Entry #12 BONUS BLOG: Cancer Co-Survivor
"Behind every great cancer survivor is a great caregiver." ~Eleanor Roosevelt.
Psych! She didn't say that! I did. Just now. Because it's true.
I don't know how I would have made it through my diagnosis and treatment without Boyfriend. As you saw in my first vlog, were it not for Boyfriend I probably would have waited weeks or months to get the lump in my breast checked at all.
Being a Midwesterner, I am not so inclined to see doctors. I am of the "just-walk-it-off" school of medicine. Boyfriend is from Brooklyn, and in Brooklyn people have doctors. They have doctors and therapists and acupuncturists and herbalists... no shortage of people trying to fix you. And therein lay the problem. Boyfriend so desperately wanted to fix me.
I suspect most cancer patients experience this. People who love you want to save you--parents, spouses, children, friends--anyone who cares about you can't bear to see you suffer, so they do whatever they can to fix or control a problem that they cannot solve or control.
Boyfriend's way of fixing me mostly involved vegetables and secretly putting flaxseed in all of my food. He'd hand me a yogurt and be all,
"How's that yogurt?"
"Damn it! Stop trying to make me healthy!!!"
Why did I resist Boyfriend's love and desire to make me better? It's a complicated answer to be addressed in future vlogs. Suffice it to say the arguments depicted in this entry are the first few showers of a much larger storm ahead.
I mentioned these arguments to Nina and her husband last spring. As I began complaining (that's right I COMPLAIN about this amazing guy who sweetly adds omega-3's to everything I consume) about Boyfriend, Nina's husband made a comment that stuck with me.
"Remember that he's been through something too. It's not the same, but he's been with you through your diagnosis and treatment; and there's been a lot of pressure on him to be strong and to support you. Plus, he's finishing law school, right? I mean, that's a lot to handle. Like you, I'm sure he's doing the best he can."
Damn Nina's husband. Bros before Hoes. Amiright? Or is it hos...?
Anyway, I realized that while yes, it was different for Boyfriend, he wasn't just a caregiver, he was a co-survivor. As I was dealing with the fear of not surviving, he was coping with the fear of losing his partner. As I struggled to accept the things I could not change, to change the things I could... He was doing the same. He was dealing with the stress of law school and internships and job hunting and then came home to a partner who was too tired to cook or clean or lift the TV remote. But he survived it! He didn't kill me and I didn't kill him... although we came pretty close a time or two.
This story is mine, but it's also his... which will become even more apparent as we delve into the wonderful world of egg preservation next week.
PS~ For anyone interested in Fertile Hope, the program I mentioned in the vlog that subdizes fertility treatments for cancer patients, you can find out more here. (Since writing this vlog, Fertile Hope has been absorbed by Livestrong and is now called, "Livestrong Fertility"... Just so you know).