Here’s what I’ve learned through having cancer: every day is special. Live life. Love what comes your way. Take your happiness wherever you find it. Sad to say, some people don’t feel truly alive unless they are enduring a painful, messed-up emotional melodrama.
I let my heart carry me off. In Nick I thought I had found a special man, one who could tolerate my foibles as well as enjoying my fabulous points. Not perfect, who would want that? But the right man for me. I don’t think that I was fooling myself. Every relationship has wobbles but on the whole Nick’s words and actions led me to believe that he genuinely loved me. I mean, for heaven's sake, he planned to introduce me to his parents and his adult children. He seemed to delight in my company, as I did in his. Our affair was drawing me back home to Australia. I followed his beckoning without fear.
And now I feel lost, foolish and betrayed. In a twist of irony I realise that the day Nick finally ended our relationship, the 2nd of January, was the anniversary of the day we met. At night I lie awake trying not to recall this time last year, when Nick and I spent our time talking and laughing, luxuriating in one another's the presence. Life seemed filled with promise.
I have come across several cruel stories of women whose husbands and partners left them whilst they were going through breast cancer. I just didn’t think it would happen to me. In my darkest hours I battle with the notion that the break-up is all my fault.
I have lost trust in my body – after all it did try to kill me. I am no longer strong and fit. My glorious red hair is gone. Then there is the looming shadow of Tamoxifen, which I must start taking soon. That will put me into early menopause. I imagine that in Nick’s eyes I am not a woman anymore.
People keep telling me, “That’s men for you.” But these are the actions of one man, a man who couldn’t or wouldn’t step up when the going got tough. It’s Nick who has let me down, not the entire male species. I don’t believe that all men are bastards any more than I believe that all women are doormats. People are unique. Each of us has the choice to be who we want to be in every moment of our lives. It requires courage and faith.
Then again, I wonder if lesbians are so quick to sprint for the exit when their partners get breast cancer?
The fear that gnaws at me is that no man will find me attractive ever again. I long to hear about women who have been through it all and gone on to find new love. If you know a good story of heartbreak and resurrection, please send it in to me.