My boyfriend of three years had the misfortune of spending two thirds of our relationship dealing with cancer along side me. He’s been supportive, encouraging, and wonderful…but like in any relationship, not every day has been all rainbows and rose petals.
Since there are a million, no scratch that, a billion and one spectacular things about him, it would take way too long to list them all. So I’m going to write about that one (or two) thing(s) I do not like about him as a cancer companion.
My biggest problem is that he does not believe that one’s life style and living habits can alter the course of cancer. Even though the fact that health eating habits, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and a happy mind can greatly help a cancer patient (and really, anybody) is not new, after reading David Servan-Schreiber’s Anticancer, I was even more convinced that there’s so much more I can do to help my body battle cancer. Of course, as someone whose best pals are glutton and sloth, my track record is nowhere close to what Dr. Servan-Schreiber advocates. Plus, for a while, I used to go around saying “fuck eating healthy and exercising” because I felt like I was wayyyy better at those two than most people on this earth, yet somehow I was the unlucky one who was struck with cancer. But I generally believe that reduced level of stress, accompanied with the right food and a good night’s sleep can really benefit me. So I try sometimes and that’s when I clash with the boyfriend.
Ever since I started working again, I had to get up fairly early every day for court appearances and meetings. When I get home, eat dinner, do a couple things, it’s 10pm. After an hour of hangout w/ the boyfriend, I’m ready to hit the sack so that I can repeat it all over again. The boyfriend, being a night owl, gets upset when I tell him I need to cut the hangout short. We haven’t been able to stay out to catch pokemon as late (I know, so dorky), we have to pause tv shows in the middle of an episode because I want to sleep, etc, etc. I definitely understand why he’s frustrated — Instead fun crazy nights with an energetic 28 year old girlfriend, he’s got in his hands a lame, tired cancer patient who constantly asks for backrubs. In my defense, my first priority is to beat this cancer once and for all. If I get to be lame for a few years so that I can have a healthy and happy few decades of my life, I will do that. And, if he decided to stick around, shouldn’t he be more supportive of my decisions to sleep early EVEN IF he doesn’t agree that it’d help with cancer? He’s always so ‘exhausted’ on the weekend that all he wants to do is nap. Then how is it so hard to understand that I, a cancer patient only a month out of chemo, want to go to bed by 11pm after a long day at work?!?!
Another issue I have is that he’s been telling me how my cancer has negatively affected his morale and ambition. Yes, finding out that your loved one has cancer sucks. Some would argue that it hurts more than being a cancer patient yourself. But I have been able to maintain a generally positive outlook on life and act accordingly. Look at me, after 2 years of battle, 12 rounds of chemo, 2 major surgeries, no hair and now no eye brows, I never gave up on myself or my career. I put on a wig and draw my brows on every morning to go to work where nobody knows about my cancer. The boyfriend, on the other hand, has been so discouraged by my cancer that he lost his sense of ambition (which I admired so much when we first started dating!). Trying feels so exhausting and cancer is a convenient excuse not to. It’s one thing for him to feel that way but he occasionally reminds me how my cancer has brought him down. Yesterday, we got into it a little in the car and he said “I hate it when you do that, telling me how to feel.” well, I’M NOT TELLING YOU HOW TO FEEL! OF COURSE THIS MAKES YOU SAD. BUT BE MY ROCK. BE MY ROCK SO THAT I CAN LOOK AT YOU ON MY BAD DAYS AND FEEL STRONG. BE MY ROCK SO THAT EVEN WHEN I FEEL LIKE GIVING UP I PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE AND PICK IT BACK UP!
Is this too much to ask? I don’t know. All I can say is that having cancer is awful but being with a cancer patient sounds pretty bad too and the boyfriend and I are in a bit of a rut 😦
Having a bit of a bad night but I promise he’s (mostly) wonderful and I do love him..