Just Jan: Why Did Nobody Tell Us?

Many of the women I serve call me “Mama Bear.” Because I sometimes just get RILED UP about how my Baby Bears are being treated. This is one of those times.


I have been serving the breast cancer community since 2012, and almost every day, I STILL learn something new about how we could have come through treatment in better shape than we did—if only we had been told. And I am PISSED OFF.

Why did nobody tell us?

Yes, I understand the oncology community is dedicated to getting rid of the cancer. And I’m grateful. I know they’re busy keeping us alive. But here’s the reality: The gaping unseen wounds left in each one of us after treatment didn’t have to happen.

Why did nobody tell us?

Let’s focus on our sexual health and how treatment, on top of either natural or medically induced menopause, impacts our intimate lives.

Wait. That’s the nice way of saying it.

Let me get real.

Let’s focus on how breast cancer STEALS our sexuality. How intercourse can feel like you’re being raped by a handful of glass shards. How treatment and medications can cause your libido to disappear—totally. How the battle scars of breast cancer surgery can cause you to feel insecure to show your partner your body. How your self-confidence is shattered because you don’t recognize yourself when you look in the mirror.

Why did nobody tell us?

We currently have an amazing team of Contributing Experts who are committed to sharing their knowledge and expertise with our women to help them heal their unseen wounds. They’re furiously working to help us put the pieces of our lives back together again—after the fact.

Why did nobody tell us?

Why did nobody tell us that the precipitous drop in estrogen in our bodies would cause the vaginal tissue to thin to the extent that it might tear just when being wiped with toilet paper? Then think about what having sex might do to that vaginal tissue. It’s not good.

Why did nobody tell us that if we started moisturizing our vaginal tissue with products like hyaluronic acid when treatment started that we could mitigate the damage treatment would have on our vaginas?

Why did nobody tell us what to expect so we could warn our partners what was coming? Instead, the impact of treatment on our sex lives snuck up on BOTH of us, and we’re left to trying to pick up the pieces. Relationships that were already struggling can be devastated, and families are being torn apart because nobody told us.

Why did nobody tell us about pelvic floor therapy? Our Contributing Experts have taught us that the pelvic floor muscles impact our bladder, bowel, balance, and sex. Having urinary leakage? Constipation issues? Balance/posture issues? Painful intercourse? Pelvic pain? See a pelvic floor therapist. Who knew?

Why did nobody tell us?

The oncology community needs to be overhauled to include post-treatment care. And more importantly, they MUST do a better job in TELLING US what to expect.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Why did nobody tell us?

Shared with love by Jan James, Hope After Breast Cancer

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