February 15, 2013

Smart: the new SEXY

Smart IS the New Sexy when it comes to Late Effects of Cancer Treatment

Survivor, arm yourself with knowledge of your treatment history [and] risk for late effects.

Surviving survivorship is a jagged pill to swallow, but even more so when no one is willing to approach the very real impact that late effects of cancer treatment can [and] do have on one’s sexual health and wellbeing.

Sexual late effects are often NOT discussed within the four walls of an exam room [and] let’s be honest, it’s not something you place on the coffee table as a conversation piece either. Since we’re being honest here, the silence surrounding sexual health in general is deafening.

Emotional Late Effects that Impact Sexual Health:

  • Body Image Changes: you no longer look like the pre-cancer, pre-treatment YOU
  • Shattered Dreams: grieving one’s ability to bear [or] father one’s biological children
  • Fear [of] Intimacy: a desire to be intimate, yet a fear of being exposed, vulnerable
  • Fear [of] Rejection: the need to be fully known [and] fully accepted, yet the ever-present fear of rejection
  • Lack [of] feeling, much less, believing that YOU are desirable, that YOU are SEX
  • Your significant other viewing you as fragile [and] not wanting to hurt you, but also not wanting to be rejected by you
  • Post Traumatic Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
  • Guilt over not matching your significant others drive/need for sex [and] intimacy

Physical Late Effects that Impact Sexual Health:

  • Irregular periods, late onset menarche, absence of signs of puberty
  • Premature Menopause: In the 30’s rather than the expected mid-40’s to 50’s
  • Primary Ovarian Failure: Decreased or depleted anti-malaria hormone
  • Decreased [or] undetectable sperm counts
  • Peripheral Neuropathies affecting sensation in erogenous zones
  • Decreased Lubrication, thus painful penetration
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Erectile Dysfunction

So, why am I writing about SEX, getting your GROOVE back, [and] putting the SEX back in your SEXINESS?

  • Surviving survivorship begins with YOU, survivor, getting SMART
  • MHYH’s mission is to EDUCATE [and] EQUIP survivors regarding the potential late effects of cancer therapies as we know them today
  • Suleika Jaouad’s post to the NYT’s WELL blog on 02/14/2013
  • In my opinion, the effect of cancer therapies on sexual health should NOT be TABOO
  • My lived experience has proven to me that knowledge of risk, even sexual risk, is ESSENTIAL

Finally,  in my opinion [and] my lived experience, smart IS the new SEXY. [Not to mention SEX [and] SEXY are good for the HEART: BOOM!]

Survivor, educate [and] equip yourself because on this issue, it is the few who will broach the subject with you.

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