Let's start by saying that I don't have, never had, and never will have a body part that is worth my life. Given the choice of "We remove this or you die of cancer," that's not even the beginning of a question for me or for my husband.
That said...when I had my urostomy a couple months ago (and it's taken about this long to be able to assess the damage), to save my life the surgeon also removed my uterus and, because of where in the bladder the tumor was, a substantial part of my vagina. Not to put too fine a point on it, I'm a 10-year-old girl again.
Last week when I visited my gynecologist and, well, it could have gone better. There are things we are going to try, I'm willing to try pretty much anything, but she didn't seem overwhelmed with optimism. And if these measures (topical HRT, dilators) DO work, it'll be months at best.
I don't have it bad in my life at all, really. A husband who isn't going anywhere, a very aggressive form of bladder cancer that was caught and fully removed at a very early stage. But I'm not kidding, this is a serious loss for me. I handle my stress by joking when I can and ahead of the urostomy, I quipped, "Hey, I'll still be a woman AND I'll be able to write my name in the snow." Now it doesn't feel that way anymore. This isn't about my interest in sex, or my husband's desire for it. Not really. It's about a body blow to my self-esteem, my self-image, and grieving a loss no matter how necessary it was.
I've always heard that when you can't think of any more to say, it's time to shut up. This seems like a good time for that.