Curves

Me in the bath showing my curves. Legs, and tummy rolls on show.
Bath colour caused by a Turmeric Latte bath bomb!

I am very curvy. I have curves in places I like, but also in places I don’t. For years I hated the sight of my body and would only look at it in a mirror that I found flattering. I also avoided the camera. This was helped along by the fact I always seemed to be the one behind the camera. Whole holidays passed with 60 photos of my son, a few of my husband and lots of the scenery. There’d be an occasional one of me, but if I felt I looked too fat, I’d hide it away or throw it out. We’re mainly talking pre-digital here, because those just never saw the light of day.

But things have changed. While I am still not sharing photos of myself in a swimsuit with family and friends I have no problem with showing my curves here on my blog. So, what has changed?

Writing about sex and kink

To begin with my posts were pretty much just words, though one of my first ever posts did contain a photo of me in a maid’s outfit. Gradually I introduced images, mainly those I found on Tumblr. But then I met Master and he took photos of me, some of which I liked more than others. S also took a few and they too appeared here, but there aren’t many. Now, I like to use a photo of or by me to illustrate my blog where possible.

Body positivity

I’ve definitely grown to like and love my curves more since I’ve been with Master. Partly because of his body positivity. He always tells me he loves my curves, loves to feel them, see them and photograph them. He loves the way I look in leather and other fetish gear. Admires my nipple piercing jewellery and me generally naked. In fact that’s the thing that set’s him apart from the other men I’ve had in my life. That he likes me naked. I’m not always so thrilled with the finished product. So, I’ll try and crop out what I think is the worst of my lumps and bumps.

Post mastectomy was a difficult time. But at the moment I feel happier posting a photo of my chest on my blog than going round without a bra. Go figure that one out!

Sensorship

There are few places that it’s ok to show photos of a naked body. It’s ok to show a man’s naked chest on Instagram, Facebook or Tumblr but not a woman’s. A self hosted blog and twitter for the moment are ok. But who knows when this creeping censorship will creep up on us further.

Sinful Sunday and February Photofest

It was really joining in with these two meme’s created and run by Molly Moore that sealed my place as a shower of my own curves. I’ve just completed my fourth February Photofest and am proud that I posted every day. Most of the images were of me. They ranged across the history of our relationship and if you look you’ll see that sometimes I have more curves than others. At the moment I’m proud to be shrinking down a little and that makes me happy.

As for Sinful Sunday. Often I’ll only post once or twice a week when I am busy or away travelling and one of those will usually be a Sinful Sunday. Our images aren’t always as creative as others but we try to make some effort.

When I look back over the almost 8 years of this blog I am amazed to see how far I’ve come. Not just in the quality and quantity of my writing but also in what I’m prepared to share of myself and our relationship. I can’t see that changing any time soon. I’m 57, I have had a mastectomy and I am a big curvy woman. And, I’m proud to share myself with anyone who would like to see me.

In Leather

Searching for a Throwback Thursday photo that also features lingerie I came upon this.

Me bursting out of a leather bra.

Photos like this make me both happy and sad. Happy because I had a fabulous pair of tits and loves to show them off. Happy too because Master buys me some brilliant things. This leather bra is no exception to that.

But the photo makes me sad too. I can’t wear this bra at the moment, though in many ways it will fit better (I’ve lost weight). When this was taken in summer 2018 I already had breast cancer, but didn’t know it. But I can’t be sad for long. This was taken while I unpacked some of my clothes after moving in with Master. The same afternoon we took this one! Sad to say, he currently fits some of my bras better than I do. But that will change and then there will be an update to this post!!

Master wearing a pale blue shirt with one of my bras peeking beneath. He looks suitably happy.

Content warnings

Photo by Tyler B on Unsplash

Content Warning: Cancer – A discussion about whether blog posts mentioning my breast cancer diagnosis should contain content warnings.

