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

Re-exploring anal sex

This week’s Erotic Journal Challenge is about exploration and experimentation. Rather than exploring a large and wide ranging topic, we have been asked to focus in on something small and specific. My topic is anal sex.

Why anal sex?

There was a time when we were enjoying lots of anal sex, but over time this has changed. It isn’t because we don’t like it, we do. But more that anal sex requires more time, both in preparation and execution. It can be more messy and it can be technically more challenging. So for those reasons we have stuck to oral and vaginal sex much more. But we are both very keen to rediscover our love of things anal.

What we will do over the next 30 days

I have two lovely butt plugs which are sitting in the cupboard, I’m not sure when they last came out. Let alone find their way inside me. So first thing has to be to start wearing them. Master has suggested twice a week on days beginning with T. He has bought some new lube, to try, something more specialist looking than the general stuff we buy.

We have been having lots more sex generally over the past few weeks and this feels like something we both want and need.

I’ll report back at the end of next month about how things have gone.

Loving and being in love

What is the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone?

There are many different types of love. Of a parent for a child, a child for a parent, of friends. Then there is the love felt between those physically and emotionally attracted to each other. Falling in love is something that seems to happen at the beginning of a relationship, though it is possible to fall in love more than once. Perhaps when something special happens or one or both parties face a particular challenge. That first flush of love, just as you are getting to know each other is a special time. One of investigation and discovery, a time when the seeds of trust and communication are planted.

To truly love someone you need to have trust in them and to feel that you can be yourself. You need to be able to let your guard slip and to know they will always have your back. Love needs to be unconditional, because we all make mistakes, need to show our vulnerable side.

I truly feel that my cancer diagnosis caused a re-evaluation of our relationship and the love we have for each other. The way Master coped, the emotions he showed and the way he has tried to support and protect me, made me fall in love with him all over again. I have loved him for most of the 5 years we have been together but maybe we aren’t always in love. But, life settled down and things became routine. Right now as we explore the next part of our life together I am sure I am in love with him and love him too.

How does these differences colour and effect the way you interact with that person?

Love between two (or more) people in a relationship becomes, over time, business as usual, as it were. Maybe that is the time when you can take each other for granted and bad habits can creep in. Don’t get me wrong, it is cosy, perhaps like an old sweater, but it can also lead to complacency. It is the job of the people in the relationship to make sure that element of surprise remains. Because having been in a long term relationship that turned stale you can never take love for granted.

Where sex is involved, does the emotional layer affect its quality?

You don’t have to love or be in love to have sex, but it certainly adds another layer. For us, being in a power exchange relationship love has helped us understand our own and each others body. We have learned to understand and meet each other’s needs and to make allowances when there are problems. I trust him to care for me and keep me safe, but also to push my perceived limits. Love makes us want to satisfy and please the other in a way that doesn’t happen in a casual relationship.

Where do lust and desire fit into this?

Lust is important in any relationship as it helps keep the spark going. But lust can also be mistaken for love. I am pretty sure that during my relationship with S, I was in lust rather than love. Because while devastated for about 2 weeks the first time he finished with me I pretty soon recovered. The second time, I walked away and found Master. The sex had been amazing but I realised I needed more from a relationship. Thankfully I have found it.

Being Celibate

During our marriage there were long periods of time when my husband and I abstained from sex. That is we abstained from sex with each other and sometimes I didn’t masturbate either. But were we celibate?

I had a baby and he had an affair

My husband was having an affair when I was pregnant. Of course I didn’t know at the time, else things might have turned out differently. In my 20’s I was less interested in sex than I might have been and I hadn’t even worked out how to masturbate. He strayed because I was a nurse working shifts and he saw an opportunity. But I was often tired and disinterested. Maybe I didn’t actually fancy him all that much.

At 29 I had a baby and he took up my time. Hubby didn’t often ask for sex and I wasn’t too bothered. Over the first couple of years of my son’s life I might have been celibate, to be honest it is difficult to remember. Gradually my body awoke and I wanted it to be satisfied. But until the affair ended he was getting something better with her. I got a vibrator and was no longer celibate. I just abstained from sex.

