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[cancer] More sex, and other mysteries - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-12-23 18:32
Subject: [cancer] More sex, and other mysteries
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, health, personal, religion, sex
Just spoke to the chemo nurse. I have been advised that due to me being on 5-FU (Fluorouracil), condoms are absolutely required for any relevant sexual act during chemo and for three months afterward. The drugs involved are too disruptive to risk passing on to my sex partners via my ejaculate. Also due to my immunocompromised status, I cannot perform oral sex without a dental dam, as the consequences of me contracting a bacterial infection are severe. This is not surprising, but it does not please me.

In other news, thanks to a prompting from a friend of calendula_witch, I queried about EMLA, an anaesthetic cream that's applied to the skin above the chest port an hour or so prior to the needle being set. The nurse said, "Well, that's a good idea. It will cut down quite a bit on your incidental pain." Which made me wonder why they didn't prescribe it proactively. She also indicated that I can continue physical therapy while under chemo, with no particular cautions. So my shoulder will progress further.

In other news, I'm mulling a post on cancer, stress and my atheism. It seems to need to be discussed — even my clinic is advising me to support my spiritual side through my faith, which seems to considerably privilege religious belief. I'm not planning to make an issue of it there, not at all, just wanting to answer the implied question, which was explicitly voiced by an acquaintance who recently commented, "I just don't understand how you can do this without faith in God."

That definitely deserves a thoughtful response.

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brent_kellmer
User: brent_kellmer
Date: 2009-12-24 03:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think that they probably advise people to turn toward their faith because for many people, their religion is a form of comfort, a way of accepting what is happening to them. (It's not true of everyone of course). But it seems to me that you've got quite a bit of faith, even if it's not based in religion. You've got faith in your family, your friends, who you are. Sure, at a time like this some shaking of that faith is inevitable -- you've spoken before of your concern about being able to continue writing, continuing to be who you are. But you still have faith in your friends and your family, faith in your relationships, and I think that is every bit as strong as faith in some generic deity out there. And frankly, rather healthier, as your faith is based in something you can see and hear and touch.
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