What a year 2016 was! I know collectively we’ve already said goodbye to a difficult 2016, but I wanted to gather my thoughts before sending my thanks, thoughts and gratitude on the past year. You see, 2016 may have started a bit grey, but it ended quite sunny in the Never Alone Sisterhood. And I hope to continue that sunshine into this year.
| Guest Post by Barbara Musser, Founder of Sexy After Cancer and a 27-year breast cancer survivor. See more about her at www.SexyAfterCancer.com
As a longtime sex educator and breast cancer survivor, my path gives me the great gift of talking with many women about their sex lives before, during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. I hear some stories of inspiration and hope, and many more of frustration and pain.
In 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34 years old. After having my bilateral mastectomy on my birthday, and then making it through the treatment, I discovered there are lots of other things I would never have expected from having cancer; like finding a bra for my newly reconstructed chest. That was such a pain in the ass (and chest).
It's been quite a year again (!) for AnaOno, and we wanted to begin our month of gratitude looking back on October, which was so much more than Breast Cancer Awareness for us. It was about reminding Congress that 113 of our sisters and brothers die every day of Metastatic Breast Cancer. It was about chats on Twitter about surgical choices. It was about reminding the world of the beauty and strength of our AO Ambassadors, and how they are not models or a headshot, they are everyday women, authentic women, who have been affected by breast cancer.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was immediately faced with some serious decisions to make. Decisions about my body, how to deal with removing the cancer and what type of reconstruction were incredibly difficult. These decisions would literally affect how I look and feel for the remainder of my life.
While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, I gave little to no thought about reconstruction. Being subjected to more surgeries and spending more time in doctor’s offices held little appeal and I had grown accustomed to my mastectomy scar.
Communicating your needs as a cancer patient with your friends and family can be a daunting task. Sometimes we really need help and sometimes all we need is a sounding board. As a caregiver, I’ve worked with a great deal of cancer patients over the years. When facing challenges, good communication is as important as ever. Here I’ve compiled seven tips that I’ve seen have really helped.