😉👄 ‘Work it out’ 👄😉

By Beyonce

‘How ya doin’ hug me baby
You know I don’t ask for much
But for a girl spendin’ time alone
Can be pretty rough’

My previous post, ‘Let’s talk about sex’, opened up the conversation in and around sex and living with cancer. Sex is a subject which is rarely, if not mentioned at all whilst you’re on this journey, certainly not on mine. So if laughter is deemed to be a good medicine, why isn’t sex? The truth is it is! Much like laughter, sex is an holistic remedy for many people. Unless you make the decision to purchase sexual services, sex is free and is there to be enjoyed. So why do I ask myself are people living with cancer and many long term chronic conditions, often excluded from this conversation? Why are we not being asked about the impact of which cancer can have on our sex lives? When we blossom into the wonderful world of adulthood as teenagers, we are taught about sex and reproduction. When we move into the sphere of post pregnancy, as women we are advised about sex through maternity services but when we move further along our journey and become chronically sick, sex seems to be off the table – literally! So why do we stop being spoken to at this stage? Why is sex suddenly a taboo? Why does sexual conversation become the elephant in the room? Don’t get me wrong, cancer can come along from the moment we are born, so it is possible for the same conversation to be absent as soon as cancer enters the arena at any stage of the journey. Health professionals may discuss the fertility of a child living with cancer with their parents or carer but do they enter into conversations around the world of sex? We can appreciate that saving the life of a loved one is of utmost priority but how will cancer treatment or radical surgery impact a child later in life? The answer is I do not know, perhaps someone could share their experience by commenting on this post.

Personally, I am 2 years post cancer op and sex has not been mentioned. Whilst I appreciate that not every patient wants to talk about it, some do, I do. We need to start talking, to learn how to navigate the mind, body image and existing and new relationships during and after cancer. We already have much to contend with so adding another layer of personal turmoil is really unwelcome and at times, unnecessary. If we have been through major surgery and/or cancer treatment which can be pretty tough, we need support to ‘fix’ the other side of us too -sex. Can you imagine how emotionally debilitating it must be for someone who previously enjoyed the pleasures of a healthy sex life pre-cancer? It can wreck a relationship, destroy the emotional wellbeing of the partnership and create social barriers to meeting new partners no matter what sexuality you happen to be. How do we explain our pain, our scars, our lack of confidence in our sexual performance, how do we do this? How do we support the partners to help themselves and the person living with cancer? Do we ask that sex is never to be explored again within their relationship? Are we saying that it is more important to think only of saving lives, that nothing else matters? If this is the case, why are we encouraged to return to ‘normality’ (whatever this looks like) to go and live your life when you are told you are in remission? This smacks of contradictory advice. If we think about the statistics on cancer survival, the rates are improving as more research provides us with innovative treatments. This means more people will live longer with cancer. Therefore, we must find a joined up approach within the healthcare sector to start having healthy discussions around sex- we must! If we continue to dismiss this important area of people’s lives, over time we will pay the ultimate price in increased mental health concerns, social isolation and rising costs due to GP and A&E visits.

Somebody needs to sit down and begin these conversations.

‘We can work it out’…

A huge thank you to a really supportive friend who recommended this track for the post, 🥰

‘Free Library’

😉 Let’s talk about sex 😉

By Salt-N-Pepa

Let’s talk about sex, baby (sing it)
Let’s talk about you and me (sing it, sing it)
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about sex (come on)
Let’s talk about sex (do it)
Let’s talk about sex (uh-huh)
Let’s talk about sex

Yes let’s!

Why are we so shy about talking about sex? After all, is it not the way mankind is created? Is it not the way the animal kingdom is created? Stop with being bashful, we need to talk about sex! I am speaking as a person living with Cancer and not as a medically trained individual of which I am not.

