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.
Mainly for single or unattached men with PCa
(I posted this to several mailing lists today.)
While I have some personal good news to pass on, the subject line indicates
that I would really like to direct it to the single/unattached men with PCa.
Over the nearly last 3 years that I've been on these lists, I've come in
contact with a number of single/unattached men who were struggling with
their status, because of the side effects of treatment. It seriously
effected their confidence as a man. They felt like "damaged goods," asking what woman would want them?
Well, here is my news: This package of "damaged goods" is getting married
to my Caren next month.
Let me add some background, for the relevancy to single/unattached men.
I was diagnosed on 11/23/99, while living with Caren. We had been dating
for months before that. Because my own condition was so advanced, the
treatment was hormone therapy, which wiped out not only my potency but also
my libido, which was a black hole that I really had to deal with.
Although my "sexuality" was completely blitzed, she endured it, much to my
amazement. A couple of times, I even asked her why and she -- of course --
gave a loving response, but it never really hit me as to what it meant.
So while we lived together in a sexless but otherwise happy relationship, I
couldn't think of asking her to marry me. I really wanted to but, like
other "damaged goods" men, I couldn't imagine she would want to do that. It
would be like buying a badly running car that may not even make it off the
lot. Additionally, she had lost her dad (they had been very close) to
stomach cancer a few years back. Why would she want ME and the possibility
of going through THAT again.
And I am not getting "better." My last PSA (August) came back as 199 (as in
one short of two hundred), meaning I am running out of options. (Newest
treatment is HDK+HC.)
A few weeks ago, the subject of marriage came up again. I told her that it
would be nice but I knew she wouldn't want to marry me, and gave her the
reasons: impotent, sexless, terminal cancer, blah, blah, blah.
Well, guess what she said?
She said she thought I didn't want to marry HER because of a list that SHE
had about HERSELF: she is diabetic, blah, blah, blah, none of which
were relevant to ME at all, just as, it turns out, the items on MY list
were not relevant to HER.
So there we were, each with our own little lists as to why the other one
wouldn't marry us, convinced and totally wrong.
A few minutes later (after composing myself at this realization as to what
this woman was to me), I asked her to marry me and she said yes.
Okay, enough of the "good news" part.
Here is the relevancy to single/unattached PCa men.
IT CAN BE DONE.
Excuse me for "shouting" but I want this message to get through.
I know that I am hardly the first and I also know that I am incredibly
lucky to find a woman like her but IT CAN BE DONE.
I can't give advice on HOW to find a companion. We each have our own lives.
I merely know personally that it can be done because I AM DOING IT.
Don't think that just because PCa treatment has turned you into a walking
pile of "damaged goods" that no one would want you. That is YOUR decision. It may be a rule or law in YOUR world but it does not exist in the REAL
world, the one you share with that other person. It may take more work to
find them but, hey, wouldn't it be worth it?
And, yes, I don't have a continence problem so if you have that, sure, you
can try to make yourself an exception because it didn't happen to me.
But I will speak to it anyway.
I know that if I were also incontinent, it wouldn't make a difference to my
Caren. I can say that for what she has already been through with me (and
her dad) and how we are together. And she really knows my current status.
Personally, this journey (especially the last few weeks) has given me
incredible insights into relationships and my own history with them, which
is another story. We each have our own.
If you are wishing or have wished for someone who will accept you for who
you are today but think it can't be done because you are "damaged goods,"
you are wrong. That is YOUR idea of it and maybe you need to change your mind.
Whatever you have on your "list" as to why no one could possible accept
you, note that it is YOUR list and will not be relevant at all to that
That is my message.
It can be done.
[There were over 200 responses, many speaking to relationships. I have compiled some of the replies.]