Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 27

up being ourselves ( " Maybe I should have
eaten organic/exercised more/skipped college
keggers/stayed away from hormonal birth
control/fill-in-the-blank... " ). Coming to the
understanding that sometimes blame cannot
be placed gives us a pathway to move beyond
negativity. Give yourself a chance to realize
that it's not your fault.
9. RECOGNIZE CHANGE AS A
PART OF LIFE

It's true that cancer changes us, but isn't it
also true that we would be changing even
without that diagnosis? We've been growing and aging since we were born, and our
life experiences will continue to transform
us in mind, body and soul. Finding value in
the ways that change breeds discovery and
growth can help us renew our sense of who
we are, what we stand for, and how we wish to
move through this world. Our bodies adapt
to help us accomplish new things every day.
Honoring this remarkable ability to change
and thrive in the face of adversity is just one
of the ways we can find pride in who we are,
and who we are becoming.
10. HAVE PATIENCE AND
PERSEVERANCE

We are only given one body, and we have the
power to choose to accept it for what it is,
with all its quirks and limitations (remember,
we all have them!). Taking care of ourselves
includes making the deliberate decision
to nurture a healthy relationship with the
person we see in the mirror every morning.
In the words of the unapologetically-original Lady Gaga, there's nothing wrong with
loving who you are...
So, own it! l

GETTING PHYSICAL 
If you are dating someone new, you
may be wondering how to bring up
some of the body changes that
you've experienced with cancer.
It can be helpful to acknowledge
anything noticeably different
about your physical appearance
right off that bat. Alopecia (hair
loss), visible scars, the presence
of a central line (PICC line or
infusaport), and lymphedema are a
few examples.  Stick with the basics
and be honest.  Using humor helps! 
Showing that you're ok talking about it
will help them feel comfortable, too.  
On the other hand, some physical
changes aren't as immediately
noticeable, like the loss of a testicle
or breast, a scar usually hidden by
clothing, or the presence of an ostomy.  This can make the idea of getting
physical especially nerve-wracking,
since it means having to figure out
how to provide an explanation at a
time when you're already feeling a
little exposed.  If you think things are
moving in that direction, consider
bringing it up before you're in a
clothes-coming-off situation.  You
might also offer to show them what
you are talking about.  This will temper
the element of surprise, and it can
help both of you gauge how you feel
about it before you're in the heat of
the moment. 
Further still, there are some things
that your partner wouldn't know at all,
unless you told them.  Trouble with fatigue, muscle and joint aches, chronic
pain and positioning problems are
some common examples.  Also,
changes in how your body functions
sexually, such as changes with
ejaculation, or the need for personal
lubricant due to vaginal dryness, may
require some head's-up.  Explaining
the what and the why of things can
make them less intimidating to your
partner, and offering ideas on how
activities may need to be altered (if
any) for success can help put your
partner at ease.
Remember, you are an awesome
catch! It's ok to take things slowly,
but don't let fears or doubts get in
the way of finding and enjoying the
physical and emotional connections
you deserve.

M A R L OE E S C H, R N, B SN,
ONC OL O GY C E RT I F I E D
N U R SE O C N, A N D
YOU NG A DU LT C A NC E R
SU RV I VOR , GR A DUAT E D
F ROM T H E U N I V E R SI T Y
OF W IS C ONSI N  M A DIS ON
S C HO OL OF N U R SI NG
G O BA D GE R S! I N 2 0 0 8 .
SH E E N JOYS E DUC AT I NG
B OT H SU RV I VOR S
A N D H E A LT HC A R E
PROF E S SIONA L S ON
T H E TOPIC OF C A NC E R
A N D SE X UA L I T Y, A N D
H A S PR E SE N T E D FOR
T H E YOU NG SU RV I VA L
C OA L I T ION, T H E
ONC OL O GY N U R SI NG
S O C I E T Y, A N D PL A N N E D
PA R E N T HO OD OF W I,
A MONG OT H E R S . SH E
HOL DS A C E RT I F IC AT E
F ROM T H E SE X UA L
H E A LT H C E RT I F IC AT E
PRO GR A M T H ROUGH T H E
U N I V E R SI T Y OF M IC H IG A N
A N D IS C U R R E N T LY
PU R SU I NG H E R D O C TOR OF
N U R SI NG PR AC T IC E DN P
AT T H E U N I V E R SI T Y OF
W IS C ONSI N  M I LWAU K E E .
A N E N T H USI A S T IC
SU PP ORT E R OF SE X UA L
H E A LT H A N D W E L L N E S S ,
M A R L OE IS M A K I NG I T H E R
M IS SION TO BR I NG SE X
I N TO T H E SU RV I VOR SH I P
SP OT L IGH T.

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

27


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Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
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