Recently I’ve been a bit irritated by the hashtags a friend of mine uses every day on her instagram posts. These in turn a reposted on facebook and if you subscribe, to her YouTube account. This friend follows a pretty extreme diet, which she believes has helped her remission from stage 4 cancer. The first 3 or 4 hashtags have the word cancer in them. She looks fantastic and whether the diet is responsible or not, I am of course happy that she is so well. I don’t want to be the one to ask her to move the cancer related hashtags down the list (there’s usually about 20), but I do feel somewhat triggered. This got me thinking about content warnings on my blog.

Supporting evidence for content warnings

The Sex Bloggers for Mental Health site has this week reiterated the importance of using content warnings for posts where readers may find difficult to read or traumatic. Posts which could trigger trauma or PTSD. One of the subjects mentioned is cancer. The post there was originally written and posted on Melody’s blog by SwirlingFire. Indeed I only read that this week and have commented.

So, my question to myself and others if you care to respond is: Should I put content warnings on my posts about cancer? Also, should I do this retrospectively with what is already posted. Lets face it I have been very open and honest about my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Plus the body image issues it presents me with.

What’s more, this week a post was retweeted (my old post revived widget posts directly to twitter) and a fellow blogger didn’t realise it was an old post. This made me wonder if I should go back through old posts and label them so that it’s clear that they are old. Or else should I actually remove them from the posts that are revived?

Up until now I’ve never put a content warning on anything

I’ve always been of the opinion that when people read my blog they know what they are getting. I make it clear that I am a slave and have a master. Also that we participate in BDSM activities. I try to be careful about consent issues and don’t really write about non consent. Even though our relationship is based on power exchange / CNC. But perhaps I need to be more careful there too.

It’s easy to be blasé about this issue. Until it happens to you and I guess that is exactly what has happened. Thoughts welcome please.

Click the badge below to see who else is taking part in January Jumpstart.

Determining priorities

I’ve written a bit about the pressures I felt were on me in the run up to Christmas. I have loved family Christmas’ in the past and mourn their passing. Well, I thought I did. Because this festive period taught me that I need to be clearer about what is important and necessary and what would be nice. I also realised in my end of year reflections the extent to which I have started to revert to type. That is, trying to organise everyone and then being upset when everyone doesn’t welcome my efforts.

Master and I have spent far too much time over the past two weeks discussing what happened and what was wrong with it. For him, the priority is to be as stress free as possible. He says he hates Christmas, I don’t actually think he does. What he really dislikes is conforming to expectations, spending too much money, watching crap TV and over eating. All of which are symptoms of this time of year. He has no objection to spending time with others (i.e. my family members), but he wants to be in control of who, for how long and when.

These events now make me think of the rest of the year. How do we determine where our priorities lie and how do we ensure that we do what we want. We plan to focus much of this year around the knowledge I should have reconstruction surgery in the second part of the year. So we are thinking about what events we will attend, trips and holidays we will take and who else we need to consider in those plans. But those plans will only be for the first half of the year, until around July.

We’ve been fortunate since I gave up work, that we can be flexible with dates. Also that we are able to do so many things we want to do. We don’t have other dependents, though our priorities need to include others. Master, quite rightly wants to see his daughter more often than of late. Likewise I want to spend time with my son and daughter in law. Perhaps in past years we have prioritised ourselves. Plus of course in 2018 I was preparing to move, working my notice and getting diagnosed with breast cancer.

What I’ve come to realise is that getting my priorities wrong leads to anxiety and stress not only in me but in Master. By choice our life together is busy and because of that we need to build in down time and plenty of it. Time when we may be doing things together, but equally where we have our own priorities. We both like to spend time alone even if we are in the same house, or sometimes even the same room.

This needs to be factored in when we go and visit others. We spent two nights at my mum’s followed by one in a hotel. The two nights with mum were in hindsight a mistake. We struggled to escape from her misery, the TV and her smoking. The night in the hotel was bliss. But it wasn’t alone time, far from it. Instead we lunched with my son and daughter in law and spent the evening with her family.

