To The Woman I Love
To the woman I love,
I’m sorry I got sick. I’m sorry that so much has changed from the way it use to be. I know you are happy I am still alive to share the life we have created but there is more. I see it just below the surface. I hear it in the night when you cry in your sleep. I see the sadness in your eyes when you don’t know I’m looking. I sense the frustration, loneliness, and emptiness you hide so well. I know you feel unattractive. I know you just want to be wanted. I wish it was different. I wish I could take back what this disease has robbed from us. You deserve so much more than this.
Our life together
I remember the way we use to be. Before cancer. Before hormones. Before everything changed! I remember the passion. I remembered all those days and nights spent tangled in each other arms. It seems long ago. Another life! Another man. You are still the most beautiful woman I have ever known. You are still the very best part of me. My body has betrayed me. That part of who I am may have died already.
Losing myself to cancer
I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to lose that special part of who we are. I feel nothing. No passion! No desire! I try. I really do try but I don’t feel like a man anymore. I know I am more than that part of me. I know we are more than that part of us but without it often feels like we are losing the rest of who we are. Each time we try to go there I get scared. I am afraid that even with medication my body won’t function. I fear that even if we are able to make love that it won’t be the same. I can’t get it out of my head. When you touch me I withdraw. My first reaction is to push you away. I hate this disease. I hate what it has done to us.
Nothing about this disease is fair. It’s not fair you have been forced into the role of caregiver. It is not fair that the best years of your life will be spent taking care of me. Other couples are planning for retirement. It’s hard for us to look that far ahead. Most of my financial planning does not include me being part of it.
Promises I promise to keep
I promise to keep looking and planning for our future as best I can knowing there is no guarantee. I will continue to fight this disease every day. I will not give up on physical intimacy. I will carry as much of the burden of cancer as I can. On your sad days, I will try to understand.
On our wedding day, despite a terrible prognosis, I promised you 30 years together. I intend to be here for you at least that long. We have no promise of tomorrow. I guess that is true for every couple but most rarely think about it. We are forced to live with a constant reminder that growing old together may not be in our future. You have given me a reason to try. You have given me a reason to fight. You are my reason to live. I love you.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?