Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Love Lost in Cancer Land

I found a note in one of my cancer files today. It’s from 2008 when our cancer dance began. Reading it stabbed me—I can recall that pain so vividly, but it also heartened me—in a sense—because I survived and we survived and yes, love survived.

But this old note I had written to myself also reminded me how dam hard cancer is for couples. How painful this worst side effect truly is, and that this is what no one at chemo talks about and what no doctor—or nurse—ever asks about.

There is so much loneliness in Cancer Land. And it is untouchable from the outside. Both patient and caregiver have their own versions, maybe mirror images. But sometimes I think there is much less room for the partner or caregiver to have this acknowledged. Reading this I ache for every couple facing cancer.

Here is the old note I found today:

“I am so lonely. It’s not a lonely that a movie or a meal or a pep talk can fix. The man I love cannot see me or take care of me. He is so sick. What I hoped for is not realized. The relationship is not one of equals. My dreams, my health, my work, my struggles are pushed aside. I am hurt, sad, angry, grieving.”

July 19 2008

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