How One Breast Cancer Survivor Got Her Groove Back

She’s a three-year breast cancer survivor at this point.

She’s mother to a grown son.

And, married since 1982, she’s a 56-year-old wife who’s still sexually active.

She’d just turned 54 when, in 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 1. What followed would entail a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction.

After a severe allergic reaction to other drugs she’d tried, she was prescribed tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator or SERM, for breast cancer prevention.

“When my oncologist suggested a tamoxifen daily as a preventative for reoccurrence, I didn’t even question it. I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ She stuck with it.

Little did she know the havoc it was wreaking on the inner walls of her vagina, she says. She’d gone through chemotherapy and four breast reconstructive surgeries — a year and a half with her chest in stitches. Romantic intimacy had presented a challenge, but having a supportive husband really helped. “It was like, we can be a little more creative,” she recalls.

“It was over a year before we were able to reintroduce intercourse.” But when that happened, the pain was excruciating. “I thought, ‘What the heck is happening?!’ I thought something was bad wrong.”

 

EMOTIONAL TOLL

She’d found out about the MonaLisa Touch, a nonsurgical therapy that uses CO2 laser energy to revitalize the vagina, at a breast cancer support group discussion and presentation by Dr. Robert Harris, founding member of Southeast Urogyn, his 18-year practice in Jackson, Mississippi. He’s also the chief medical officer and founder of V-REVIVE, a spa-like clinic offering a suite of non-surgical therapies to help women of all ages address vaginal issues affecting their quality of life.

She had also been dealing with urinary tract infections — a new malady for her. Vaginal dryness can affect the ability to fight infection, paving the way for a UTI. She hadn’t thought to connect the two symptoms, until she visited Southeast Urogyn for treatment.

For this survivor, eager to reclaim her feminine comfort, confidence and, yes, her groove, the MonaLisa Touch would be the answer.

“I’ve always had the most supportive husband ever,” she says. The problem she was experiencing in the bedroom “didn’t take a toll on the relationship, but it took a toll on my emotions.

“We’ve always had a very healthy sex life. … When I realized something was wrong, it started playing with my mind. My husband is extremely supportive and I wanted to be able to give back to him.

“With breast cancer, nothing is ever ‘normal’ again. I’ve come to accept it, the new normal. But I wasn’t going to accept that as the new normal.

“It is such a private, intimate problem. And, that’s really what it is. It’s a problem,” she says.

But now, one with a solution.

“I couldn’t believe there was something out there that was so quick and painless. And, it helped. It helped the first time.”

With the initial three-treatment package (for best results, with four to six weeks in-between), she estimated a 33 percent improvement after the first (“better, but not great”), 66 percent after the second (“we’re getting somewhere’) and then reported, “I think we’re 99 percent!” after the third.

“We’d shoot for a little better each time … after the third, I was flabbergasted. I was so pleasantly surprised.

“Emotionally and physically, it was life-changing for me.”

 

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with a concentrated focus on increased awareness of the disease and its risk factors. Early detection, education, screening and support form a key part of the mission to help those touched by breast cancer.

In the United States, a woman has about a 12 percent risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer and about 63,410 new cases of carcinoma in situ will be diagnosed this year.

Each will have a unique journey. This survivor wants to share the hope and help that she found on hers. She has a lot of compassion, particularly for the young wives diagnosed with breast cancer, she says, and what they may encounter following treatment.

“I’m 56, and it matters to me. But these young women still have a whole, wonderful sex life ahead of them. They need to know that something can be done.”

 

V-REVIVE THERAPIES

V-REVIVE’s clinic in Jackson has the latest non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatments that can address conditions that impact quality of life at any stage. Symptoms such as vaginal dryness and discomfort, painful intercourse, vaginal laxity, look and feel can result from cancer treatments, surgically induced or natural menopause, vaginal childbirth, aging or significant weight loss.

In addition to the MonaLisa Touch, the treatments include the CO2RE Intima, which also uses CO2 laser therapy, applied through a slim intravaginal wand. The treatment feels like a slight vibration in the vagina, as the laser energy creates micro injuries to the vaginal wall. That stimulates new collagen growth for repair, rejuvenating the vaginal tissue and restoring moisture.

ThermiVa employs radio frequency to gently heat the tissue, and its use inside and outside the vulva can improve the appearance, tighten sagging skin and in some reports, increase sensation. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in the O-Shot can enhance sexual function and improve orgasm.

V-REVIVE’s in-office treatments, quick and convenient in this relaxed, professional setting, require no recovery or down-time. Vaginal conditions — intimate, private, confidential — are easier to discuss with VR Specialists, certified nurses trained in the latest treatments.

 

PERSONALIZED APPROACH

Your own symptoms may be best addressed with a combination of treatments. Talk to VR Specialistsabout your desires and goals to determine the optimal, personalized approach to treat your individual concerns.

Schedule a free phone consultation or call 844-487-3848 to learn more about V-REVIVE’s services and the possibilities and promise of a return to feminine comfort and confidence, and a rejuvenated path forward.

A range of payment options are available, including all major credit cards, and 6-month, 12-month or 18-month interest-free plans through the convenient CareCredit card.

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