I want to preface this post by saying that this is my version of things, my perspective.
I understand and respect that my ex-husband would have his own version. He is a great person. This post explores my feelings during our marriage while going through cancer.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had been married for three years to D.
His mom had had breast cancer a few years earlier. I remember the day I saw her after she lost her hair. She was very upset, but I could not find the right thing to say. I just hugged her and stayed quiet.
Little did I know that a few years later I would be coping with the same thing.
When I saw D’s mom after my diagnosis I cried. I cried because I finally understood what she had gone through. Maybe my insensitivity wasn’t noticeable on the outside but I asked for her forgiveness anyway. I wasn’t there for her in the way I should have been and the way I was going to need her there for me.
D’s family was wonderful.
I’m sure my diagnosis was very hard on him but he did not show it much. He was physically with me every step of the way yet somehow he felt distant. Maybe scared.
It is inevitable to sometimes wonder what went wrong in our marriage and if divorcing was inevitable or if cancer played a role. The worst was when I thought maybe cancer magnified why we didn’t belong together. As implausible as it sounds, cancer brought us closer and distanced us all at the same time.
My treatment lasted a year and a half. That’s when we were the strongest as a couple. Breast cancer united us. It was all about us. We were fighting together.
After I was done with treatment something changed. I started to realize that we did not see life the same way. I wanted to find a way to make us strong as a couple again. I knew he wanted a family, but starting a biological one was not going to be an option for a while.
Maybe if I had not gone through what I did, things would have been different. But I had evolved. I had a newly acquired zest for life.
Going through breast cancer changed what I wanted out of life. I wanted to learn different things, take on new challenges and visit new places. I knew that life could be taken away from me (or anyone else) at any time.
For D, life went back to normal after my treatment was over. For me, it was a new beginning, an awakening, a rebirth…
How could I see life the same way as before my diagnosis? I needed a companion that could share my joie de vivre, my nonsense, my laughter for silly things and my essence.
I began thinking D just did not appreciate who I was, the real me. He wanted something that I could not be. I was not willing to pretend to be something I wasn’t, not after I went through an experience like breast cancer. Before I allowed him to be the leader but after cancer, I wanted a partner instead.
At the moment I thought, “I didn’t survive to have an existence where I don’t feel like I am living at all.”
It was a challenging situation. I was with someone who I admired for his discipline, hard work, family values, and integrity but who was, at the same time, crushing my spirit. I resisted the idea of getting a divorce. I was scared.
This is why I didn’t run away immediately. I spent the next two years trying to figure out, should I stay or should I go?