So I had cancer. It was really hard. Choosing to go so public with my diagnosis and my experiences was overall such a positive experience. It was like I was a thirsty woman in the desert and sharing my story turned on this amazing faucet of love, positive energy, support, attention and everything else I needed to get me through the nightmare that is being 29 and having breast cancer. The end.
If only life was like that, it would be so wonderful. But of course it's not. Life is nasty and hard. Just when you think you can't handle anymore, something else comes along to show you just how strong and resilient you truly are.
The hubs is a much more private person than I am. Since sharing my story is also sharing his story, it's just another reason he's such a saint. I think given the choice he would've shouldered the burden of my diagnosis with stoic, waspy silence. His boho, hippie, diarrhea-mouthed writer of a girlfriend didn't give him an option. Everyone knew I was sick. Everyone who knew him knew that he was standing by me, even though I tried to respect his privacy but not writing about him too often.
Is there anything hotter than a guy who stays by his (new) girlfriend's side during a cancer diagnosis? As if he wasn't perfect enough, he was also a truly good human.
So, let's review. Dena has cancer. Everyone knows that she's sick. She's blogging about it on the reg, getting some traffic, getting to write for some amazing publications, her boyfriend by her side. Everyone knows they are staying together, that they are living together while she goes through chemo.
Seems like the perfect time to send him a text message and hit on him, right?
Let's set the scene.
Bald headed, pukey Dena is lying in bed next to hubs. It's a random weeknight. Suddenly his phone pings. All she can see is a text message that takes THREE screen swipes. That's a lot of text for a text. Hubs seems confused.
Who is it? Dena says. "It's her." he replies.
I know who her is, she of the late night texts and amazing disappearing acts. I've never met her, but I know who she is. I've seen all the texts she's sent him during our relationship.
I wish I had saved a screenshot, but I was too angry to do anything but cry and force him to delete it.
I will have to paraphrase it here:
Hey, you. Congratulations on your beautiful girlfriend and cute dog. She seems amazing, talking so publicly about being sick. I think you are amazing for staying with her. It seems like your life is about to get super tough and awful taking care of her. You are incredible for putting up with how terrible it's about to get. I just want you to know that if you ever left her, I would understand and I would be here for you. Like HERE for you, like sexually available to be your wife. I think you are the best guy ever and way too good to waste your life on a sick girl, and I don't want you to forget about me or the fact that you have other options besides staying with her. Did I already mention how horrible it's going to be for you taking care of her while she goes through this? xoxo
Let me go back. I tried to end things with hubs several times during all of this. Privately, secretly, I cried as I told him I loved him too much to subject him to this. I clung to him, then pushed him away. The fertility preservation hormones made me crazy. Then I lost my hair and fell apart. It was so hard. I knew how noble, how truly good he was, and that he would never abandon anyone who needed him.
I needed him so badly, but I was also full of pride. I didn't want to be with someone who only wanted to be with me because he was too ashamed to leave. He was a good guy. Good guys don't leave their girlfriends because they have cancer. I checked in with him constantly, assured him regularly that I would defend his decision to leave me with every public breath in my body. Acted awful to try to drive him away. None of it worked. He loved me, too.
Slowly it became too exhausting to feed that much self doubt. I trusted him. I loved him. He loved me. Life was making things hard enough without me trying to make things harder. We just worked. He was there for me in every way I needed to and in exchange, I gave up trying to push him away and let him love me. Let him take care of me. Let him be the good guy he was, my good guy. Maybe possibly my soulmate. It wasn't how normal people figure out if they are meant to spend their lives together, but it was how we did it. Slowly the ugly, "noble" monster who wanted to spare him from this cancer nightmare was wilting inside of me.
Then this text message came and it was like being hit by a car. While on chemo.
Of course I knew there were other girls who wanted him. Of course he could find someone easier, healthier to love. Of course taking care of someone with cancer, who you love, watching them suffer and being rendered totally helpless, is awful. Nothing she said was not true. Hell, I had been thinking it on repeat for months.
Who was I to deserve this amazing guy? I was so many awful things: bald, sick, helpless, fatter than ever, a hormonal mess. If people are checklists, I was winning at losing.
How. Dare. She.
Where is the girl code? I have FREAKING CANCER... Using that as an excuse to steal away MY BOYFRIEND. Of all the nasty, crappy, horrible things to do to another woman.
|reenactment of the horrible text*|