Although I’ve used Christmas as the example here, this is about a much bigger issue. It’s about balancing my and our needs with those of others. And it is about planning how we better manage times that could prove stressful. I guess you could say that a plan is forming to make sure that happens.

Down a blogging rabbit hole

I had planned to write every day for Jumpstart January. But yesterday I found myself down a blogging rabbit hole. As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday, I have started a new blog – Big Fanfare:

Food, Fitness and Health

I set it up about 6 weeks ago, but December was a busy month and I hadn’t had the time to devote to it. Then after Christmas and over the past few days I have been writing every day. I have a lot I want to write about my thoughts of food and eating, on getting fitter and on health in general. I also feel that before I invite others to contribute their thoughts I ought to have a bit of material I’ve written myself.

But also I want it to look right and I wasn’t especially happy with how it looked (though I like the theme I’ve chosen on the while). So yesterday I decided to put together a front page and then crazily published it too early. Hours passed while I tried to fix things and so I spent all afternoon and half the evening down a WordPress plugin rabbit hole. It’s still not quite right but lets call it work in progress. Plus I want to write something here. Especially as the Wicked Wednesday post where I wrote about it as one of my goals was chosen in the round up by Marie. Plus she has kindly highlighted it. My plans for this new place are:

Plans for Food Fitness and Health

Provide a vanilla place for myself to write about my progress to maintaining my health and being ready for surgery. This will require me to lose some weight, but also to be fit for surgery. Then afterwards to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Provide a place where people might find my Breast Cancer journey (though it will still be here), I’m hoping to attract non Sex Bloggers as well as my lovely kinky friends.

Provide a space for others to write about their health goals and projects. To provide encouragement, advice and support to each other. This isn’t about saying we all have to conform to the same ideal. Since health means different things to different people.

To share recipe ideas. This won’t just be about eating food that might be considered ‘healthy’. Since feeling good also includes sweets, chocolate and carbs. But in the main I will be trying to find ways around sugar, food with fewer starchy carbohydrates etc. So any recipes to make me feel good while eating healthy will be fabulous.

Link to other sites such as Sex Bloggers for Mental Health, since mental health is as (if not more) important as physical health. Certainly one can’t happen without the other. Links to other health and food related blogs and sites I wouldn’t link to here.

Review books and try to weave through the crazy world of diets, weird fads and health crazes. Including calling out the downright dangerous, body and sex negative stuff that fills the internet.

In a few weeks

I’ll launch a meme (plus guest posts) over there for sharing food, fitness and health related articles, stories – good and bad. I hope you will come and join me there.

Personal reflections on 2019

As usual I will be posting a few reflective posts in the coming couple of weeks. About my own blogging milestones, as well as shouting out about my fellow sex bloggers and writers. I plan to articulate my goals for 2020 too. But this post reflects on 2019 for me personally. The ways in which I have struggled, but also where I feel I have grown as a person.

The end of 2018 was pretty shitty. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September and had a mastectomy in October. The very end of the year was somewhat brighter with my son’s wedding on 29th December. But I didn’t exactly feel good about myself. I’m not keen on the photos taken of me on the day partly because my dress definitely didn’t flatter. But also my makeup was wrong my mum caused me a lot of stress. It was a lovely day and I was a proud mum of the groom, but it was that day that set up how 2019 needed to be different.

I have always been someone who puts others first. I worry about what other people need and then consider myself. But in January I was waiting for my radiotherapy treatment to start, so prepared others that I would need to put that first. From 10th January, for 15 days we travelled to the cancer centre for treatment. But the effects; fatigue, soreness and general malaise lasted well into February. The emotional recovery though has taken much longer. It’s only now I can say that I am over the psychological effects of the cancer diagnosis, surgery and treatment.

