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[Cancer]

[cancer] More about sex

The oncology nurse called me back this afternoon. I asked her first about the changing sensations in my port implant. She believes that the tissue swelling has gone down enough for me to be aware of the device, and that the awareness will diminish as I become more accustomed to it. At the moment it feels as if someone left a Bic pen inside my right chest.

I also asked her my sex questions, since I’d gotten mixed or unclear answers before. Specifically:

  • How long do I need to use condoms after each infusion? Or should I use them continuously throughout the entire chemo cycle, and if so, for how long afterward? This is specifically to prevent transmission to my sex partners of my drugs or their decay products in my ejaculate.
  • Given that bacterial safety is a huge issue with the immunocompromisation side effects of chemo, is it safe for me to perform oral sex on a partner? She likewise raised the issue of me receiving oral sex, as bacterial transmission can also occur via that path.

The nurse was bemused but forthright. She apparently had not been asked these questions before. Most patients with my cancer profile are 20+ years older than me, and that generation apparently doesn’t ask, doesn’t tell. I told her I was a writer and had no shame.

We also discussed the possibility that chemo would depress my libido sufficiently that the issues might be moot. My libido, however, is infamously substantial and elastic, so I’d sure like to know the answers.

Unfortunately, no answers were forthcoming. She’s going to discuss drug half-lives with the oncological pharmacist, who apparently has charts and everything covering exactly these issues, and come back with guidance on fluid exchange. She’s going to talk to the staff doctors about the bacterial issues of the various forms of sexual intercourse. So, I look forward to an interesting call in a day or two.

Ah, the things we need to deal with. This was so much more interesting than my talk with my dentist.

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