And manners. I am deeply grateful to Scorchy of Sarcastic Boob fame for writing an entire blogpost about my project. Ditto in the gratitude department to AnnMarie of pink boa flinging Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer who keeps putting it on her Facebook page where she has over 4000 "likes." And thanks to all who are sharing and tweeting and especially, filling out the survey.
What prompted this sudden interest in gathering information and how in the world do I think I can turn that information into a successful book?
All I can say is this. I'm taking a leap of faith. Going with my gut. Using the brain in my stomach rather than the one in my head. Hell, I've been guided by the brain in my heart for quite some time and that's caused plenty of pain.
Life can be very complicated and mine has been, and still is, quite complicated. These complications began at least a year before I launched this blog. I've been an open book about everything that pertains to me.
However, I don't live in a vacuum. There are friends, there are parents, there are kids, there is a spouse.
My mom's privacy has been sufficiently invaded but my mom is a part of this community. My dad, despite his death is also a part of the extended cancer community. If my dad was the inspiration for me to see this through, the wind beneath my wings, my mom has been my daily cheerleader, on the sidelines encouraging me. Yes, mom is definitely part of this community.
My kids are young adults. It's not appropriate for me to invade their privacy in any form. If one of them makes a decision to open up about any aspect of their lives, it would have to be of their own volition.
And then, there is my spouse. I've not mentioned him in too many places for a number of reasons which I will share in an upcoming post. Obviously, that is a significant relationship but I've respected his privacy on every level. This is my gig and he's a very private person. He knows this blog exists but beyond that, he knows very little of this aspect of my life. Indeed, this larger than life aspect of my life is something about which he knows nearly nothing.
There are reasons. We have had our issues and those issues are the complications to which I refer at the beginning of this post. Those issues have had us leading separate, yet together, lives for quite some time. We are in a dance of push and pull and this dance has gone on for over three years. I've had plenty of time to reflect about life with and life without him.
During those times of reflection, my mind went to very dark places. I thought about what it would be like to be dating again. I thought about what it might be like to be intimate with someone else, someone who didn't know my story. How would I tell a new person? At what point might I slip in, "Oh, by the way, I have scars all over my chest, silicone implants that don't feel so great to fondle and by the way, I can't feel it anyway so don't waste your time, abdominal scars and lest I forget, my cervix is missing, too. I'm sewn shut." When exactly does one bring that up? During the lowest points of this push-pull, I've spent plenty of time trying to visualize the unthinkable.
Those thoughts are the foundation for this project. I've heard from a wide variety of people: all ages and stages (yes, several mets patients have filled out the survey), same sex couples, married couples, committed couples. Interestingly, the least amount of responses have come from, wait for it and cue Beyonce, All The Single Ladies.
Maybe being single is such a big damn challenge that cancer boobs and cervical stenosis are the easiest parts of dating in 2014? I'd sure like to know!
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