Lung Cancer Patients’ Experiences on Marriage, Relationships, Dating and Sex (Part 1)

At the Zoom meeting early this month, I invited three ladies to talk about the changes in their experiences about marriage, relationships, dating, and sex due to lung cancer. I truly admire these ladies for being so open to speaking about their experiences. It's truly inspiring and hopeful, but at the same time, I can't help hold my tear back.

We have the ladies from Norway, England, Singapore, USA, and Canada who attended the Zoom meeting. Various questions were asked and below is the summary of our conversation.

Times have changed

My name is RD and I am a long term lung cancer survivor. I was 46 years old when I was diagnosed with lung cancer 18 years ago. Back then getting a lung cancer diagnosis was not the same at all as it is today. It was long before we heard about tumor mutations, personalized treatments, and immunotherapies.

Back then getting lung cancer you had 2 options. Either you were lucky to be diagnosed at stage 1 or early stage 2 and you might get surgery, with 50% chances for 5 years survival (only 12% of the people diagnosed had this opportunity) or you got chemotherapy and radiation with 2% chances for 5-year survival. 50% of lung cancer patients died within the first year after the diagnose.

A failed relationship due to lung cancer

When I was diagnosed I was single. I started to date a guy from work a couple of months earlier and I liked him a lot. But nobody around us knew about it. We wanted to keep it for ourselves before being certain that this was something we wanted to commit too. I really hoped to have him in my life to help me through this, but sadly I realized that this would not happen, as he was not even able to come along to visit me while I was at the hospital after my surgery. He came with other work colleagues (that did not know we were somehow a couple) and he did not act as my boyfriend either.

This was a very difficult period for me, and I was very sad about his behavior but I managed. Sometime later when he realized I would survive this he tried to come back, but I answered thanks, but no thanks. It was over with him.

Cancer changes us

Being diagnosed with lung cancer has resulted in many changes in my personal relationship since it changes me as a person. I had some very good friends that I lost since they were not able to deal with my diagnosis at the beginning and the new me later on. But I got a lot of new friends too, and I still have them.

Four years after my diagnosis I decided to move to another city to allow myself to start a new life. I did not talk about my lung cancer during job interviews as I knew it might impact the decision making of the interviewers. After a while, I got a job and moved.

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