After I was diagnosed and finished the battle, the next scariest thought was, “How do I explain to my next boyfriend that it may not be my last battle?” The idea seemed like a romantic movie. Girl becomes sick, girl meets cute boy, and boy accepts this illness because their love is so great. It’s pretty realistic to imagine I may not have seen the last of cancer at 19, but at which date do I bring that up? When do I approach the subject?
Finding relief on date #3
I chose date number three. In my mind, by date three he’s met my parents, I might’ve eaten a little more at dinner, and maybe (definitely) I wore stretchy pants and less makeup. I remember it pretty vividly. We went to high school together so thanks to social media, he had known a little bit about my diagnosis but not enough that I could skim over the story. As I walked him through the steps, I noticed a different vibe between us. He was much more concerned about this past situation than some of people in my life were when it was presently happening. He asked questions, he wanted to see pictures of the cancerous area and he even asked how my parents reacted. It was such a fantastic conversation, it was almost relieving.
Living in constant fear of recurrence
When I was diagnosed, I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship which made the thought of going through it again almost suffocating. By this point, I had shared my story enough to know the cues if I was getting through to someone about the serious dangers or if someone was just nodding to be polite. He not only nodded but the story took his breath away and he continuously just kept saying how strong I am. Great third date, right? So, I took a moment, and then I stated the dreaded sentences, “I can’t promise that I won’t have a couple of really bad scares where I call my dermatologist and am seen immediately, or that I won’t tell you about the nights I toss and turn all night waiting for a biopsy result to come back.” I didn’t expect much but I hoped for a lot. Seven months, a PET scan scare, and an appendectomy later, he somehow manages to keep me sane.
Sharing your melanoma story
I didn’t write this blog for any reason other than life is scary and melanoma sucks. However, it’s a little less scary when you have a really nice smile to see after any appointment. Whether it be a friend, a parent, a sibling, or significant other, find that hand to hold. Tell your story. It will break through to someone and eventually you will find relief. It’s not baggage to be ashamed of, it’s not just a scar, it’s your story.