The impact of having one breast

Before I’d had breast cancer, I didn’t understand just how important a complete body is. I’ve been overweight for the past 10 years or more, but can usually find a way to feel good in my body despite it. I’d never had surgery, so other than a few stretch marks, no blemishes. My tits were pretty good for a woman of my age. Losing one of them has at times felt like a tragedy. It has led to me feeling less happy with the remaining breast and in me losing interest in it being touched. Weird I used to be able to orgasm through nipple play. I’m sure this is a psychological, not physical thing. But it does relate to the knowledge that the right breast is missing and that what remains is numb. A physical reality and not a psychological one.

Overcoming my fears

Being a sex blogger who posts photos of herself has been useful in my recovery. It’s true I could have shut myself away and not spoken of it to anyone. But that isn’t me. First and foremost I blogged about my recovery for me. I wanted to show others what it looked like and to demonstrate that while a mastectomy is a horrible thing to have to go through, there is life afterwards. At my son’s wedding I felt incomplete even though no one could tell. I bought a dress with a higher neckline than suits me because I didn’t want to show cleavage. I guess it was just too soon.

Eroticon helped my recovery journey immensely. I got the opportunity to take part in a group photo and went topless for it. That was the first time I had shown anyone other than health professionals and Master my new body. That occasion and the response to it helped drive me on. And since then I’ve been back to CMnf, taken my clothes off in a hot tub with others present and been naked at a couple of play events. I have also begun to post photos on my blog that show me breast, scars and all. I feel self conscious when naked in front of people, but am able to forget and be myself.

Weirdly though, while on holiday with my mum, I was very careful not to show her my body. I’m not sure why. But maybe it has more to do with our relationship than the fact I have only one tit. After all it isn’t as if she doesn’t know. I also find I prefer wearing a bra rather than going lop sided. Even though I doubt most people would even notice. This made my holidays this summer hot and uncomfortable at times.

The future isn’t plain sailing

I’m on the waiting list for a DIEP reconstruction. This will mean surgery to my abdomen to taken fat and skin for reconstruction as a breast. A huge operation which will give me more scars and a new breast that looks different from the other. But in clothes I will be able to look ‘normal’ again.

At least this surgery is planned. There will be time to talk to others who have had surgery. Time also to lose weight. My tummy will be flatter afterwards which has to be a great side effect. But this won’t give me my body back and make me look as I did before. I’ll need to have a nipple created later and this will include a tattoo.

Looking back I was feeling pretty fragile this time last year. Even though I’d been told I was cured, the uncertainties around the diagnosis lingered around me. Treatment was physically tiring and emotionally draining. But I was focused on getting through and in coming to terms with what had happened. I might not be wild about how I look right now, but I am in a much better place to cope with whatever the future throws my way and that is a massive achievement.

Thank you to all of my fellow bloggers that have helped me along the way, particularly May More, Molly Moore and Posy Churchgate, all of whom have been there for me along the way.

My Breast Cancer Posts are here

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

Multitask?

Hardly! I can barely do one thing at a time.

That is partially true. I am better at being efficient and effective when I focus on that thing and get it done than when I try to do 2 or 3 things at once. But of course life doesn’t allow us the luxury of concentrating on that one thing and then moving on.

Work, managing a family, social life and blogging all require attention. But if I don’t work out what I need to do and get on with it, I am likely to try to do everything at once. Not literally perhaps, though I do often have several windows on my laptop open at once and of course there’s that important WhatsApp message to check. Next I remember I promised to call my mum and then there is the washing to take out of the machine. (Break here while I go and do it).

Planning

The secret to being productive is planning. I started the year with a fabulous planner and faithfully planned out whole months and then weeks of activity. For about half the year this worked well. I kept track of appointments (lots of them at hospitals), social events, birthdays and my blogging plans. But then life got busy, I took some paid work and things went wrong. I concentrated on the project (I did the planning) and got that done. I still managed to blog, but found it difficult to find the brain capacity for both. Next I went on holiday. Since then I’ve hardly planned anything other than in my head. Appointments are in the diary (often put there by Master), but blogging is more haphazard.

Multitasking in the way I have been doing lately is tiring. Keeping most plans in my head is crazy as I am not doing things in the right order. Plus I am forgetting important (though small) tasks.

