I’m a breast cancer survivor and my boob exploded after surgery – but I still had great sex, and you can too


WHEN breast cancer survivor Louise Manson first got her diagnosis she knew one thing for sure – she wouldn’t let it affect her sex life.

Now, a decade on, the 54-year-old has written a taboo-busting book all about sex and the Big C.

Louise Manson has shared her story

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Louise Manson has shared her storyCredit: Courtesy @breastcancerandsex

Mum-of-two Louise from Truro, Cornwall, even argues that orgasms and sex can help you recover faster – and claims that it was the key to her recovery.

But it wasn’t an easy journey.

Louise had a double mastectomy and reconstruction as part of her treatment – but suffered a devastating hematoma that made her breast ‘explode’.

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Louise, a former journalist, says: ” I found out I had breast cancer in 2011 and had seven breast cancer tumours removed before my double mastectomy and reconstruction.

But rather than pulling on comfy PJ’s after my treatment, I picked out sexy lingerie planned some much needed adult time with my partner.

It was two and a half weeks after my surgery – doctors say you should wait at least two weeks before having sex – and I was proud of my new natural looking, tumour-free boobs.

I thought it was time I had some attention, showed them off and enjoyed an orgasm or two.

But just before we got down to it I felt a stabbing pain in my left breast.

It started growing bigger and bigger and I could see the stitches were straining so my partner called an ambulance.

That’s when I realised my boob was exploding – it looked like it had been in five rounds with Mike Tyson.

I was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a rare form of hematoma which is when a pool of blood collects under the skin and creates bad swelling and bruising.

I underwent emergency surgery,  the implant was removed and another one was put in.

My specialist surgeon told me I’d overdid it with housework after my mastectomy, causing the boob explosion. 

But once I’d recovered four weeks later, we got our sex life back on track.

Even when I was having chemo we were doing it.

Even when the hospital consultant uttered the dreaded words ‘you have breast cancer’ I was determined to keep having an active sex life

Louise Manson

When I asked other sufferers about sex, so many of them looked at me as if I had gone absolutely mad.

It was then I realised no one ever tells you about this and no one ever mentions sex or orgasms during breast or any cancer treatment.

My partner and I had always had a good sex life and I was determined that I was going to keep everything going in the bedroom while undergoing treatment.

Others said they couldn’t find information about sex and assumed it was off the cards completely during cancer treatment or felt uncomfortable if they asked about it.

I knew cancer might take my boobs but it wasn’t going to get my orgasms too!

THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX AND CANCER

When it comes to having sex after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or during treatment itself, there are several important things to consider. 

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, several people experience a huge shift in their sex drive during this turbulent time. But if you feel up to having sex “it is usually safe to do so.” 

However, it is important to point out there are some instances when you will need to make some changes to your sex life. In this scenario, your healthcare team will let you know, but they include: 

If you have had surgery or radiotherapy treatment to the pelvic area, your body may need time to heal properly ahead of vaginal or anal penetration. 

If you have received a type of internal radiotherapy called seed brachytherapy or radioisotope therapy, you may be asked to refrain from physical contact for a short while.

If you have experienced a high-dose of chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant, you will be told to refrain from sex for a certain amount of time to protect you from infection.

There are also several other instances that could affect your sex life, including changes to your body brought on by a specific treatment. 

Macmillan assures people going through treatment that the changes are “temporary and usually get better after treatment.” 

Yet in some cases “people might have to adjust to changes that last longer or that may be permanent.” 

Speak to your GP, cancer doctor, specialist nurse, or your local sexual health service with any concerns or questions.

For further information, visit: macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/impacts-of-cancer/sex-and-cancer

I was determined to prove them all wrong after realising that sex and orgasms during chemotherapy were some of the most important parts of my recovery.

When women experience an orgasm, the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear and anxiety slows down. 

Oxytocin more commonly called the love hormone is then released and immediately the body can better regulate emotions and deepen bonds with loved ones.

When you’re having treatment or surgery for cancer, every moment of the day is filled with fear, and I was determined to change that.

I discovered from research and my own cancer recovery a woman’s pain tolerance increases when she orgasms.

No one ever mentions sex or orgasms during breast or any cancer treatment

Louise Manson

Research shows a woman’s ability to withstand pain increased by 75 per cent during stimulation. 

I believe my orgasms helped me recover from my breast reconstructions and the surgery to repair my exploded boob.

As part of my campaign to raise money for beast cancer charities and educate people about sex and breast cancer I wrote a book – All About Boobs – A User’s guide to Breast Cancer and Sex.

It’s a world’s first hybrid book and is a sexy Jilly Cooper style breast cancer novel and a non- fiction tips section about sex and cancer.

Proceeds will go to breast cancer charities including the NHS Mermaid Centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro which saved my life.

I discovered orgasms, which relieved all kinds of pain especially after surgery

Louise Manson

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My last piece of advice –  check your boobs regularly, it doesn’t have to be scary.

Remember to feel yourself….literally!

LOUISE’S TIPS FOR HAVING AN AMAZING SEX LIFE DURING CANCER TREATMENT

There are of course a few things to bear in mind if you are a cancer patient.

If you’re actively having chemotherapy use a condom for a while after a treatment. The chemicals pumped into you during chemo can be absorbed by your partner during sex.

 Ensure you have a good lubricant  because the  cancer drugs mean you need more  help down below.

 Even if you have a partner, invest in a good vibrator and make it your best friend during cancer treatment. 

I did and it helped me feel like a woman and that my identity has not been destroyed by cancer.

Talk to your partner about sex and plan date nights. Keep telling them what’s happening to your body. That’s critical! 

You must invest in some post -surgery sexy underwear that makes  you feel and look sexy.

Your body shape may change so  don’t be afraid to try new looks.

Ask your partner to take things slow and remember you may not swing from the chandeliers but don’t be afraid to show off your new body after cancer surgery.

It’s scary but if you communicate with your partner, you can rebuild your confidence together.

It might be harder to reach orgasm but don’t be put off if the first few times you don’t get the result you need. Your body is dealing with the stress and strain of cancer but orgasms will aid recovery.

All About Boobs – A User’s guide to Breast Cancer and Sex eBook : Manson, Louise: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Louise was determined to keep her sex life the way it was before her diagnosis

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Louise was determined to keep her sex life the way it was before her diagnosisCredit: Courtesy @breastcancerandsex
She's since released a book saying how others can do it too

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She’s since released a book saying how others can do it tooCredit: Courtesy @breastcancerandsex





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