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[cancer] More sex, and other mysteries - Lakeshore
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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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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2009-12-28 05:45 (UTC)
Subject: Re: In my capacity as Condom Lady
Probably good advice, but I suspect the microwavable vs. non-microwavable bit is irrelevant. Laura Stewart (Master of Public Health) puts it this way:
When dental dams were first re-purposed from the dentist's office by enterprising sex educators, there was indeed a brand of plastic wrap that was marketed as "microwavable" and that actually had visible perforations in it to allow steam to escape while food was cooking. Nowadays, plastic wrap that is labeled as microwavable is designed to withstand high heat and not melt if it comes into contact with hot food, but it is not any more porous than other plastic wrap. Most people probably don't even remember the perforated kind, but everyone's afraid to stop putting in that caveat about avoiding microwavable wrap in case they're wrong.
She also mentions that only one brand, Glyde, has actually been tested for efficacy.

I did the Condom Commando thing for a while, an outreach from the HIV prevention community to the local swinger's groups. I was not surprised to learn, ten years on, that the swinger's community in Seattle is still "not all that concerned" with STDs.
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