Love and Lung Cancer

I will be honest; I was never too lucky in the love department. In my teens and for most of my 20s I was always the single friend or the third wheel. I had a close group of guy friends but no love interests. I met Robert when I was 29 in 2012 and we only got to date a little bit before I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at 30.

Diagnosed after we started dating

I started having chest pain in April 2014 and it increased in severity as the weekend went on. We had just spent time with his family at a birthday dinner and had decided to go back to the family member's house to play board games. We got into the driveway to the family member's house and my sister called. I remember bursting into tears because my chest hurt so bad. She spoke with Robert and it was decided that I needed to go to the emergency room as soon as possible because this was certainly not normal.

I had a five-day hospital stay before I was diagnosed, and I remember him visiting me and we watched TV on the small in-room TVs. We did not think it was cancer at the time and I remember when they did say the C-word I called him and he came up to the hospital right away.

Robert has been my rock

When we found out it was lung cancer it was exceedingly difficult on him because he lost his dad a few years prior to the same disease. But even with that bearing on his mind, he stuck with me. I started treatment at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago and in the beginning, I had an extensive hospital stay. Between him and my family, there was always someone with me.

I have had many treatments in the last few years and they have done a number to my body. I found myself very weak and we honestly thought that I didn’t have much time. On Valentine's day, he proposed, and I said yes. We didn’t get married right away and actually took about a year of just being engaged. In 2016, we decided it was time and we got married on December 17, 2016.

Building a life we love

I always say that I have 3 caregivers. My sister helps with the clinical topics, administering meds, and deciphering the medical lingo at appointments. My mom has helped to keep me distracted, moving, and fed. Robert has been here to remind me that I am capable of being loved and he keeps me grounded.

Together over the last few years, we have built a life we love. We have both changed jobs and we moved into our own home in 2019. We have 3 fur babies and due to my cancer diagnosis have decided to not pursue biological children.

I am lucky that I do not have to “date after cancer” but that is also a challenge that many young adults with a cancer diagnosis face. Do you have a topic that you have faced as a young adult with cancer? Share it in the comments.

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