This coming Wednesday, March 28th, Living Beyond Breast Cancer will host a free Community Meeting addressing the complex issues of sex and intimacy after diagnosis. Today Randi Rentz finishes her story–providing insight and humor on the subject–in this final installment from a chapter in her forthcoming book, Why Buy a Wig…When You Can Buy Diamonds! Please note, this blog has a very mature theme and may not be suitable to all audiences.
On our way to the register we pass the sale section. I see edible body pasties, swizzle sticks and coochy lotions. Tattoo girl turns to the left and I follow her like a dog on a leash.
“You need a lubricant to go with your new toy and probably a cleanser too.”
Oh, my God! Lubricant and cleanser! It’s pretty apparent to me that my drugstore stuff doesn’t cut the ice with tattoo girl. She takes me down the lubricant aisle and points to the tissues on the top shelves. There are testers for every brand. Tattoo girl tells me I can try each brand, but to make sure to clean my hand or fingers with the tissue after each application. She is so considerate.
Tattoo girl and I walk up to the register where she puts my new toy and lubricant in a black sealed bag. She gives me sample cleansers for my vibrator and tells me to clean it after every use because bacteria can grow and she doesn’t want me to get an infection. How thoughtful.
I leave the store and think maybe I should have sex on the road, but know better. I worry about having a bad experience, like taking my lubricant on a trip and having my bags checked. What if the baggage checker finds my lubricant and holds it up for everybody to see? Oh God, I can never put it in my carry-on luggage. How embarrassing would that be? I should just turn myself in to the Lubricant Police.
I only hope that when I get home and use my new toy, things will slowly come back to life. Maybe I should dump my bag in my closet and hope that I can find someone who will want to be with me and accept me for who and what I am, rather than judging me on the exterior like I did with my lubricant. Shit. I throw My Little Secret and Pink in the closet. There’s always tomorrow.
It would be easier if there were a web-site for single breast cancer survivors. But what man would check out that site? Would my profile read, “Single, sexy woman who has been sliced and diced, poisoned and nuked: seeking conversation, love and travel?” If I am fixed up on a blind date, should the guy be informed of my breast cancer or should I just not say a word about it? I think the hat or scarf that I wear is a dead giveaway, though. Would a man resent me because I haven’t told him my dirty little cancer secret prior to the date? If I decide to tell a date about my breast cancer, do I tell him what kind and how my breast really wasn’t affected too much from the surgery?
Cancer has changed my body. People now say I look average, not skinny. I look at myself in the mirror and can’t believe that the lean me with blonde hair is now two sizes bigger. It’s a real change, but I keep telling myself it is only temporary.
Maybe my biggest problem is getting my inner strength back. I continue to wear my diamonds, but something is missing. How will I date if I don’t feel good about my body that is drastically different than something that I am used to? My inner strength needs to come from my self-esteem which robbed me of my own security.
When I finally meet someone who I want to be romantic and sexy for, I get a migraine and am nauseous. I can’t wear lingerie with lace or built in underwire because it hurts and rubs the area where the tumor was excised. I don’t want to wear the scarf to bed, but am nervous that I will look like an egg-head. The idea of me “bringing sexy back” just backfired. I want to be touched so badly, that it hurts. In fact, everything hurts and I feel like throwing up.
I consider putting on Danielle, my free wig, a black tank top and black lace underwear. I put on high heels and stare at myself in the mirror. I look like I should be starring in a porno flick as someone by the name of Mimi Canterbury. You know; my dog’s first name and the first street I lived on as a kid. Maybe I should have sex with my eyes closed wearing sweat pants.
I put on my red skull cap instead and look just like, “Little Red Riding Hood.” I don’t want him to see me without a full head of hair. In addition, I wear my diamond studs, add a touch of light fragrance and apply make-up. I decide to wear boxers and a tight T-shirt, but not too tight; something comfortable. I want to be normal and just don’t know what to do. I feel like a school girl having sexual relations for the first time.
Will the man I chose to have relations with be turned on by my body, my looks and my love making? I know that he is turned on by my intelligence, my ability to express amusement about my situation, but does he really want to do “the act” with me? My mind is saying “of course he does, he’s a guy,” but maybe he truly has feelings for me, Randi.
I can barely feel his hand on my left breast because it is still numb in many areas. I think he really wants me. Yes, he wants me a lot. I can tell from his caress on my body and the way he kisses me. Maybe it’s not about the breasts and the hair after all. Maybe it’s just me that he wants. And he wants me again and again. It’s magic.
To learn more about the unabridged chapter or to read additional excepts from her book, Why Buy a Wig…When You Can Buy Diamonds!, you can visit her website. If you are in the Philadelphia area, please join us for our free Community Meeting on sex and intimacy at the Loews Hotel. You can find additional resources on our website, including our Understanding Guides. LBBC is currently taking pre-orders for “Intimacy and Sexuality” the newest title in its expanding “Understanding Breast Cancer” series.