How Cancer Breaks Your Heart
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Health and Wellness

Cancer Is Like A Bad Ex-Boyfriend Who Lingers Even After You've Broken Up

This disease will break your heart more than once.

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Cancer Is Like A Bad Ex-Boyfriend Who Lingers Even After You've Broken Up

Cancer is a six-letter word that holds a lot of power. If cancer was to be personified, it could be described as the most progressive and liberal person to date. Unlike a lot of the people that we encounter in today's world, though we try to be unbiased, it is in our human nature and DNA to have expectations and assumptions about people. We see gender based on names, colors, and even make assumptions based on how people dress. The only thing that can undoubtedly not see people based on color, race, gender, social class, education, origin, who people love, and the list goes on, is cancer.

In my experience, it helped to personify cancer. I think it was in some way taking the power out of a disease that I quite literally had no control over. To put it simply, despite its original progressive nature, cancer goes sour like expired milk. I thought of cancer like the good ole ex-boyfriend that you could never get away from. A classic "Brad or Chad," if you will.

Cancer has the tendency to break your heart more than once.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes you are able to break away from this so-called "Brad or Chad," those who are able to delete, block, and refrain from seeing are the survivors who end up in remission. But then sometimes after the break-up, just when you feel like you're completely moving on, bettering yourself, having that healthy glow, they tend to sneak right back in. They tell you, "But this time it will be different." But the reality that we might know all too well is that it's not. These are the unlucky few who see the gleam of hope or the light of the end at the tunnel and take an unexpected turn.

The reality is that when the cancer comes back, it's still treatment, hospital chairs, and hoping that there will be this pivotal moment. Sometimes there is, but other times the hope leads to major disappointment.

Then there are people who are "perpetually stuck." They don't want to be in the relationship, but they also still love that person. Those are the people who continue to get heartbroken.

This is a story similar to what my dad had gone through. Cancer had flirted with my dad, given him some signs that it was there, and then they officially went into a courtship. In March they were "talking," but still had no official title — it could go either way. He was stage 3 pancreatic cancer, so there were options. Surgery and treatment of the strongest chemo (F5 or folfirinox) were the best choices.

This is the stage of the relationship where you feel one person pulling away. There's a change, a loss of hope and innocence and you know there's about to be a major change. That was the diagnosis of Stage 4. Treatment was still there but technically pancreatic cancer is only curable if surgery is performed.

Then you enter the heartbreak stage.

You sit there and hope that they'll come back around. They'll realize that they made some sort of mistake. On occasion they do — they will check in see how you've been. Those are like the good days. I compare those to the days without chemo or the days where the chemo didn't mess with his taste buds or how he felt. The "normal" days. But then there are the days where you see a shell of the person you used to know and you watch this person changing without you, and like a bad break-up, you have no control. Then there's the waiting period of how this is going to end. And then they finally move on. You can't contact them anymore. I compared this to my dad's passing.

You hope that they're at peace and happy wherever they are, but the line of communication is no longer open.

And finally, grief. Like any loss, you experience grief. There are days where you feel normal as if nothing ever happened, and then there are days where you feel like there's so much you could tell that person. It's as small as hearing a song, seeing an old picture, or even driving past an old place you used to go together — it hurts. But there is a silver lining in grief no matter what the case is. There is a sense of relief and peace. Relief that the hardest part is over and that the only place to go from the start of grief is to go up.

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