Throughout my journey with Cancer this subject has never been mentioned in any of my consultations. The ethos seems to be that you are kept alive and of course this is an important approach. However, after life, what next? We are going to live longer with Cancer, so what then? Before Cancer, life would consist of fun, relationships and sex so why should this change? Cancer can bring a whole plethora of issues, especially post surgery and/or treatment. The side effects of both can present limitations and change the way you see yourself in every way. It may also change the way in which your partner sees you but we will cover this in another post (this is not a dig at partners). Sometimes surgery involves some very large surgical scars, removal of internal organs and resections of the body. None of these surgeries bring pretty embroidery type closure, especially if your skin is prone to issues with healing. This is not the case in all instances but for some people their physical appearance will change. It is these changes along with the side effects of Cancer treatment that will make a person retreat for the hills where sex is concerned. If professionals have not pre-warned you, you are not prepared for what can unfold, and for some people, this is devastating and can result in depression. This devastation can ruin sex lives and ultimately end what once may have been a healthy relationship. Yes this can happen without one of the partners having Cancer but imagine adding this to a sex life that is already under strain. Having books or leaflets on shelves at the hospital is not the only answer, people are embarrassed to pick them up or they may see themselves as a failure. These feelings run deep and are often unspoken with individuals suffering in painful silence. These conversations need to be addressed before the surgery and before treatment. It is a sad state of affairs for the couple to find they now have pain in and around their breasts, abdomen, head, skin, vagina or their penis. Yes I said it, Vagina and Penis– let’s get over this now! 😂There is a long list of medical conditions such as medically induced Menopause, Erectile Dysfunction, Vaginal Atrophy, Vaginal dryness that can occur post treatment/surgery. It is not right, yes we need to save lives but what happens to these same lives once they are saved? They need a quality of life, QoL in medical terms. If we do not offer the right advice at the right time, people suffer unnecessarily. Having Cancer is enough to contend with, let alone adding more conditions to the journey.

We need to start talking about sex after Cancer. We need to help people get their lives back.

Let’s talk about sex, my ‘Clinic Dancing Partner’ did and he was a trained Sex Therapist, may he rest in eternal peace ☺️🥰

‘Photo taken by MaCherie48’

💞🌺🌍 The wonders of you 🌍🌺💞

By Ray Peterson

‘When no one else can understand me
When everything I do is wrong
You give me love and consolation
You give me hope to carry on
And you try to show your love for me
In everything you do
That’s the wonder, the wonder of you.’

The beauty of this track is that the words can apply to so many things, your lover, your religious beliefs, Mother Nature, family, friends and more. With the terrible events of this weekend where a tv presenter died in the UK this opens us all up to the discussion around being able to recognise when someone needs support. The thing about support is that some people feel they need to be qualified in some way in order to help someone – no, this is not the case. As fellow human beings we need to take 5 minutes out of our time, stop, listen and act. Appreciate what you are hearing or witnessing and reach out to the individual. Sometimes it may need a supportive conversation, a cup of tea or a walk in the park. This can make all the difference to someone who is struggling with the pitfalls of life. We need to pay attention. If this person is in your vicinity at the time, it is your responsibility to ask how they are, don’t leave it to be what can be seen as someone else’s problem to deal with.

Life is short, precious and extremely delicate. Support people with your time, a card, a hug, some TLC and love.

Be kind 🤗❤️

‘Beautifully captured by Chris Tame, thank you for allowing me to use your photo’ ☺️

Copyright 2020 ©

❤️ ‘We’ve only just begun’ ❤️

By The Carpenters

‘And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun’.

Nature, the Earth’s phenomenal creation laden with beauty, growth and a sense of purpose.

Whenever I feel moments of stress or I am dealing with Cancer’s ‘Scanxiety’, I turn to nature. The beauty of viewing nature through the lens of a camera or through the lens of our eyes does something special to the soul. The lens becomes the gateway to the enchantment that lies between mankind and the complexities of nature. It is here that I choose ‘to be still, to let go, to be me’. When I hear stories of others experiencing turmoil during their journey with Cancer, I stop and listen. My first thoughts are to encourage them to be at one with nature as I know how much it helped me, especially during early diagnosis. The waiting, the stress, the worry, the unknown- no amount of positive talk seems to quell the fears like nature can. It is as if Mother Nature reaches out and personally embraces you, she comforts you, she knows exactly what to do. I remember taking steps in the grass each morning, bare footed with my stress levels heightened. Within a few minutes my feet seemed to align with nature and the grass absorbed my worries. As I looked at the flowers and vegetation, as I watched the butterflies dance amongst the plants, bees humming as they sought nectar, listened to the birds communicating by song- my fears would start to disappear. Nature has a way of reminding us that life is not all about you.

Whenever you feel those negative thoughts on your journey, give nature a try. Her Mother is the most amazing phenomenon you will ever come to know. She is free, she is sharing, she is beautiful, she promotes healing, self-help, she is universal, she gives without expectation and most of all ‘she just is’.

🥰

Copyright 2020 ©

🦋💞 Cancer is a Dancing Queen comes to life 💞🦋

My blog is about to come to life ☺️🥰

So much said, so much to share, so much to do.

I hope my posts will continue to help those who are going through difficult periods in their lives. Cancer, loss, love amongst other situations, is no easy task.

Thank you to everyone who has ever taken the time to read my blog. Many of you have encouraged me to do something with the content, as it could be a powerful tool to support people going through similar situations.

