Talking About Sex
In May and June, 2012, I had the opportunity to speak at national conferences about RecoverSex.com. The first was at the annual meeting of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) in New Orleans. I was on a panel addressing issues and strategies related to patient education. In regards to sexual recovery following surgery, what better way to approach the topic than through an educational forum on the Internet? People who have hip replacements and spine surgery can go online in the comfort of their own home to find strategies to resume sexual function following their operations. Apparently, NAON thinks this is a good educational approach. They have a link to RecoverSex.com on their website, www.orthonurse.org/ResearchPractice/PatientEducation.
In June, I spoke at the annual meeting of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) in Charlotte, NC. My topic was sexual recovery following ostomy surgery. Nearly 250 nurses came for an 8am lecture on how to return to sexual activity after a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy. One of my references during the talk was a book titled It’s In The Bag And Under The Covers by Brenda Elsagher. I used several of her quotes from individuals who share what it is like to have a sex life with an ostomy. One quote I used was “Looking at myself in the mirror of the bathroom, three days after surgery, I remember staring aghast at my image and thinking to myself, Who would ever want to love me, really make love to me?”. Years later, the same person shares “It’s been thirty years since that day I looked in the mirror, three days after surgery. I never looked back, but at the same time, I will never forget my experience as a patient. I got married at age 42. My husband is happy with sex everyday and I am in the groove too; my ostomy has never been an issue. My heart still skips a beat when my man walks into the room.” After the lecture, as I was answering questions from the audience, a lovely woman came up to me and shared that she was the woman who’s quotes I shared in my lecture. She is a WOCN nurse, using her own personal experiences and stories to help others. I was so honored to meet her. It was, by far, the highlight of my talk that day.