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Shhh... (The Part of Cancer No One Talks About)

Let's Talk About Sex, Ladies

Let me just dive in with a subject no one likes to talk about. But, I’m not just anyone, I’m very blunt. Having stage 4 lung cancer, or any cancer for that matter, can make you feel ugly. Why? My theory is that not only does your body go through a dramatic change with treatment, but also there is an emotional toll going on. You look in the mirror and the person staring back at you is not who used to be there.

There are a few things you can do about this so your relationship or sex life is not entirely destroyed. I, for instance, used to have beautiful long blonde hair. I loved my hair and thought it to be one of my best qualities. I was also petite and had a great figure. Well, that girl went out the window four years ago. So, what have I done to try and get past the emotions going through my head? Those of not being pretty enough? My insides are all ugly and that in turn makes my outsides feel ugly too.

Tips for Hair and Makeup

Now that my hair is short, wiry, and coming in black, I wear a wig. I purchased a long blonde wig. Of course, natural hair wigs are the best, but they are very expensive. I chose a synthetic wig. Although it can be costly (around $230), it lasts for around 4-6 months if not worn every day. I’ve gotten to where I love wigs. I can change up the color, while still keeping the same style. With a lace front, they look very natural and help to bring some of your confidence back. And the best news, you don’t have to spend hours with a straightening iron or always where a cap or wrap.

I’m not that petite anymore. I’m actually 30 lbs. heavier than when I was diagnosed. Therefore, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe. But I got loose fitting clothes that showed off the “still good parts”, and hid my stomach. Make-up is great. I learned to wear less, but get natural products so it doesn’t hurt my skin. I take great care of my skin now because it becomes so dry. All in all, some days I feel I look better than before cancer.

"My husband thinks I'm beautiful regardless..."

For those of you allowed to drink alcohol, having a glass of wine or two loosens your inhibitions a bit to make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Quite honestly, I feel like I can’t have any sexual encounters without at least two glasses of wine. Liquid courage I guess. I’m probably the last person that should be giving advice, but this is what we do. My husband thinks I’m beautiful regardless. But, it’s harder for me. I’m unable to climax most of the time, but he does and that is a turn on regardless. There are plenty of products out there to alleviate dryness. Also, be creative. If none of the above works for you, there is always role play. Now, that is not my thing anymore, but I won’t say I’ve never done it in the past. You take yourself out of your own body and pretend to be someone else. And there’s always the sneaky sex in places where you shouldn’t be to heighten the arousal. The thought of getting caught can be a turn on in itself. Leave most of your clothes on and wear a skirt on your date.

I know I may sound horrible suggesting some of these things, but cancer really does take away so much in this area of your life. You don’t want your partner thinking you’ve lost interest in them just because you have no motivation. You have to motivate yourself. A healthy diet and exercise can go a long way too if you’re able. Hope some of this helps. Just know, you are not alone if you feel like you are just not interested in sex anymore. It’s not your fault, it’s the cancer.

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