After reading Leslie Rott's blog on Kairol Rosenthal's blog, about intimacy and illness, it really struck a cord.
This weekend has been like many of those weekends when I'm waiting , my friend Pat is waiting, for results. This time after having gone through the first round of cancer treatment, they found a blip on the PET scan so did a biopsy on his tail bone. The doctor said he didn't think it was anything, but wanted to do a biopsy to be sure. Is it or isn't it? We know it's not cancer. Certainly not again. After all he's been through. I look into the eyes of a man 40 lbs lighter, whose sense of self, swings from warrior- like confidence to sheepish reserve , and I pray. That's all I can do since I chose to take this ride with him, some 8 months ago. Yes, chose. We had been a relationship for about 6 months, fighting for time together since it started. As an older single mother of almost 50, with an 11 year old at home, it's hard to have a relationship where there is any real quality time. I have to continually choose to go on, be strong, and know that this is where I'm supposed to be.
Throw a severe illness into the midst, and it's amazing how one can achieve any intimacy at all. Or you can have the most profound intimacy you ever dreamed of. The thing that is so surreal about having a relationship with someone who has had cancer ( I say has had, because I pray, I name and claim that there will be no more cancer in the results tommorow) is there are so many emotions, it's hard to sort them all out. My heart is so invested in this man, I find myself having insecurties and jealousies that would be normal, I guess, under normal circumstances but ludicrous under the current situation. He's just trying to get through, to cope, to maintain some kind of dignity in this whole thing. Having his teeth pulled and his jaw bone continue to splinter, it wasn't logical to be fitted for dentures, with a mouth that hasn't healed. So he has had to go without teeth for 6 months, cope with boil size acne, and deal with the looks of the public as if he's drugged out on crank.
What is so humbling about the experience as a by-stander is how utterly strong and brave he is. Continual let downs and acts of endurance, just over and over and over again. Feeling bad , really bad, near death, and still Pat maintains such a patient reserve, and sense of humor. I've never had to go through anything. Brought up with both parents in white-bread suburbia, I've had two hospital stays, being born and giving birth. Going to hell and back with a person is the most intimate you can get. It's shows you what your made of, what's important and gives you the ultimate gift--to give to someone in their darkest time of need.