Secondary breast cancer: I can’t die having never been in love
I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s the one day of the year when I am forever reminded that I am single. I have only once had a boyfriend on Valentine’s day and that was at school, and only because I was away skiing as we broke up as soon as I got home. Overall my dating stats aren’t that great…
Time since last boyfriend – 8.5 years
Time since last casual fling – 2.5 years
Longest relationship – six months
Not really happy reading and to be honest this damn cancer really isn’t helping. Yet it’s driving me to do all I can to change the situation. I have one wish above all others for the life I have left and that is to find my man and fall in love. What do I mean by that sentence? I want a boyfriend! I want to have a companion, my best mate, my giggle partner and to be support for each other. I have been in love, well teenage love and unrequited love but they don’t really count. I have had three great unrequited loves in my life and I’m still great friends with them but the relationship side never quite worked out.
A friend recently helpfully suggested trying women instead as I might have more luck. Good idea but I’ve already tried that in my ‘experimental’ university years and can categorically state that it’s a man I hanker after.
My longest relationship was at 28, he was nice enough but I knew early on that he wasn’t the one. However, it was an easy relationship and it was nice not to be on my own, to go on ‘weekend breaks’ and out for dinner. We split up when he went back to his wife (took him two months to admit to having just separated from his wife and that he had three kids). I thought that I would probably date one or two more men and then I would be ready for HIM, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with cancer about six months after we split up.
Except for some casual flings I’ve been single since then, for most of the time I was too scared to date as I was so scared of someone falling in love with me and then me getting ill again. It’s such a big thing for a partner to take on and I felt guilty bringing someone into this cancer reality.
I was just starting to dip my toe back in the world of dating when, of course, I got ill again. I remember in those dark days of cancer running amok in my lungs, liver and bones; the hardcore chemo cursing through my veins to control it and all I could think was: ‘I can’t die having never been in love’.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do love my single life. I’ve settled into spinsterhood nicely with two cats, anymore and I would really be the crazy cat lady of Wimbledon! I get a valentine’s card every year from my mother and for the last two years she has even sent one from my cats – does anyone have a story as sad as that?
But I think I’m actually a pretty great person and I would love nothing more than to show that to someone. For them to get me, for them to understand who I am and why I am and in return I would love to get them, understand them and know them.
On top of all that this cancer journey is lonely, as Macmillan’s new campaign showed this week, one in four diagnosed with cancer will lack support during treatment and recovery. So to have the support of a partner would be so great. My friends and family are amazing but a lot of the time I’m in my house on my own with my own thoughts and it gets very lonely.
So what am I doing to change this? Am I internet dating to meet HIM I hear you cry? Well no, after a collection of comedy dates I decided to delete my profile. My dating highlights include someone who clears up the tube lines after suicides (he was a-laugh-a-minute), a man who spent the whole date discussing the calorie content of food, and a man who hadn’t washed his hair for a year. I did date a chap I met in the cancer ward but that didn’t work out either. So, I’ve decided that first of all I’ll have some counselling to work out what I want and make sure that I’m really ready. Then I’ll get out there and see what the world can put my way!
I can tell you one thing and that is I’m sure I’m going to meet HIM. I don’t have a big list of what he should be like – you know, good job, own hair, own teeth – but I do know he is going to have to be strong and brave to take on me and this prognosis. I am so much more than cancer and I hope that someone out there can see that.
I’ve watched from the sidelines as all my friends have dated and then married and it has to be my turn. It has to happen to me. Even if we only get a short time I just know it will be the thing that makes my life complete… and might stop me getting valentine’s cards from my mum and cats!
For more information on secondary breast cancer, visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/secondaryTagged in: cancer, love, relationships, secondary breast cancer, valentine's day
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