Author: Heather L
Next February, me and cancer will mark our ten year anniversary. I feel ok to admit that the relationship has been drifting and we’re not thinking about each other all the time like we used to. But the cancer announced that it was metastatic seven years ago, meaning that it’s never going to completely move out. Yes we’re living in the same house filled with memories that we’ve collected together over the past ten years, but those memories are less important to me now than they used to be.
When cancer first moved in, me and it - ‘us’ - was all I could think about. Then two years later, after we had been through so much together, I thought about moving on. It was a struggle, as when you live together you start to absorb each other’s moods. Cancer was defined by fear so I became defined by fear. Then we tried to break up, but it didn’t happen. A crisis point in our relationship meant we needed to work through a few things in order to move forward. There was only one thing for it. We would need to have more treatment together; A LOT more treatment together. That was a hard stage in our relationship, but both me and cancer are less angry for it. In fact cancer now stays at home most of the time and sits around in its dressing gown watching daytime TV, barely nodding to acknowledge me even when we’re in the same room.
What I’m really saying is that we’ve come to the point where I need to feel brave and leave cancer to sit on the sofa all day preoccupied by its friends anastrazole, zoladex and ibandronic acid while I go out and, dare I even whisper it, chase some non-cancer related ambitions. I’ve spent so much time on my relationship with cancer that I now want other things. But I’ve discovered that past relationships can sometimes make establishing new ones difficult. At what stage do I mention cancer and what we went through together? How will someone new feel if I tell them that I’m still co-habiting with my ex? But cancer and I, we barely talk, so co-habiting with your ex is surely socially acceptable in this day and age. Right?