Thursday, June 17, 2010

#188: Sex and Cancer

 This is the first time I've tried to write on a fairly bad day, so today's post will be an experiment. Naturally, I've chosen the most safe topic possible...

By now you're asking yourself, "What about sex? Where does Little Pennsy fit into all of this?" Well, first of all, shame on you for letting your imagination wander so far afield of appropriate territory. The answer is "None of your business." So let's talk about sex.

To begin with: is there sex during chemo? Have I mentioned that my SPIT is toxic? That people wear haz-mat suits so I don't SWEAT on them? That under certain circumstances, you can use me as a night light? No. There is no sex during chemo.

And then there are plumbing issues. There's the literal plumbing. I have a piece of 1/4 inch tube about 30 cm long sticking out through my abdomen. Even if you could get past the distraction of that little accessory, I prefer not to think about the consequences of a forceful contraction of my stomach muscles. There's just no telling what might come out of the thing.

Of course there is also the figurative plumbing. I have a secret for all you bookworms out there. Remember back in school while you were studying so hard, and all the happy people were out playing tennis, jogging, and having sex with one another? They could have sex because they were physically active. During chemo and radiation, a rigorous workout involves climbing halfway up the stairs, sitting down, trying to remember what you thought was up there, then assuming that if you live, you'll find it later. Then you yell for help so someone can call 911. This is not an active lifestyle. Little Pennsy is not impressed.

Some nights, it's all I can do to work up enough slack to find the thing so I can pee.

But do not despair. There is sexuality during chemo/radiation. Oh, man is there ever.

We drive the same route to the cancer center every day. When we're on time, we hit a main crossroad into campus just as people are arriving for classes. We follow the most lovely collection of soft round behinds all the way from South Broadway to the hospital. All shapes and colors. Young and old. Long flowing hair and short, pixie-like summer cuts. And the bicycles. Don't get me started. I had no idea that human legs could be so very long.

Look, I know I've talked about how much cancer has taught me to notice the calls of birds and the smells of the grass. But yesterday, I found myself gazing, not with lust, but with genuine awe at the breasts of a woman my mother's age. They were magnificent.

I flirt without reservation. This morning my radiation techs, Amy and Katie (honest to god, "Amy and Katie") giggled as I described my Penthouse Forum letter about our adventures on the big radioactive bed. I am charm. I am warmth. I am God's gift to Woman.

So don't cry for Little Pennsy. He doesn't get the workout he used to, but he's still peeking around. Reminding me that even in this, I am still alive.


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