Love and the House I Sold
I truly think that one of the hardest things to navigate next to a cancer diagnosis is a relationship. Especially a successful relationship. Sometimes, they can look like they come easily to each person, yet they probably do not, and the ones that look difficult to manage definitely are.
In the age of social media, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to others. Once I opened up my life to the public eye on my socials, I saw a lot of comments about how easy the relationship with my wife must be. It sure looks like every day is a breeze, doesn’t it?
Relationships are hard work
The simple fact is, it isn’t. It takes work and dedication. It takes showing up every single day for the other person, even if you’re having a crummy day. We choose each other, every day, and we love each other so dang hard, that the work may look easy, but it's not. Especially now that I am a permanent resident of cancerland.
K and I met right before the pandemic really started, in 2020. I wasn’t sick when I met her, but I had had breast cancer in the past. We had so many things we wanted to accomplish together, and we had a lot of big goals. In October of that year, we bought our first house.
Our dreams or my life
It was a dream come true, and to this day I still can’t believe I made that one happen. The next month was when we got the news of my stage 4 diagnosis, and we had to decide which was more important: our dreams, or my life. We were lucky enough to be able to stay in our house for a year but ended up selling anyway.
I’m sure you could imagine how tough that one was. We still have a hard time being in the city we used to live in because it brings back so many memories. Together, we have had to close a lot of doors on our dreams, because cancer just gets in the way. The love we have for each other has really held us up in the toughest times, and it held us up through the selling of our dream house.
Communication is key
The number one thing that I can suggest to anyone in a relationship, cancer or not really, is communication. We had a lot of late night turned early morning talks about what we were going to do when I got diagnosed again, and what the best plan of action was. It took us a very long time to land on actually selling the house. We have a bigger picture in mind now that we are further out from those first few weeks of re-diagnosis.
We are working toward that big goal even harder now, and we communicate each step of the way. Having a line of open, and honest communication can really change the bond you have with a person. I feel heard and seen, more than I ever have before, and I know she feels the same because we talk about it.
You are not alone
I know not everyone is in a situation similar to mine. It can be difficult to navigate a lot of this alone, or even just without a partner. The first time I was diagnosed, I was alone. I went to a lot of appointments by myself. What helped at the time, was having a support system to lean on. Sometimes that is even difficult to find.
A sense of community, big or small, can help anyone feel less alone in this big, scary, medical world. It can be incredibly humbling to find yourself in need of asking for help. Don’t let it stop you- reach out when you need to. You are not alone.
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Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?