May 04, 2023

Married Cancer Bitches


In my book, I write a lot about being single and jealous of what I called those “married cancer bitches.” I also talk about now being one of them. Cathy Bueti is the author of Breastless in the City, a breast cancer memoir that focuses almost exclusively on dating and love. It hits the shelves tomorrow, so I thought I’d ask her about what it is like to write a whole book about cancer, romance, and intimacy:

What was the most satisfying part of writing Breastless in the City? What was the hardest part? The most satisfying part was knowing the potential my story had to help others. The hardest part was digging up all the emotional stuff that had been hidden away for so long. In some ways it was like reopening old wounds.

If you could turn back the hands on the clock and had control over your fate, would you choose to get a cancer diagnosis? Probably not. However, I am grateful for having gone through it because of what it taught me about myself. It also lead me to my husband and to all of the great people I connected with through the experience.

Did you have body image issues after treatment and how did you deal with them? Hell Yeah! It was very tough to deal with it. A diagnosis of breast cancer especially affects your sexuality so directly. I had to connect more with myself on an inner level in an attempt to separate from the physical stuff so I could see that who I truly am was still present. I still struggle with that.

What adjectives do you use to describe yourself as a patient? Challenging, inquisitive, and unfortunately anxious!

What is your cancer motto? A quote from Emerson I used in my book, “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

So readers, if you were to write a cancer memoir, how much of your book would focus on aspects of love, dating, relationship, sex, and body image? Have you experienced what Cathy talks about with connecting on an inner level to separate yourself from the physical experience? (I actually did some what more of that before cancer and less since cancer.) What is your cancer motto or three adjectives you use to describe yourself as a cancer patient?

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  1. laurie edwards Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    Great post, and glad to hear about this new book.

    Again, I have to extrapolate my experience from the young adult chronic illness community, but again the similarities resonate. In my book Life Disrupted, last third of the book deals w/ illness and relationships, and a good chunk of that section deals with dating, self-image/insecurity, marriage, etc.

    I think this proportion is inevitable and this kind of explorations so necessary because so much of what we go through as patients of any kind of serious illness impacts those closest to us-and, of course, impacts our ability to feel comfortable getting close to significant others with the many physical and emotional challenges of illness.

    Hmmm..three words that would describe me as a rare disease patient (the term that is most significant to me): Stubborn. Informed. Hopeful.

  2. Meghan Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    It’s always good to know we’re not the only ones.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Lizzie Says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    What an interesting sounding book. There are things you can’t necessarily relate to until you go through them, and I think breast cancer (well, really any kind — two friends have gotten diagnoses in recent days and it’s been tough) is one of them, particularly as to how it affects body image.
    Cornfield Heiress is another memoir connected to cancer. The author’s take: when life gives you cancer, drink champagne! And when it gives you lymphodema, live on, single-handed. It was an inspiration to read how well she copes with living with only one arm.

    Party on, is her attitude.

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