|Jeff and I at chemo July, 2010|
My two year "Cancerversary" was this recent Saturday. I knew it was coming but when the day came I actually completely forgot all about it. I guess I have had other things on my mind. I should have been celebrating.
The boyfriend and I have been growing apart for quite some time now. We have been losing our connection, both emotionally and physically. I have felt it since the day he came with me to hear those words "You Have Cancer". I can still vividly remember the look on his face before those words were even fully off the lips of the doctor. At first I thought it was shock. This is what I told myself for a long time. What I failed to see, or perhaps did not want to see, is that it was indeed shock, but also some other things like pity, sympathy, and with those words the first unconscious brick was placed in the wall that would later come between us and our love for each other and lead to the demise of our relationship.
Every time I had a procedure or went for chemotherapy, another brick was placed in that wall. Every time I confided in how much I hurt physically, how uncomfortable I was, every time I vomited or was too weak to fend for myself another brick went into that wall. He began distancing himself from me. He felt as if there was nothing he could do for me. I am sure it was not easy for him to watch someone he loved having to go through such a fight for their life. There were times he would even say out of frustration "I can't deal with this". The first time was shortly after my diagnosis while we were in Hawaii. It was just too much for him to handle and he shut down. He stopped communicating with me completely. I tried every tactic from tough love, to heart felt conversations to becoming angry and bitter but nothing could get him to open up about how he really felt. This went on from the day I was diagnosed until one week ago. There came a time that I finally gave up on trying to get him to communicate with me. That was around last November. We didn't spend the holidays together, we only hung out to ski or have a quick bite of lunch or dinner together then we both went our separate ways, usually with me going home and him going to a bar. It was at one of those bars where he met someone who could fulfill his need for physical stimulation. We hadn't had sex in months. Even though we were still in a relationship he cheated on me. This happened the day after I found out the awesome news from my last PET scan. Perhaps he didn't feel quite so guilty about it because I no longer had cancer. He wouldn't seem like such an ass then as he would if he cheated on his girlfriend while she was fighting for her life. I don't blame him for seeking sexual connections with someone else, I had become unavailable to him in that way due to the lack of communication resulting in the lack of knowing how he felt about me. I don't hate him. Hate is a word I rarely use. It just isn't in my vocabulary. Much more can be solved from love than hate.
Then we had a much overdue conversation. He came clean, and honestly talked to me about how he had been feeling for so long. I know he still loves me and cares about me. But there is a huge loss. The fun we used to have, the connection we shared, the way we were so completely and deeply in love was lost the day I got my diagnosis. All he could see was "sick Laura" and he felt as if he could do nothing at all for me. He stayed with me for nearly two years yearning for what we once had pre-cancer. He wished, as did I, that we could find that love again. I watched hopelessly as my body ravaged from cancer and chemotherapy became a former vision of itself and became undesirable to the person I loved the most. All of those times he used to sneak up behind me and hold me while planting little heated kisses on my neck were just gone. It was if if he was afraid to touch me, afraid he might hurt me or break me or afraid that he might get "the cancer". For two years he kept his mouth shut and did not communicate his true feelings. He was afraid of hurting me and my feelings. He fell out of love but never told me. He stayed with me partly because he felt sorry for me! He had the courage to finally disclose this to me recently. Now let me just say that I am so appreciative to finally have an honest heart to heart conversation with him, but it still doesn't make it easy to hear that the person you loved was not with you out of love for you, instead they stayed with you because they had pity on you! I had my suspicions that this was the case but none the less, it is still a hard truth to take. An emotional punch to the gut, some one ripped your heart out of your chest and stomped on it a few times before returning it a bruised and broken mass. The last two years of my life (in the relationship arena) have been a sham, nothing but deceit, dishonesty, lack of communication, lack of love, and full of someone who I though was acting out of love actually acting out of pity.
It hurts, cuts deep, makes me wonder when all of the loss that cancer brings with it will ever end. Having cancer is a very lonely place. I have a huge support group of friends and family out there and they, YOU, all have been my one constant in my life. For that I thank you all from the very depths of my soul. As for my journey through cancer on a daily basis, I did it all alone. I had no one to hold my hand when my body screamed from the toxic chemo cocktails injected in my veins. No one to check on me when I woke up in the middle of the night vomiting my brains out. No one to hold me and tell me that it would all be ok when I was so afraid of what was ahead. Instead I put on a smile as best I could, tried to make it work, and hoped to god, the universe, pink unicorns, whoever/whatever that my beloved and I could make it through this and come out better on the other end.
I still love him. I love the way we were, the luckiness and thankfulness we shared with each other in the beginning. I miss the planning and daydreaming of all the things we wanted to do together. I miss the sweet, loving kind man I fell in love with. This is what I will hold on to and will keep close to my heart. Not the bitterness, lies, cheating, and pity. We all have ways of dealing with, or not dealing with cancer. Surviving cancer has been by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I found a way. I love my life! I love my lifestyle! I love who I have become from all of this! I love ME! True, it hurts now but I can also see that it will lead to a blossoming of character and spirit and new growth, so fitting for spring.
Hopefully this will be the last of the hurt for a while. Time to devote to myself and helping others. Time to heal from all of the trauma and deceit. Time to forge a new path into a bright new future filled with love, joy, compassion, admiration, and gratitude for every moment of every day. A time for wholeness, or Sowelu a rune that was tattooed on my body so very long ago that constantly reminds me that we are all a part of a greater whole.
And just for the record,
CANCER CAN SUCK IT!