I hope so…

Happy Valentine’s Day

🦋💞❤️🎸

Copyright 2020 ©

🦋❤️💞 ‘Finally’ 💞❤️🦋

By Lusaint (Acoustic)

‘Meeting mister right, the man of my dreams
The one who shows me true love, at least it seems
Brown cocoa skin and curly black hair
It’s just the way he looks at me
That gentle, loving stare
Finally, you come along
The way I feel about you just can’t be wrong
If you only knew, the way I feel about you
I just can’t describe it

One year ago today you left this earth, away from the pain, family & friends-away from us all.

There is not a day that goes by when you are not in my thoughts. I look at our photos, to laugh, to remember, as I cry. The funniest memories will always be of that phone call you made to me during the day of NYE, 2018. You told me a story and I laughed out loud so hard that you fell about laughing at your own story. I recall you saying that you knew it would make me laugh. In a short space of time you knew me pretty well. You knew what I would like, simply through observation and listening. I miss your intuition.

I recall you complaining that you had never sent so many messages in your life!! 😂 You seemed pretty upset with yourself. I just laughed and thought, ‘here he goes, did I make him send these messages to me??’ 😂 What a character you were! Loving, conflicting, funny, a pain in the neck, sweet, courageous,a man of principle, kind, adventurous, open and loving but never ‘romantic’ as you would say 😂 I don’t think you realised just how romantic you were! Again, I just laughed in my head.

I recall the afternoon that I got all dressed up to attend The Ned hotel afternoon tea and walked down the stairs to see you waiting in the hallway. You looked at me like I had never been looked at before. Your comment was beautiful, you truly looked mesmerised. I appreciated it and blushed inside. Now when we arrived at The Ned do you recall what happened? You parked up and didn’t apply the handbrake properly and your car started to roll into the main road traffic!!! 😂😂😂😂😂 oh gosh what a sight! The young lady who was walking past at the time looked at me in shock and we both chuckled as you chased the car to jump in and stop it rolling. This was a true moment of shock 😂

I adored our time away in Hungary. Although it wasn’t meant to be a leisurely break we had fun. I enjoyed every moment including when you asked the violinist and singers onboard the cruise to serenade me at our dinner table 😱😂 You knew I was so embarrassed but I loved it. Then, the ultimate was you wearing your Tshirt inside out for half a day without realising and neither did I!! 😂😂😂 That’s Cancer for you!

Five months later it was time to say goodbye forever. This very day when I received the message my heart broke inside. I had gone to bed on the 11th February with you on my mind. I was busy looking at photos and videos of us/you before I fell asleep. The next day my world was shattered. My days would never be the same again. I would never see you sing and play your beloved guitars ever again except on videos.

The last 12 months have been a struggle, not one I would like to experience again. Not everything that is placed in front of you is good for the soul. So often I felt like you was guiding me away from particular people and situations, I know Im not wrong on this. One of the last warnings you gave me was to ensure that I didn’t let anyone or anything overwhelm my life. Wellbeing really mattered to you.

My Clinic Dancing Partner, I love you, I still hear you, I miss you.

‘Finally it happened to me, right in front of my face, my feelings I just can’t hide it’…🦋❤️🦋 🎸

Copyright 2020 ©

🦋 No Judgement 🦋

By Niall Horan

‘When you’re with me, no judgement
You can get that from anyone else
You don’t have to prove nothin’
You can just be yourself
When you’re with me, no judgement
We can get that from everyone else
And we don’t have to prove nothin’
When you’re with me, no judgement

I really miss you 🥺💞🎸

💞🥺 ‘Remember Me’

By Miguel

‘Remember me
Though I have to say goodbye
Remember me
Don’t let it make you cry
For ever if I’m far away
I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you
Each night we are apart
Remember me
Though I have to travel far
Remember me
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you
The only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again
Remember me

At the beginning of my relaxation class they used a warm up song to gently help us to unwind and begin. The session began and within seconds I was zoning out. The music was a beautiful medley of instruments but within that track the guitar playing struck a cord inside me. I heard you, I felt you, it was as if you spoke to me to say relax, listen and be guided. I listened, I felt every bit of the track and cried in my heart with tears in my eyes. I really felt it.

They say that grief never goes away, we learn to navigate it. Feeling a sense of loss nearly 1 year later in a class is not where I would have expected grief to appear. Nevertheless, I soldiered on and it became much easier, in fact I loved it, I was completely relaxed by the end of the session.

This period is particularly difficult at the moment, there are many things to consider with the added knowledge that I miss you so much. Whenever I need to find a sense of reasoning or peace, I turn towards your photo and work my way through my thoughts. It is hard to know that in 11 days time it is your first anniversary of leaving us on earth. I don’t know how I will feel but I know on this day I would like a sense of peace and stillness. This will be planned to ensure it happens.

You brought me so much fun, laughter and joy, I need to embrace the 12th February with love 💕

💞 🎸 🦋🥰🥺😔