The less sex you have the less you need it

Orgasms from my rabbit were more satisfying than anything I got from my husband. sometimes I even used it when he had gone to sleep after he had come. He seemed oblivious to the needs of a woman despite the affair. However I found it difficult to forget that he had been with her. The less sex we had, the less it bothered me. There were years when we may have had sex 2 or 3 times.

At this time we were both masturbating, but not together. It is a wonder our relationship lasted anywhere near as long as it did, though we were friendly enough and rarely argued for much of it.

Could I abstain or be celibate now

I have had more sex in the past 5 years than in the rest of my adult life. There was also a period of time before that when I was having sex every 3-6 weeks. Both of these partners were far more experienced than my husband and they have a higher sex drive. I have learned to love and appreciate sex in its many forms and positions. I have discovered the joy of mutual masturbation, something I turned my nose up when married. Though this was mainly because we were rubbish at turning each other on. This is not the case with Master.

We are both in our late 50s now (he later than me), but there is no reason we can’t continue to have sex for as long as we want and are physically able. I don’t think I would willingly choose to abstain from something I enjoy so much.

We have often discussed the paucity of sex in my life before my 50th year and whether I regret anything. I don’t regret meeting, marrying and having a child with the man I loved at the time. I do regret hanging around quite so long when I knew I should get out. However, we make the best decisions we can at the time. What I have now makes up for everything and shows me that celibacy definitely isn’t for me.

There’s a video explaining the history and definition here

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

Things that made me laugh

Dealing with medical embarrassment

Over the past few months I have found myself in some strange but pretty serious situations. I have had to take my top off for doctors and other health professionals more times than most models do for a photographer in a whole career. Everyone is very professional and careful to protect privacy and dignity. But we do smile about it afterwards. G comes with me to appointments and even though they think he is my husband they are very careful that he doesn’t see my naked chest behind the curtain. Of course you should never take these things for granted, but it does amuse us.

In the waiting room

Over the past 3 weeks we have been making daily trips to the cancer hospital for radiotherapy treatment. It’s a reasonably big place with about 9 or 10 Linear Accelerators and most have their own little waiting area. The radiography teams are often running late, so you are sitting in close proximity to (often anxious) people for a while. During the first week, there was an abundance of people talking about their illnesses, not only their own but everyone they have ever known. Not so much funny as irritating, especially for G who has to spend longer listening.

Last Monday though we were waiting with a group of 3 women; daughter (the patient), her mother and a friend who had driven them. The conversation was about whether the mother and daughter who lived together should invest in amazon prime. There then ensued a conversation where all 3 called out films that could or could not be accessed on the service. A conversation about the chronological order and quality of the Alien films ensued. Plus the daughter wanted access to ‘christian’ music to listen to all day. I guess it is a measure of our daily lives right now that this was amusing. So much so that we have been talking about it all week. Especially when we were trying to find something to watch on Amazon Prime that was worth watching and at no extra cost.

Our own laugh filled viewing

We don’t watch much real time TV, mainly because we can’t find much to appeal. Recently we’ve been binge watching some old stuff. One from our youth that made us laugh was the Beiderbeck Trilogy – jazz, intrigue and comedy rolled into one. I never watched My Name is Earl when it was on TV, but we’ve been watching some episodes of that too.

At the cinema we saw the new Laurel and Hardy Biopic: Stan and Ollie which we really enjoyed. The bits when they were doing their act was like watching the real thing. It made us laugh out loud. It was serious and sad too, but the funny bits were real belly laugh moments. We rounded off with a couple of original films which added to the fun and laughter.

I pledge my commitment to blog for my mental health. I will write about mental health topics not only for myself but for others. I do this to destigmatize mental illness and to promote mental health awareness & education. I am a sex blogger for mental health. #sb4mh #bfmh #notalone #SexNotStigma