiences I can through this. So, here I am, being brave and talking taboo.