Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 7

DATING WITH CANCER

O

n July 17th, 2019, I sat with
Dr. Michael Roth in the MD
Anderson Cancer Center AYA
Clinic. We discussed many
things that day: fertility, genes,
long term side effects and my psycho-social
concerns. I told Dr. Roth a statement that I
often repeated over the last two years since
my cancer diagnosis.
"Dating has been a disaster."
I was almost repulsed by Dr. Roth's confident and hopeful replies. He seemed so sure
that there would come a day that I never
utter those words again. After all, just one
month earlier at the MDACC Young Adult
Cancer Conference (that I met Nick at!),
I was in a breakout session about dating
that resulted in groans from all the single
people, myself included. The psychologist
said several things that just seemed too
hard. Trust again! Dating is hard for everyone! Love is worth the battle! I remember
scoffing and that this "professional" had
no idea what I had gone through.
On May 2nd, 2017, one week before my
total thyroidectomy and the official start

of my cancer treatment, I laid on my kitchen f loor crying. I remember every single
detail. How hard and cold the f loor felt,
the tears that pooled near my face and
the biggest thing: The sound of my now
ex-boyfriend's boots walking out the back
door and his car starting. Getting a cancer
diagnosis not only marked the end of life
as I knew it, but also a 6 year relationship.
With the course of my life now taking a
drastic turn in the matter of a few weeks,
like who I was going to marry, family plans
and processing that I was indeed a cancer
patient (no matter how deep in denial I
was), I turned to the only true anchor I
know: God. I found great comfort in the
story of Ruth from the Bible. From losing
her first husband, moving to a different
location and choosing following a different
culture than her own, Ruth's journey is a
wonderful example that our life can still
turn out beautiful, even if the plans change.
With the help of my faith, I tried to embrace my "new life" as much as possible, but
my failed relationship was a still a confusing and painfully deep wound. And the scab

Relationships

kept getting picked at with each attempted
love connection. After plenty of negative
feedback about my cancer, I was scared if
I entered the world of online dating that
I would be f looded with profiles of dudes
saying "Must have thyroid and all central
neck lymph nodes." I internalized the false
message that having cancer not only made
me unattractive, but undateable as well. I
stopped talking about having cancer and
tried to keep it a secret. My hope was to
keep it a secret long enough until someone
liked me, then I would share. This too was
a doomed strategy.
Something changed though. Tears hit
my f loor again, but for a different reason
this time. I surrendered. With "I Want To
Know What Love Is" by Foreigner playing
in my earbuds, I raised my white f lag. I told
God that I was ready to forgive and let the
hurt of that relationship go. I acknowledged
that it wasn't love, and essentially lying by
omission to myself and others about having
cancer wasn't love either. And that I was
ready to embrace with my whole heart this
time, not just part of it. I was finally ready
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2020

7


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Elephants And Tea - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2020

Contents
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Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Contents
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