Behind most products, is a personal story of discovery and invention, overcoming obstacles, and believing in a vision with a determination to make a dream reality. Erosscia is Steffan’s & my shared vision (read our story here) and real-life dream. As October is breast cancer awareness month, I decided to share my story with our Erosscia community. After all, no one just decides to create a luxury vibrator that attaches to an electric toothbrush for the heck of it!
As individuals, a cancer diagnosis and our personal response to it is a uniquely defining moment. All I can describe about mine was that for a brief moment–probably only minutes in reality–but to me, an eternity, my awareness of time slowed down to such a calm place. I wasn’t sure how to rouse myself out of it. In that defining moment, it is my belief that the majority of us decide what we are going to do about what we have just been told. Regardless of any further information, and irrelevant of any more procedures or biopsies, I knew I was going to fight.
However, this article is not about my specific cancer per se–if you want to read my medical story it lives here. Instead, this article is intended as inspiration for anyone who, like myself, finds themselves with a cancer diagnosis yet fundamentally knows there is so much more life to live. In short–this is my story on how to fight back.
For many cancer is a wake-up call. It’s a shocking and painful way to realize that your life has just taken a very aggressive turn for the worse and all those things you thought you would have time to do are now suddenly at risk. For many others, including myself, it’s an accelerator to push harder for goals that you have not fully achieved yet.
When I was diagnosed we had already been working hard on Erosscia for 3 years in what spare time we could carve away from our corporate jobs. In order to grow Erosscia to a massive scale, we had literally just made the decision that Steffan should focus 100% on Erosscia while I continued with my corporate job. All I could see was that after three years of challenging innovation, we were closer than we had ever been to bringing our unique product to market, and I wasn’t about to let that slip away. We decided that despite the diagnosis Erosscia was absolutely worth fighting for along with my health.
So, Steffan threw himself into working on product development and being at my side through all the chemo and radiation, and I threw myself into doing everything I could to get better and stay working. Deciding that Erosscia was what we were fighting for together just fueled our determination to move past cancer and onward with our lives.
As anyone who has had even a serious breast cancer scare can tell you, breast biopsies can leave a noticeable scar or divot in the breast. This is often one of the first times it can feel like you are losing an important sexual and sensual part of yourself. Obviously, sex and intimacy can take a hit when undergoing breast cancer treatment. With the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, it is hard to even want to have sex.
Eventually, I chose to undergo a partial mastectomy to remove the cancer once and for all. This was not an easy decision, but I ultimately knew that I wanted to continue to live a full life. The mindset to not give up and find the strength to overcome the everyday health challenges was not easy.
Whatever your particular circumstances are, mindset is everything. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, scared, or even angry that you have cancer at the beginning. But you cannot stay in that state if you want to beat this illness – you need an “I can do this” mindset to overcome the everyday health challenges and still move forward with your life.
I was sitting in the hospital library between appointments early on in my treatment and I saw this powerful article featuring Holly Rowe and this equally powerful book Radical Remission by Dr. Kelly Turner. These materials were the turning point in how I conditioned my attitude and mindset toward my cancer and strongly influenced how I recovered for the better.
Without a doubt, any cancer patient has more resources today than even five years ago, and I am not recommending shortcuts to any treatment plan your oncologist decides is in your best interest. What I am recommending, however, is that you need to put eastern medicine in your toolkit so you can battle the side effects of your chemo and allow you to keep focused on what you are fighting for. I was fortunate enough to be referred to the highly accredited Michael Broffman at Pine Street Clinic.
Michael designed a protocol for me that transitioned through each week of my Chemo cycles with the two-sided goal being 1. Not to interfere with any of my oncologist’s treatment plans and 2. To help me with the side effects of the Chemo. I attribute much of my current personal and spiritual growth to what I learned about myself during this time and to this day I still follow a protocol from Michael to keep me healing and recovering, along with my ongoing oncology medications.
This combination of Western and Eastern medicine ultimately brought me to where I am today. It also inspired much of the philosophy behind Erosscia. We did not want to build a sex toy purely for pleasure, but one that used science to offer the best orgasms and even some medical benefits.
Thus, using body safe silicone to create our high-tech vibrators and attach them to the head of a toothbrush calibrated to offer the most pleasantly stimulating sensations helped us fulfill this goal. Not only is it a g-spot vibrator, but one that can be used anywhere on the body for sexual pleasure or simply as a massager to help alleviate tension and stress.
Reconstructive Surgery & Rediscovering Sexuality
After the mastectomy surgery, it was difficult to find the same sensuality I did before the cancer. Not only did the treatment drugs completely ruin libido, but it is difficult to feel sexy when your hair is growing back, your clothes do not fit well due to losing one breast, and your self-image is completely diminished. Of course, this will not be the same for everyone, but it is common for those suffering from breast cancer (or any major illness) to have problems feeling sexy during and after treatment.
Ultimately, the answer for me was reconstructive surgery. This gave me back breasts I could love again and helped clothes fit better. Others may find solace in solo sexuality through the use of sex toys and that is exactly why my drive and passion for Erosscia increased following breast cancer treatment.
Tips For Rediscovering Sexuality After Breast Cancer
#1: Take Your Time
Even once you are considered cured, it is normal not to feel like jumping into bed immediately. The drugs used to treat cancer absolutely affect your sex drive and it will not come back immediately. Give yourself the grace to simply wait and explore sexuality in new ways, on your own and with a partner.
#2: Do Whatever Makes You Feel Most Confident
Whether it’s wearing a different wig every day or embracing the baldness, whatever makes you feel the most confident and sexy is absolutely the right thing to do. There is no one way to rediscover your sexuality after breast cancer or mastectomy. What worked for me or for others, may not be the right approach for you.
Reconstructive surgery can be absolutely lifechanging for both your own self image and your sexuality. The breasts are inherently feminine and many women take great pride in them. When that is lost, finding this confidence and femininity is difficult. Reconstructive surgery to restore the appearance of breasts is not the only option. Many people get tattoos to cover their mastectomy scars or find other things that make them feel sexy and beautiful again.
#3: Start Slow
Once you are ready, it is often best to start slow when getting back into having sex again. Toys can help with this such as Erosscia which is thinner than many other dildoes available. It can also be used completely externally to work yourself up to penetration again. There is no shame in pleasuring yourself until you are ready.
#4: It’s More Than Physical
Rediscovering your sexuality after mastectomy or breast cancer treatment is not purely a physical process. It is largely a mental, emotional, and spiritual journey that may take you surprising places. Meditation, therapy, prayer, strengthening bonds with your partner and loved ones, and however else you may take care of yourself mentally and spiritually are amazing ways to working towards once again find confidence and pleasure in your sexuality.