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.

Fear

The Erotic Journal Challenge for October is Fear. I love that Brigit has gone for a month long theme and hope it is something she will continue. I love to join in with memes but struggle with my originality and often feel I am repeating myself. For this one though I may well post a couple (or more) essays on my thoughts about my fears. Brigit has helpfully posed a few questions and this is the first one:

What are your sexual fears / insecurities?

Body image

I guess most of my sexual fears relate to my body and insecurities about it. I currently weight the most I have pretty much ever. I want to lose weight and am trying. But so far this year I have failed spectacularly in doing so. This massively affects my self image and I struggle to see why I might be attractive to another person. I also know that I am less fit than I could be so not very agile.

Finally of course there is the small matter of only having one tit. This is most evident (unsurprisingly) when I am naked. A by product of having had cancer are the hormone inhibiting tablets I take, which have side effects of weight gain and joint pain. The latter for me is more of a stiffness, which makes getting up from the floor for example a challenge.

Performance

We have had our fair share of sexual performance issues over the years. I am always fearful that another is around the corner. I am not so young and agile, I am overweight and taking hormone inhibiters. What if my vaginal juices dry up, what if I can’t get into a particular position, what if I can’t orgasm? From time to time all of the above have happened, though each has been a passing phase. There was also a period of time when my body seemed to go into spasm when he pushed his cock into me, causing pain. This lasted a little longer, but also passed. However I am always worried the problem will return.

I worry that Master will no longer fancy me, that my body will not satisfy his needs. Or that I will begin to push him away as I did my husband. So far this has only happened if I am tired or emotional, but the fear is always there. What’s more, he says he fancies me more than ever, that he wants and needs me.

Getting over our fears

I haven’t arrived at the age of 57 without learning to be realistic. That my body, that both of our bodies are ageing. We have learned to pace ourselves and know when sex is best for us. He is also good at listening to my troubles and woes and mostly dealing with them effectively. Unsurprisingly he is usually right. There is really no reason to believe we will go off of each other. More likely we are going to grow old disgracefully together. But that doesn’t completely stop the fears from emerging nor does it prevent me from getting carried away with my negative thoughts.

But I will plough on with trying to improve my image of myself – try to lose some weight, try to get fitter. These will be especially important as I prepare for my reconstruction surgery. Then hopefully I can look in the mirror and like myself just that little bit more and feel like the sexually attractive woman he says I am. Then maybe those fears will go.

Being pierced

My left breast with a small bite to the left of the nipple. I have a piercing with a semi circular ring in situ. the colour contrast between the area of my chest that has seen the sun and that which has been in my bra are marked. The sun is also shining on the paler area.

We had been together just a matter of weeks when I became a pierced woman. I’d had my ears pierced as a teenager, but body piercings weren’t something I had considered until I was in my 50s.

S had first broached the idea and I have to say I was tempted. But since he wasn’t as committed to our relationship as me, I’m glad that didn’t happen. But when Master suggested nipple and clit piercings to me, I jumped at the chance. To this day, I don’t even know why I was so keen.

Sign of my submission

Or maybe being pierced was something that felt part of my submission. An intimate way of showing him I wanted to be his submissive. It felt right and since he came with me when I had them done, I knew he was serious. I wrote about the experience here, at the time.

Since that time we have discussed the links between my piercings and role as his submissive and slave. Certainly they have been a focus of his attention over the years. That I was willing to do that for him and that he could enjoy them so much.

An aid to pleasure

I always loved having my nipples played with. Also, I loved (and hate) having clamps applied. To begin with, the slight pain following piercing was a turn on in itself. Later once they began to heal I enjoyed trying new jewellery and he loved putting chains between them.

The clit piercing was and still is quite the arousal tool. He loves rubbing his finger, tongue or cock over it. I also like to rub around the bar when I get myself off. Also if I wear something tight I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t take much wriggling to be able to come through my clothes.

It is in a mighty fiddly place though. I can only see it with a mirror and we had the devils job undoing the balls on the bar. So much so that I left it in place till I had surgery last October (4 years). We replaced the metal with a plastic bar which is there now. I have plans to change it and Master has bought me a new jewelled bar. But we are lazy and maybe it won’t be done till after my next surgery.

My one nipple

The histology report on my mastectomy said that the right nipple was chronically inflamed. I have to admit that the piercing continued to weep and crust even after 4 years. The left was always better, especially once I’d had it re-pierced in Amsterdam.

Now of course I have one breast, one nipple and one piercing. The pleasure I used to have when my breast and nipple were stroked and caressed is not so evident. I know this is psychological and hopefully it will subside. Maybe once I have two breasts again, I will take more pleasure in nipple play again. Mean time, I still wear my jewellery and like the way it looks.

Instead of dwelling on this, we are looking forward to new piercings once surgery is done.

Future piercings

We’ve talked for a long time about me getting my inner labia pierced. I’ve written about it and would love it I know. Along with the tattoos we have planned that is the next step. I will need my new breast tattooing with a nipple and I will be looking for someone experienced in that area. At the same time, I hope to get the piercings done too.

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

The disappearing orgasms

Early on in our relationship I wrote about the importance Master placed on giving me pleasure. That he loved me to orgasm and to orgasm a lot. While my orgasms have belonged to him from day one and I have always had to ask permission, they have not been in short supply. Until this year that is.

Our sex life hasn’t really been affected by my breast cancer and treatment. I guess that is partly because we have made a particular effort to have sex. We have made the time which luckily hasn’t been a problem. He is a considerate lover, not shy of putting my needs first. Though the nature of our relationship means that sex often begins with him wanting to take possession of me and of my holes. Foreplay has become less of an issue as I am often eager for him to push his cock in (usually) my vagina. My focus then is on whether I can easily accommodate him and then on giving him pleasure.

The tablets I take to stop production of oestrogen have caused something of a second menopause. But thankfully while I experience hot flushes and a few aches and pains, I haven’t suffered from vaginal dryness. This has been something of a relief and has made me all the more keen to feel him inside me. I get seriously aroused by his excitement and am often pretty wet as he pushes his cock in. But for some reason I have become less worried about whether I orgasm at all. Once or twice I have definitely had G-spot orgasms but the powerful clitoral ones I so enjoy have been elusive.

Sometimes recently Master has asked if I want to orgasm, even when he is rubbing my clitoris and to be honest I have been at best undecided. Previously he could demand I orgasm and miraculously I would, that no longer seems possible.

I suspect the tablets are to blame.

Master has now decided that he wants me to orgasm and once he raised the issue, I realised that it is something I want too. After all who in my position would actually choose not to if offered the chance.

This week, I have had two. Both while his cock has been deep inside my vagina. Each time he has used a vibrator of some kind to give direct stimulation to my clitoris.. And having been seriously rocked by one particular long and powerful explosion a couple of mornings ago, I definitely want more.

I’m hoping that this is the start of something good. Further work and attention is definitely needed!