Goal setting

When I finished work last year, I had all sorts of plans in mind. To have a prolonged break from the stress of the workplace. To travel and to write. I wanted to see if I could make money from writing. None of this stuff was written down, which is why I got the planner. But I hadn’t factored in the small issue of discovering I had breast cancer and requiring treatment and recovery from it.

Now though I am ready to set goals again and to plan the coming weeks and months. I have a new planner for 2020 and I am going to use it.

I’ve just listed to Molly and Kayla’s latest podcast about setting goals as well as other’s recently about planning and planners. So in theory I am ready. I have ideas I want to put in place, new exciting projects I want to embark on. This week I have found myself steaming ahead to do one of them, only to be stymied by internet problems. This led to multitasking in a way that is not efficient and fruitful as I tried to sort it out.

But while at a classical music event last night I worked out what I need to do (I find piano music particularly useful for this). Set goals and plan. Then do.

You see, as I said at the top, I can’t really multitask. I can barely do one thing at a time. So I will leave multitasking to those who can.

During the writing of this post I drank tea, put the washing into the tumble dryer, went in search of my laptop lead and checked a news story online. Plus chatted to Master who has just returned from the shop.

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

Planning for breast reconstruction

I haven’t written about my breast cancer journey for a while. Well I have weaved things that have already happened into various posts. But as for the journey itself, there has been nothing much to say. In early summer when I first saw the plastic surgeons, I was led to believe the wait for breast reconstruction would be quite short. So I told them I wanted to delay and in September I was put on the waiting list. We have kept the post Christmas to spring period free in our diaries. We hadn’t booked Eroticon tickets. But things have changed.

I wasn’t worried that I hadn’t seen the consultant yet. But now I realise this would have been desirable. The junior doctors are great assets to their boss, but didn’t really have the whole picture. I was vaguely told to lose weight and told I could phone to find out when my surgery would likely be.

On Friday I saw a really pleasant and straight forward specialist nurse. I used to do something like she does, though in a different field. I am confident that she knows how the system works. She told me that next time I MUST see the consultant. She also told me that before my breast reconstruction goes ahead, I must lost weight. That they have tightened up this rule because BMI seems to have been a factor when looking at those who recover less quickly.

My weight

To say I am struggling to lose any weight is an understatement. But at least I have maintained – i.e I am the same weight today as about a year ago. The nurse and I agreed that a loss of about a stone (16lb) would be optimum. But I have already excluded most sugar, all sugary and artificial sweetened drinks. I rarely eat anything fatty and don’t know when I last ate pizza. The only thing I can think of is wine. So, I’ll have to reduce that drastically now. The nurse didn’t argue when I said that I thought Letrozole was contributing.

I’ve decided to try intermittent fasting, on the basis that metabolism is affected by constant dieting. Also that frequent food intake may cause insulin resistance. I’m busy reading up on this approach and feel that it can’t hurt. I’m going to go back to reporting my progress on here over the next few months, to help keep a record.

Other aspects of planning

We went through the implications of the DIEP surgery – the actual operation, potential risks and side effects and after care. This really is a major operation. I was also told that the longer between the end of radiotherapy and surgery the better. This involves micro surgery to tiny blood vessels in my breast and abdomen. The reality of the enormity of what I am putting myself forward for hit. Waiting feels right even if the list was shorter.

I need to be as fit and well prepared as possible for this surgery. I need to follow the advice of the health professionals and Master and I need to be as ready as we can be. So we can plan some things for winter and spring.

Fun things to do

Eroticon tickets are now in the bag, we just need to sort out hotel etc. Master has a big birthday at the end of March, so we are planning for that. There’s also an English Song Festival in April and I will want to get over to France to get things ready for summer. We can also book a summer holiday and the hospital will honour this. But I happily put myself forward for a short notice call from the end of spring. So long as I am physically ready, I think I will be emotionally fit to take a cancellation. Or failing that to have my breast reconstruction surgery when I get to the top of the list. Whenever that is.

