Checking in to social media

This is a photo of my left breast. I am proud to be able to show it here.

From time to time I post on facebook a lot. Checking in to bars and restaurants, announcing my departure for and arrival on holiday. Posting daily holiday snaps, often of churches and historical buildings. Friends and family expect this stuff of me. They pull my leg about the number of trips we take and my brothers expect the churches etc. (mainly so they can wind me up). Recently though I have been quieter. For one thing, we have been to fewer interesting places. But mainly it is because I don’t write about breast cancer there.

All of the people who need to know about my recent diagnosis do so. But I feel guilty that I haven’t told some people. For one I couldn’t cope with telling people who aren’t close or I don’t know well. Others it just felt wrong sending a message to give them that information. Last week I felt tempted to write an end of treatment general message, I felt happy and wanted to share. But it would have caused something of a storm, so I didn’t.

There is one place on Facebook I can go to though and that is the Breast Cancer Facebook Group I have joined.

Checking in, support and sharing experiences

Shortly after I had my mastectomy I searched facebook for Breast Cancer related groups and found one that is UK based. Posts now pop up on my timeline on a daily basis. It is very friendly and supportive. It contains practical resources about equipment, lingerie, insurance etc. But respects that there are many types of breast cancer and that everyone’s journey is different. It is a place for people who have or have had breast cancer, but excludes family and partners. This is for a good reason as everyone needs a safe space. Like me, many haven’t told family and friends and are unable to express themselves elsewhere.

As people will know, I couldn’t post the image above on Facebook. Not that I would since I don’t want my family, friends, ex work colleagues and acquaintances to see my bare tit. But anyway photos of breasts are banned so it would get removed quickly and no doubt I would be suspended from the site too. Thank goodness though I can show photos on twitter, though of course that is my secret account and I am not followed there by vanilla friends. We are allowed though, to show mastectomy photos on the breast cancer facebook page.

This is how I know that my mastectomy scar looks similar to others who have had one that is skin sparing. It is also how I know that the red skin I have from radiotherapy is about right and doesn’t warrant a medical opinion. The page has helped me understand the treatment plans that occur for different types of cancer and recognise mine is on a par. This is reassuring stuff.

Doom and gloom

Checking in to the breast cancer page though, can be a bit depressing. There are people of all ages from young women often with little children to those in their 70s and 80s and often have other illnesses. Many people are calm even when frightened about their diagnosis but others are full of panic and anxiety. People don’t read and take account of what has already been said and so the same questions are asked time and again. The journey of diagnosis and treatment are frightening and this is a safe place for people to express their fears. Sadly too, some people have recurrence, or secondaries at diagnosis. There are those for whom this is a palliative journey and that is really sad.

I’m not sure how long I will stay a member of this group. I may already have taken most of what I need. However it is a useful place to go and to know you are amongst others that understand what you have been through. I am lucky that I have a supportive partner, friends and family I can talk to as well as a whole community of sex bloggers. I have my twitter account to post pictures to and rant on if I wish.

This experience with breast cancer has made me think about what I place in the public domain though. Whether it is here on my blog, on my @MPB twitter account or on facebook. That is probably for the best.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked
February Photofest

The whiteness

I love the whiteness of the hotel sheets. The contrast against my skin. I love the expanse of the bed, the way we have to travel to touch. The luxury of the vast shower, warm towels and white robe awaits. For now I indulge in the pleasure and whiteness of this bed.

February Photofest
Sinful Sunday

A gift

I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of family and friends over the past few months. People checking in regularly to see how I am. Those who sent or gave me cards and flowers following my operation. But I have been most touched by the generosity of people I don’t really know and those who are more like acquaintances.

On Wednesday at our local Munch, I received a beautiful gift. when we last met a couple of weeks ago I told her about my forthcoming holiday and of the anxiety I have about showing off my body in a swimsuit. On Wednesday she gave me the beautiful shawl / sarong that I am modelling below. I was overwhelmed by her kindness, but also I love it so much. I am very much looking forward to wearing it while we are away.

Photo by Graeme
February Photofest

A hiccup – Fit for Friday #4

Week 4 hasn’t quite gone to plan, you could say I’ve had a bit of a hiccup.

Diet and fitness

It started a week ago. Before I’d even posted week 3, I had fallen off of the Dry January wagon. I did have every intention of climbing back aboard, but that didn’t really happen. Intake of wine has been much lower than before, but I have had at least a little each evening. Food intake has been pretty average and we have had some lovely meals. So my half a pound gain is directly due to alcohol. Plan for next week is not to drink at home on week day evenings.

In terms of exercise, I had an amazing day on Monday. After my radiotherapy, we headed into London for an exhibition at Tate Britain. I really enjoyed the paintings and the walk through London afterwards. My step count by the end of the day was just shy of 15,000. That’s the best in a long while. Unfortunately the rest of the week hasn’t been so good. A combination of feeling tired and the weather (cold then snow yesterday / today). My average though was 6600. Once the snow goes I plan to step things up. In fact, we will be in London on Saturday and Sunday and will be walking lots.

Health

The radiotherapy is finished. It is difficult to imagine that 15 short bursts of radiation can cause such weariness in a person. But I really have been lacking energy this week. Also the skin on the right side of my chest is pretty red and sore, so I have stepped up the moisturising. Apparently I received some bolus does at the end of treatment which account for the skin issues. Effects are expected to continue for a couple of weeks. It is a month till I have my hospital follow up appointment so I can enjoy the freedom from hospital waiting rooms and car parks (and so can Master).

The slug at the top is from outside the Tate Modern. Rather fetching for a slug wouldn’t you say?

February Photofest 2019 – Kickoff

This is the third time I have participated in February Photofest, the annual photographic meme hosted by Molly. Having taken a break last year due to other commitments I am pleased to be back and raring to go. All my photos are taken either by me or my Master, Graeme. I’ll let you know in each post who did what. For the kickoff post I’m already in the swing of things!

This photo was taken by Master, while I was getting reacquainted with the sex (or is it love?) swing.

February Photofest