Since this whole cancer thing started I have not had sex. I am a single woman in my mid-fifties. In just the last few years I had awakened to and began to feel comfortable in my sexuality.
I had been told not to have any sexual activity for 6-8 weeks after surgery. Understandable. All of my reproductive organs had been removed. During that time I would lay in bed and wonder if I would still be sexually responsive after all of this had passed.
Approximately three months after surgery, I engaged in the natural release of masturbation. There was a desperate need to know if I could still experience orgasm.
Some form of relief occurred. This body of mine was undergoing a cruel assault and I could only try to ease this by caring for myself. My mid-section was swollen for a time but I went for walks daily and continued a regiment of daily pep talks designed to stay in touch with my feminine self.
Then chemotherapy hit. I came through it exceptionally well. The feet are just slightly numb now at the base of the toes. My hair is sprouting. It will be some time, however, before I have anything of substance up there. And of course, I packed on about 20 lbs. in my mid-section.
I am back in the gym and beginning to run again. I have had awesome support from family and friends throughout this ordeal.
Yet last night as I finished up and made my way home I was very much alone. The idea of having a relationship still seems so foreign and out of reach. Even more so now as I washed up for bed and looked in the mirror the question teased me.
Am I desirable?
When the whole cancer thing consumed me, my choice was to put the quest of meeting someone on hold, not that I would have actually had the time to continue on in this vein.
These days I just want to feel and look ‘normal’ again. Hell, I was just getting re-acquainted with my sexual self and bam!
“You’ve got cancer.”
I had been grappling with my inability to move to the next level of having a loving relationship with a man. I was told to put it out to the universe. I did….I think. I was finding it far easier to talk to men and open up them. Still, I think I was likely too open at times.
I have never really known how to flirt or how much information to offer up to someone I find attractive. Furthermore, if there was interest returned, I just don’t seem to know how to respond in a manner that is inviting? I have been told I respond too intensely.
Not quite sure how to temper that.
In any case, there I was last night trying so fucking hard to convince myself that I’m still so very feminine and that I am desirable.
It’s a lie. I don’t feel this way at all. In fact, I feel asexual.
Who wants to touch this?
I left the bathroom and came and sat on my sofa, curling up in a blanket, I surfed the channels on TV. There are some really weird shows on television at 1:30 AM.
I got to thinking about why I go to public establishments to write. It struck me then I go there to purge my fears of aloneness. To write some of what I am feeling or thinking in the isolation of my own home would somehow be suffocating.
Oddly enough to confess in a public space all my fears of being alone makes it somehow bearable, though no one is listening. There are living, breathing people around me though and this offers up some form of consolation.
Here at home, it’s just me.
I slipped into bed and closed my eyes thinking for the millionth plus time how good it would be to have someone to curl up to at night. To have someone who could reassure that I’m woman, that I’m desirable, that I’m sensual…
I say this to the mirror each day wanting so desperately to believe it, yet sometimes this just seems to compound my aloneness.
Friends tell me the man who nabs me will be so very fortunate. I’m still waiting to be nabbed.
I guess there are times when I feel that all the ground I’ve gained in this regard has just been removed and I am back at square one.
I don’t really discuss the fears that I have around the whole cancer thing and what it’s doing to me. I really think my emotions would be far too intense, so I do what I have always done. I fight the war with these fears alone.
I reach for the pen to help me alleviate these fears and to expel them onto the page. And as this evening winds down it is an all too familiar one.
And at times likes this, it feels like it’s crushing me.
If there is one thing I have come to know, I must give voice to these fears of mine in order to reconcile them.
I had a long conversation on the phone with a close friend last night. She asked me why I didn’t take the time of work to focus on my recovery. I have disability benefits that would have covered me during this time. I simple told her it’s not in my nature.
Truth be told, I didn’t want to spend this time feeling even more isolated from the world around me than I already do. I needed to keep my frenetic balance of normal moving. I need to feel that somehow I belong to this world.
The thing about dealing with cancer, at least for this woman, has been the constant reminder of my own mortality and the threat, real or imagined, to take this life of mine from me.
For the most part I have weathered the storm fairly well. So I will go for a run now and enjoy the freedom it instills and focus on my hopes and lay my fears to rest.