Dating after cancer

August 14, 2014

 

By Corrina Cameron

2014 08 12 Corrina CameronI was scared to date Dave. Not because Dave was a bad person, but because Dave was wonderful. He was stable, compassionate, intelligent, considerate, generous — everything I was looking for and much more. He asked me out for coffee and it went great. We went for coffee again and it was even better! Then he asked me out to dinner. Ok, this is getting serious. He must really like me, and I really like him. At this point, a mix of emotions came over me: a dose excitement and a counter balancing measure of dread. You see, at this point I had not told him I recently had cancer. Dave’s knowledge of this fact could change everything.

At the age of 19, I was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, which they removed with surgery. When I met Dave, I was 23 years old and under surveillance (regular CT scans and blood tests for early detection of recurrence). I dreaded the moment I would have to tell him about this. I imagined three scenarios that could happen once I told him the news:

Scenario Number 1: He gets scared of the “C” word and stops asking me out on dates. It would be understandable. After all, who would want to mix themselves up intentionally with something so…hard.

Scenario Number 2: He asks me to date him anyways, but later decides that the “cancer thing” is too much for him. We break up. I prefer scenario number 1 to this. Less messy.

Scenario Number 3: He doesn’t care about the cancer thing and wants to live happily ever after with me — YEAH, RIGHT! Who in their right mind would do that?

Before he picked me up for dinner I was nervously pacing in my apartment. Pacing turned to shaking, shaking turned to hyperventilating. “Pull yourself together, Corrina.” By the time he arrived, I was faking composure pretty well.

We had a lovely dinner, but the restaurant was laughably loud. I didn’t feel that shouting my dreaded news over the dinner was a good idea. We changed locations for coffee, but I could not muster the courage to speak of my situation. After coffee, we went for a stroll under the starry sky and happened upon a soccer field. We sat on the dewy grass and looked up at the moon. In the quiet of the night, I finally shared what was on my heart. “Dave, there’s something you should know about me.” I started to feel jittery from the nervousness, but I couldn’t stop speaking now. The flood gates were open. Once I had finished sharing my dreaded news, there was a deadening silence. I felt like disappearing. What will he do? What will he say? Have I screwed everything up?

Dave put his arm around my shoulders and chose scenario number 3 without realizing. He said that he didn’t care if I had recently had cancer and might get it again. It didn’t change his mind about wanting to date me. Whether we were together two weeks, two months, two years, or two decades he wanted to be a part of my life. “Would you date me, Corrina?”

Through tears I replied that I would and joyously accepted a tight squeeze and a tender kiss on my head.

A year later I would find myself saying “yes” to Dave once more, but this time it was in front of all our family and friends. We have been happily married ever since. Dave has been there for me through all the ups and downs of being a cancer survivor. I am so thankful for him.

Before Dave, I had begun to believe the lie that I wasn’t going to find anyone crazy enough to fall in love with a cancer survivor and tie the knot. I was wrong. I had never been so happy to be wrong.

Check out Corrina’s survivor profile for more!

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