This is one of several essays from my private cancer journal. It is not intended as anything than a record of my states of mind as I struggled with the disease and the effects of the treatment.
Another Dead End: Meaningful Relationships
February 2, 2000
I realized today that I face another dead end. (How ironic that phrase is now.)
Once I get to wherever I decide to live and work, what woman will be interested in a relationship with a man dying of cancer?
I had thought of a completely different problem. I worried about meeting a woman that I really liked and I would have to tell her I'm impotent because of the treatment. Now I realize that I have to just tell her that I have terminal cancer.
What woman would want a relationship with a dying man?
Other than Caren, he says, realizing there is an answer to the question.
Okay, other than Caren, he comes back. Who else?
When I was thinking of this today, it put me on the verge of depression. I had imagined being in a new beautiful city and having a new life, meeting new people etc. Now I see the dead end. This is what it is like for people who are HIV-positive. They can only date people who are HIV-positive.
Now I understand.
I can see how alone I am going to be. I'm about to be 62, so there is my age too.
It is several hours since I wrote that last line. After I wrote it, I had to stop. I went into the kitchen to start supper to get my mind on something else but I broke down completely.
This damned cancer. I keep finding elements of my life that it is destroying, besides my body.
I need to find how others like me have dealt with it.
Someone on the prostate cancer list suggested - in response to one of my postings about the frustration in coming to grips with all that needs to be known about PCa - that I find one part of PCa that interests me and concentrate on that only. The more I thought on it, the more I realized he was right. But I'm not interested in any of the physical aspects. I'm interested in the psychological and spiritual effects of cancer, such as the above. How have others dealt with it? How should we deal with it?
That might be my niche, someplace where I can contribute: the psychology of cancer, but not as a psychologist but as a cancer patient. Maybe we can bring something to the subject that the stand-off professionals miss.
I need to find out.