Secondary breast cancer: I can’t die having never been in love

Ismena Clout

ismean 225x300 Secondary breast cancer: I can’t die having never been in loveI 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!

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  • amazed00again

    You have trivialised yourself by not understanding the comments made in context. But, then, how could you as you were so caught up in yourself that you didn’t have the intelligence to finish reading the article? Gawd, how I loathe, me me me bores like you. This is not about you; your sexuality or anything remotely boring that you offer. Get. Over. Yourself.

  • amazed00again

    I totally agree with your genuine comment.

  • amazed00again

    You don’t deserve to have your wholly inappropriate and selfish feelings acknowledged but a more appropriate response would be one of disdain for your self-centred and insensitive attitude to this woman’s sharing of her own personal and affecting story. .It has absolutely nothing to do with you. Nothing.

    Your heart goes out to the author after you are acknowledged for your lesbian touchiness and appalling self-arrogation of importance. The only thing you share with the author is your single status. Ismena Clout is deserving of so much love and understanding- you have so much work to do. Seriously.

  • amazed00again

    Ismena, please do not be discombobulated in any way by this insensitive and ghastly response from bmh2607. If she had any self-awareness whatsoever she would be apologising to you for her grotesque insensitivity and callousness. You are truly the bigger person and deserve love and a happy life. Your story is affecting and inspiring: to have people with such humour, intelligence and kindness is the gift of humanity that should be cherished. I hope you meet the love of your life and enjoy all that will mean for you.

  • amazed00again

    Such ranting hypocrisy. So many lesbians talk of their experimentation with men before coming out and establishing their true sexuality. You really do lack insight and anything resembling humour- often the first casuality with your evident problems. How could you be so cruel, so self-referential; so self- obsessed?

  • amazed00again

    The ineffably sad thing about your comment is that it ignores the human feelings that Ismena is sharing with us. You don’t even address the natural desire of one human being for another. Whatever your need to proselytize, it has stymied your ability to share the natural desire for the present human warmth that is being expressed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to relate as humans first? Do try.

    Do you just presume to know what the author feels about religion or do you actually know? You seem somewhat overweening in your assumptions to me and this is something you really ought to guard against. You come off as somewhat insensitive actually…

  • florapatterson

    I am sure you are going to meet HIM too. It is wonderful to fall in love and share reciprocated feelings, and I just think you will meet your man. Probably because you are lovely and funny and brave. Good luck!

  • florapatterson

    Let me fix this for you: ” What a shame I have trivialized lesbian relationships here. Everyone has the freedom to experiment with any kind of relationship they want. As a lesbian I would not deny you that experience and respect your choice that it was not for you.”

    Then you would have added: ” After some careful thought and misery when I realised the unpleasant selfish nastiness of my original comment I just had to get in touch with you again, dear Ismena, to express my shame and desire to retract my original thoughtless posting . Having been not well myself, I was possibly feeling a bit vulnerable, but this was no excuse for attacking you in such a wanton self-indulgence of bile. ”

    My sincere apologies and all good wishes for your love and life to come,

    bmh2607 ( ha, possibly there is a reason why I am too ashamed to use my real name! ).

  • florapatterson

    Of course there is nothing fatuous about trying women. I have gay friends who have tried to turn straight friends. You really do take sexual adventures too seriously and the fact you feel that these are damaging to anyone’s sense of self or sexuality is rather worrying. Experimentation is a perfectly natural part of life and learning. We don’t all have to be lesbians you know. Frankly, you may just have put quite a few people off the very notion of contemplating a fun fling. Sad.

  • Thomas Wedel

    hope u finds one. I for myself are not sick in that matter. i got an mental illness. and my longest relationship lasted a year. not good that either. im 32, not married, not a job, or school to back me up. I live my life on “REHAB” NOW, after quiting drugs, for a year ago. I also want to meet someone u know, but da time is not right and da matter of not having a job, and only sitting at home playing World of Warcraft all day long does’nt support me beeing with u. I really hope u find’s a kind and calm man who gives u da cripples in a good way, as i hope da same for me and anyone else out there looking for one. Ive heard that cannabis oil are a much quicker way back to life and away from canser, but my statement there are not supported by any article for da cause of me and what im thinking about it. feel free to try. i hate it. dearliest love and hope u find a friend. <3

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