Coming To Terms

I set myself to task to write about this cancer journey with the diligence necessary to overcome the slight depression that had come down on me. Crazy how many countless obstacles have littered the path my babe and I set out on over 6 years ago. Despite the threats to our happiness early on in our relationship, we managed to survive rough waters. When my idea of relationships was so hampered by bullshit that I didn’t know whether I was coming or going when it came to women, her love beat my rebelliousness into submission.

So then how do you deal with a major change or transition in life that changes the course forever? I tried to store it away in a tiny, nondescript box in the back of my mind where I preferred to never think of it again, but you can’t run from cancer. Plus, I had to consider the fact that I remember everything I feel, savoring or agonizing over the process of uncovering truths I’ve tried to hide from my future self. It’s no wonder that it became hard for me to find joy in the little things, although I put a smile on my face despite the agony I felt inside. This tremendous feeling of vulnerability coupled with an intense desire to do something… anything… left me feeling helpless. All I can do is be her greatest love and support. The rest is up to her. Not even beautiful words can heal such an ugly disease.

I retreated to a place, not dark but deep rather. Thoughts of mortality and loss were prevalent in the first few weeks because cancer changes absolutely everything. It makes the future rich with doubt and worry. Minor nuances seem increasingly insignificant and communication by any and all means possible becomes the modus operandi by which we exist. It’s all in the name of survival.

She was the first person to cut my hair into a style I was comfortable maintaining. It was like, chop-chop, allgone now. I was rocking my first fade, crooked lining and all, and by the end of it I was all smiles. Her love inspired in me a courage I’d never felt before. A surge of sorts. In our time together I never imagined that one day my inexperienced hands would be returning that same gesture. Although we’d been prepared and waited for the first signs of hair-loss it was just as unexpected when it finally happened. Her hair had always been long and thick, falling in a water flow of waves that reached down her back. After getting over the initial shock of seeing huge handfuls of it fall out, I did the honors. I gave her a slick buzz cut and for the first time I saw her bald head in all of its glory. We watched as the last remaining strands clung to life before finally letting go and falling off into the obscurity of the trash can.

I’m doing all of the mandatory things that are expected of a devoted partner, but I have been struggling the most internally. I find it increasingly tough to divulge just how deeply I’ve been affected by this fucking cancer, but somehow, I’m managing to find a way.

“Words are powerful but also meaningless if there’s no substance behind them,” she said.

“My words.. my actions.. my heart.. this old thing.. they’re all I have,” I replied in earnest.

“You have me,” she said. I wrapped my arms around her and drifted contentedly off to sleep.

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2 Responses to “Coming To Terms”
  1. sublimefemme says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes. You're right. Cancer changes everything. It always seems like there is another test, another worry, another battle to fight. And yet somehow we do get through it, one day at a time. A few things that have helped me over the years: the book How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard; The Caregiver's Bill of Rights; and attending a caregiver's support group.

    Sending you love and hugs as you and your partner walk this difficult road together.

    xo
    SF

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