One For the Team
Grace Lombardo was diagnosed with stage 2a breast cancer at age 35 in 2016. She was living with her husband, three kids ages 7, 5 and 2 and their two dogs in the suburbs of Chicago. Since diagnosis, Grace has started a successful blog, #Grancer, which is Grace + Cancer = celebrity name. Grace is also the subject of an award-winning documentary short titled GRACE about life immediately after cancer treatment ends. Grace enjoys public speaking on the lesser discussed topics related to breast cancer, collaborating with diverse partners in the breast cancer community and she always keeps it real and often even funny.
This post will discuss the following topics: marijuana and vaginas. If you are not ready for that jelly, please stop reading now. I'm talking to you, in-laws.
The lengths I will go to for you all: Writing this post may kill me, but as an intrepid reporter from the front lines of all things breast cancer, I feel I must disclose the following information. Trust that I am schvitzing as I write this.
The drug I have to take for a decade, Tamoxifen, turns off your estrogen and progesterone, thus creating a barren wasteland down in the lady bits, among many other cute side effects.
Now, the barren wasteland of the nether region is a problem for a multitude of reasons.
It is no good for your tissue to lack lubrication over time. Your vagina can legit atrophy. You heard me.
The dryness can create a great deal of discomfort and ultimately pain or even infection.
Without the two main female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, coursing through your veins, your brain lacks the desire for intimacy.
Add these together and you have a fun peri-menopausal parfait of vaginal despair.
I asked my integrative doctor, who is an MD and a naturopath, for some advice on how to work on this lil conundrum and she responded with something I did not expect.
"Do you still have your medicinal marijuana license?"
She starts typing away on her computer and within seconds turns the screen to me and my mind went blank. Doctorsaywhat?
She tells me that there is good research showing that cannabis suppositories for both the vagina and rectum reduce pelvic pain significantly, although short term. It is being used for severe menstrual cramps, sciatic pain and other pelvic pain related issues.
She went on to tell me that there is emerging research supporting the use of vaginal cannabis suppositories to promote sexual desire and pleasure.
Now, I am a WASP at heart, so I am dying inside hearing this. You want me to put what where and for what purpose now?
I am nothing if not curious, so I went to my friendly dispensary and bought myself some weed suppositories. Of course I had to be helped by a cute young guy who asked if I have used them before for pelvic pain to which I replied, "Uh yeah I mean not really, I mean it's not exactly for pain, but I mean it might be, I HAD CANCER." I can be so spectacularly awkward.
The suppositories sat in the back of my closet for weeks. I was too embarrassed to even admit I owned them let alone use one.
I went on to the Young Survivors Coalition chat boards to ask if anyone had tried them before for, um, intimacy boosting. No one had, but I had created a firestorm of interest and lots of women asking me to try it and report back.
It was time to take one for the team.
I clumsily unwrapped the little bullet of cocoa butter and weed and put it where the sun don't shine. The instructions said to lay down for 15 minutes. Don't have to ask me twice.
Within 10 minutes I started to feel a tingling sensation in my whole pelvic area. Nothing too intense, just a shift. Then the area started to feel sort of warm and "activated." It was like the whole region was totally heightened, but also sort of missing.
Within an hour, my mind was feeling it a bit, too. I felt like I was walking on legs that weren't exactly attached to my torso.
I am just too prude to get into details of what happened later that night, but my empirical evidence would suggest that the experiment was justified.
This is some real outside the box (OH SNAP) science, but when the box is actually a desolate, arid garbage dump, sometimes you have to seek alternative therapies.
I did this for you, other breast cancer survivors. Allow me to shepherd you into the hinterlands of holistic care options. Maybe these cute little suppositories (BARF) can be a small oasis in our desert decade of peri-menopause?