April 11th 2012. My boyfriend was diagnosed with testicle tumor. Here's when the problem began. We were both scared, a young couple of 22 and 25 years old with a possible cancer diagnosis. The next day he flew to his home country to operate. We've been apart for over two months now.
I`ve searched throughout the internet looking for other people's experiences and advice on this topic, without much luck. I'm 22 years old and even worrying of someone I cared about (near my age) having Cancer was unthinkable. However, life gave me this situation expecting full understanding and strength. It is difficult being the person who goes through the Cancer experience, and it is also difficult to be the partner of someone undergoing this experience. I flew for two weeks after his operation taking care of him and spending time with him. When we had the first checkup, the Doctor told us to wait two more weeks to do the exams. Anxiety, depression, stress. This summarizes our feelings. I was about to head home to a new Job and he was a completely different person.
Cancer has a major impact in a person's emotional status. People tend to feel depressed, wondering why it happened, how will the rest of his or her life will be like, fearing death. My boyfriend started to avoid people, withdraw his feelings and only focus on himself and his thoughts. He's a positive, cheerful, strong person with a lot of dreams and goals. Time went by and he started fading away, avoiding phone calls and skype dates, complaining I was pressuring him whenever I wanted to talk. After two more weeks, he was diagnosed with a Lymphatic Cancer in his Endocrine System. He got a leave of absence from his job and he started Chemotherapy the next day. I felt my world tearing apart. I investigated, read, asked Doctors, talked to my parents, talked to my friends, but being away from someone you love while they are having the toughest experience of their life is just heartbreaking.
Having your partner with Cancer is a very difficult situation where you need to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about him or her. The relationship steps back in priority level and your partner's needs are the main priority. A person with Cancer needs to be stable emotionally for a better recovery. So how do you manage distance and Cancer? During this time, I've learned that is all about patience. People start prioritizing their Cancer as the main problem and ignoring others, considering other's problems ridiculous and unworthy of time and effort. Being back home, I am alone and feeling very emotional most days. I've found talking and confiding my feelings to specific people to be helpful. I have shared my thoughts, feelings, fears with these people, externalizing my negative thoughts, leaving only positive thoughts for whenever I talk to him. I always look to cheer him up, tell him how much I love him, tell him fun stories about my day, work or friends and mostly, not focusing on Cancer as a negative but as a positive thing. I'm not a very religious person, but I do believe there is a God and that God sets up challenges for us to grow and understand life and ourselves as people.
Expect him or her to be as sensitive as a teenager. Things as simple as not finding the meds or bad tasting foods can and will drive him or her insane. Telling him or her he's wrong about something or having a discussion will evolve into a fight. He or her will complain about everything, everyone around him, major and minor pains, too much attention, too little attention, practically anything. Keeping a relationship during this experience is difficult, but manageable. I have a strong belief that couples that can survive this type of situations are meant ot be together. So, if you are having a similar situation with your partner, friend or family, just remember - Patience is the key. Be as supportive as you can, try to ignore any bad comments or attitudes and remember that he or she just needs you to be by his or her side. Cancer treatments are difficult, painful and annoying, but the feeling of survival and accomplishment with your loved ones by your side is one of the most beautiful achievements in life.