Being positive

This is prompt week on Sinful Sunday. But as I mentioned in my last post, I am not a lover of Halloween, therefore I make no excuse for not following the prompt.

Instead I want to show you another (in what might be a series) of photos where I proudly show you my body. I am preparing for my reconstructive surgery and as I do so feel better about sharing what my mastectomy looks like.

This is the third (and final) photo from our recent trip to Oxford. I think you can see here that I am much more at home in my body. More positive and confident. This has been a journey I don’t recommend, but one which I am happy to share.

I stand at the window of our hotel on a beautiful morning. The view behind is the historic buildings of the Oxford University Schook (back). I am standing proudly showing my body. I have one breast - the right removed in a mastectomy last year.
Sinful Sunday

Breast Cancer – Being aware

I wasn’t going to write anything about Breast Cancer Awareness. But having read May’s wonderful post about her friend Shirley and watched Tabitha’s fabulous Vlog I feel compelled.

A year ago next week I had a right mastectomy for Lobular Breast Cancer. I had progressed through my adult life thinking that Breast Cancer was a disease that would happen to someone else. I took the pill for a limited time, I breast fed my son, I haven’t taken HRT. But of course the disease is less selective than that. If I were to believe everything I read, then my lifestyle – diet, weight and alcohol intake – are to blame. But since my cancer was hormone dependent, it is surely more complex than that.

Early detection

In the UK mammograms are offered every 3 years to women over 50 as well as annually to those who have a previous history. However, many breast cancers aren’t detectable, mine wasn’t and nor are many of those found by younger women. Nor, unfortunately is an ultrasound conclusive, so if you find a lump it will have to be biopsied. 

That means you need to spend time regularly feeling your own breasts, which I know isn’t a particular problem to many people. Certainly not to me. What’s more, your partner (if you have one) can help. Finding something unusual is only possible if you know what is normal. And if you discover something – lumps, bumps, a discharge from your nipple – then see your doctor.

Stupidly I was too scared, too blasé that it was nothing and too busy with work and moving to a new house to go to the doctor as soon as I should. I’ve been told it probably made no difference but seeing someone sooner might have resulted in a lumpectomy. Not mastectomy. So, my advice is to check your breasts regularly and use Tabitha’s vlog to help you.

Being Open

There are still people out there who don’t know I have had breast cancer. By that I mean some family and friends I haven’t seen in a while. Also those I’d rather didn’t know. But that number is small and shrinking.

At the time of my diagnosis I was anxious about having to give bad news to people. I found it upsetting to have to say the words: I have breast cancer. My natural instinct is to try to caveat bad news with positivity and it’s wrong to do that when you just don’t know. Also I didn’t want to be the subject of some people’s gossip, not that that didn’t happen. Friends and family of people I told later came up at social events to ask how I was and commiserate with me. But I guess that is human nature.

But what is very clear is that you can’t manage a cancer diagnosis alone. There are so many doctors appointments and decisions to be made. Although the medical and nursing staff provided their opinion of what I should do, ultimately it was my body. I consider myself the property of my Master, but these were decisions we had to take together. And ultimately I signed the consent form for my mastectomy, I underwent the numerous scans and X-rays and I had the thing done.

Helping others

This blog is the one place I have been able to express myself fully (other than with Master). Sometimes I have done so here as a rehearsal for discussions with others. Friends and fellow bloggers accompanied me on my journey, many of you who will probably read this post. But also others have contacted me through my blog and I hope this will continue to happen.

A breast cancer diagnosis is horrible. Indeed the uncertainty of finding a lump or being recalled from a mammogram is no fun either. So if my willingness to share my thoughts and feelings helps others then all this is worth it. And if I can link to others who are willing to promote breast cancer awareness to their fellow humans with breasts then we can break down the stigma that cancer still holds for many people.

Examine your breasts, seek help if anything is amiss and don’t keep your worries to yourself.

All of my breast cancer links can be found here.