I always keep a note on my laptop of blog topics I plan to write about. For a while now I wanted to write about my recent relationship and finding love after my second cancer and everything I have been through. Unfortunately, that love did not last like I hoped it would. I am consumed with sadness right now, but I still feel it is important to describe how I felt finding love and experiencing heartbreak after having cancer.
I feared what dating and finding love would be like before I was officially diagnosed with my second cancer. The fear settled into me the moment I found out I had to undergo a hysterectomy and would lose my ability to have children. I felt like a very important part of me was being taken away and nobody would want to settle down with a woman who cannot have their child the “natural” way. The fear took over, I physically felt empty and ugly. Plus I had a nice, long scar to remind me every day. With time and discovering love I have grown from this, but I still have my tough days. The fear comes and goes, and now losing the relationship I thought was permanent has caused these feelings to resurface. Even though my previous partner has assured me over and over that this is not the cause of our love ending, I cannot help but to have these thoughts. I struggle with self-love, even before cancer came into my life 9 years ago, and sadly I immediately believe I am not pretty enough, good enough, etc.
Let me go back and describe finding love again post-cancer before I get into the hard part. I was only 5 months out of treatment when I met my partner. It was unexpected and I mistook him for someone else, but we continued to talk and learn more about one another. I did not expect someone to ask me out on a date, even when I had informed him of how my life was the past year and a half. I knew going forward that when I was going to date again I would be honest with everything: my cancers, surgeries, infertility, etc. I did that and he didn’t go running. I was shocked haha. I knew he was special when I asked him if he wanted a family down the road and he replied that he did, but it was okay if it was through adoption. It seemed to be too good to be true. The one and only downfall was that we lived in different states (IL & MI) and four hours away. But, we took a chance on each other and although I feel broken right now, I am so glad we did.
The talking turned into meeting weeks before we initially planned. Then we took turns every other week traveling to see each other. Then came an official relationship. I felt special and beautiful again. He helped me feel strong and that what I thought were flaws (like my scars) were beautiful and told my story. This was a type of love I never experienced, and I was extremely grateful this kind and selfless person came into my life. It helped my depression, insecurities, and overall well-being. I am not saying I need a man to accomplish these things (all for independent, single women) but it was wonderful to have this relationship as I moved forward with my life after cancer.
From early on we talked about me moving to Michigan to be together long-term. I would still be close enough to go home to see friends, family, and my doctors. It was a big decision for me, but it felt like the right choice. I still believe it was the right choice. I packed up my life and headed to Michigan in October 2017.
All relationships have disagreements and it took time to learn to live with someone else (especially a boy lol). I had my moments of second-guessing myself and I was definitely homesick. But to come home and sleep next to the person you love every night was worth it. I truly thought I had found the person I was supposed to spend my life with.
And now the hard part, the first broken heart post-cancer. A broken heart at any time in your life is never easy, I have felt heart ache before, but this time was different. To unexpectedly have the person you love tell you they no longer see you in their life long-term anymore felt as if my heart was ripped from my chest. I could not comprehend what I was being told, and I had a million thoughts running through my head. As I mentioned earlier, the negative thoughts and instantly blaming myself hit me hard. Was it because I cannot have kids? Did I change physically? Was there someone else? My mind was racing. Once I was able to calmly talk through this, I now understand the reasoning behind our love story ending; however, it does not hurt any less. It doesn’t help either that I finally feel settled in my new home. I feel like I did not get to fully enjoy this new state, and now I have to figure out where I go next. So many things are running through my head on what I need to do, on top of feeling consumed by heartbreak. The feeling of sadness is weighing me down. I cry randomly, and I hate falling asleep just to wake up and relive those feelings. But, with support from my amazing friends and family, I know I will get through it.
Although I am overwhelmed, very sad, and unsure of where life is taking me, I am forever grateful of my first love after having cancer. I am hurt, but I hold no ill feelings toward my previous partner. I wish things could have ended differently, but I know everything happens for a reason. I do not regret my choice to take a leap of faith on love and come here. People fall in and out of love every day. Things are so hard right now and it feels as if I will not get through this, but with time I will heal. I always do with anything that comes my way.
To my previous love, thank you for coming into my life and making it better. Thank you for making me feel special after everything I went through. Thank you for taking a chance on me and creating memories I will never forget. I wish you the best as your life continues on.
As I said in my other blog posts, I share these experiences because I hope it can help someone one day. Maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now, I can never be sure. But I do know there are many of us out there that experience cancer and have to learn to go through life again afterwards. Life after cancer can be hard. Life after cancer can be scary. But it is important that you keep moving forward. Do not give up on love, take a chance. If it doesn’t work out, take it as a learning experience, allow yourself to heal, and keep going.
What is next for my life after this? I am not quite sure, and I am not going to lie, that scares and stresses me. It breaks me thinking about leaving the life I started here. I know I will eventually make it back to Illinois and take time to work on self-love. Love will come again when it is meant to be. And I know I will be okay.