Bland left behind other instructions, too. “She said to everyone: ‘Make sure Lauren gets a fella, she has been single long enough and she deserves to be loved’”, says Mahon.
Dating is less than straightforward for Mahon, who is looking for a partner who is willing to go through IVF treatment with her, using the eggs she froze before chemotherapy.
“It’s going to be a little bit more complex [for me to have a baby], so it’s just finding someone who’s willing to go through that”, she says. “If my cancer diagnosis is too much to handle, you can f— off.”
She found menopause a gruelling experience. There were hot flashes that made her tomato-red, depression, mood swings, exhaustion, and brain fog. But worst of all, her libido disappeared. “I was a 33-year-old woman who did not want to have sex”, she says. “I was so mortified and depressed about it all.”
Menopause made her quality of life so poor that her doctors recommended she come off some of the hormone-suppressing drugs she was taking. “It was a difficult decision to make and I was terrified my cancer would return and I still am”, she says.
Just seeing a woman like Mahon – who has tattooed arms, short dark hair and a mouth like a sailor who has stubbed his toe – talk about menopause feels slightly radical. And that’s sort of the problem, she says. She wants us to realise how common early menopause is: “No one talks about it.”
She hates the stigma surrounding women’s bodies. “Every person on the planet has come out of a vagina pretty much, so we need to get used to saying the word”, she says. In this vein, she has joined with period product company Bodyform, for an ad campaign that tries to destigmatise the changes that happen to women’s bodies during sex, pregnancy, menopause and periods.