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"The Vagina Monologues"

With the recent outrage over the word vagina, I thought I would share how “The Vagina Monologues” helped me in relation to my ovarian cancer.

It all starts in the fall of 2010, I was a once again college student and some how was reminded of some friends being in “The Vagina Monologues”. I didn’t know much about it, so I did some research, and learned that in November my school was having tryouts. From there I tried out and got a role in two of the monologues.

While meeting amazing women, and an even more amazing project created by Eve Ensler, I became less and less intimidated by my vagina. I began to love myself, actually all of my self and chip away at the taboo I was raised to have towards my vagina. Being in the monologues helped my get in touch with my self, and actually start listening to my body.

If I hadn’t been in “The Vagina Monologues” I would have never thought too much about the pain I started to feel a couple of days after the show had performed. I would have ignored my body, and probably waited even longer than I ended up doing.

Also thanks to the monologues, I wasn’t ashamed of my vagina, I loved my vagina and wanted to take care of it. I wasn’t too scared when I had my first exam, because I would think of “My Vagina’s Angry” and laugh to myself.

The following year, I went and saw the production at my school, since I finished treatment I was still recovering from chemo and not in school I wasn’t able to participate, but I was determined to see the performance. And it was even more meaningful, moving and beautiful. Especially listening to the monologue about the woman from New York who never talked about her “down there”, because at one point she breaks down and says:

I DON'T HAVE THOSE DREAMS ANYMORE, NO.
NOT SINCE THEY TOO K JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING
CONNECTED WITH DOWN THERE.
MOVED OUT THE TUBES, THE UTERUS, THE WHOLE WORKS.
MY DOCTOR THINKS HE'S A REAL COMEDIAN.
HE TELLS ME, "YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT".
BUT, REALLY,
IT WAS CANCER.
THE WHOLE THING HAD TO GO.
HIGHLY OVERRATED ANYWAY, RIGHT ?

I was so moved, it was beautiful, just as all of the monologues is beautiful. Eve Ensler is a writing genius when it came to such a touchy subject. And I hope to be apart of this amazing work again this coming Valentine’s Day weekend.

So that is how “The Vagina Monologues” have made a difference in my life. And I wish Eve all the best as she reads “The Vagina Monologues” in front of the Michigan Capitol.

A wonderful photo montage by a cast member

Advice from someone with cancer

I don’t have all the answers to living with cancer, nor do I really know a lot about cancer, other than what I have learned. But I want to share some of the things I have learned in the 11 months I have had with cancer.

1. Get a Port, this small device is a God send. Getting chemo weekly meant I would have to get poked twice a week, having a port made it much easier, not to mention I could numb my skin to make it hurt less. And as I learned from my aunt the nurse getting chemo weakens your veins and how bad would it be if you were getting chemo in a vein and the vein burst, then chemo is all over your body and not just in the blood stream.

2. Look into support groups, being able to meet other people with cancer, especially with the type you have, gives you support, hope, and people to talk to with a common interest. I have been so inspired by other survivors, they are the ones who have really helped me on the see hope when I needed. Nothing hopeful as meeting a 14 year survivor.

3. Have Fun! Cancer doesn’t have to be depressing, it can be a blast. One way I did this was by getting bunny slippers that I wore during my infusions. This made me laugh, and I hope it brightened the days of other patients and the staff.

4. Don’t be afraid to speak up, I was able to feel pretty good during chemo, because I was made sure my doctor knew what side effects I was happening. Having nausea the changed up my meds, heartburn take an antacid. Have tingling in your toes tell them.

5. Take time to live “cancer free”. For me I needed to take “breaks” from having cancer. That usually happened when I went to visit friends. I would get to be a 22 year old, and not this sad young woman with cancer. In a couple of weeks I am going to Washington D.C. and I have already decided this is a cancer free trip. This way I hope others will be able to enjoy the trip and I will be able to have fun. If I need to rest, I will, but I won’t let cancer stop me.

I hope that this advice helps anyone looking for advice. I wish someone had told me these things at the beginning of my journey, that way I wouldn’t have to learn it as I go.

P.S. it is my 11 month anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer!

runny and babbit

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