How to cope with an expected death of a partner

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Herstory
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How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Herstory » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:08 am

It’s been a while since I posted but a lot has happened since then. I finally met the love of my life. Someone who loves me for all of who I am, and not just the parts they think are worthy of love. Someone who cares about me, and not just for their own personal gain. Someone who understands all of me, and not just chunks of me. He’s made me feel so loved, so valued, so worthy. None of my partners ever made me feel that way or treated me as beautifully and as well as he does. And I’ve never felt the feelings I feel for him about anyone else. I never believed in soulmates before, but after meeting him and having him in my life, I do now. It’s like I’ve always known him and it’s a feeling I just can’t explain. But now things are starting to get serious. He has brain cancer. He recently told me that it’s spreading. We go out on dates and sometimes he goes temporarily blind or temporarily death. He’s been getting big headaches. He’s been feeling weak. And I’m just there to hold him and suffer silently as I witness him endure the pain. He doesn’t think he has much time left. I still have hope, like any partner would, that by some miracle he makes it out alive and we get the happy ending we’ve both always deserved but never had. But when I see these moments, I know that’s its highly unlikely. It’s wishful thinking on my part. And everything that I felt before about my preferences, about my sexuality, about myself are all secondary in the light of death. I don’t care about them anymore, especially after experiencing sex and a relationship with him, someone who truly and unconditionally loves me and I’m just not ready to let him go. I’m scafed. He’s scared. We’re both so scared. Scared and angry and sad and hurt and disappointed. We just found each other and now it’s very likely he’ll leave my life for good. I just don’t understand why I would met my soulmate just to have him leave my life as quick as he came in it. It doesn’t make any sense to me and I’m suffering so much at the thought of losing him. How do I cope with this? What do I do? What can I do? Why is this happening? I just don’t understand. Just why?

Heather
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Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Heather » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:29 am

Herstory: I'm very sorry to hear that someone you care about so deeply is ill like this. And I'm certainly sorry to hear about any kind of tragedy or other hardship associated with this new relationship that has been so otherwise positive for and so important to you.

There's a lot to potentially talk about here, but I want to start by voicing some concerns and with a couple basic questions.

It doesn't sound like this person actually has a clear diagnosis, prognosis or treatment plan, or if they do, it doesn't sound like they're sharing them with you. Someone diagnosed with any form of cancer of the brain is typically going to have a lot more information than it sounds like this person has (or is sharing with you), as well as some kinds of treatment, both for the cancer and its symptoms. It sounds like you're saying one thing that has you both so scared is not knowing what is going on; is not knowing anything, really, about what is happening here. But if this person has a medical diagnosis of cancer, they should have a LOT more information than it sounds like.

Can you fill me in more on the whole picture here? Is this a new diagnosis? Are they currently getting sound treatment and care? Even though this is a brand new relationship, it sounds like you two have gotten very close very fast, so can you go along with them to their next oncology appointment so, at the very least, both of you can be less scared and uncertain -- and also be sure you're even doing what you should be during times he's reporting things like massive headaches and loss of vision -- by getting more solid information?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Herstory
not a newbie
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:17 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: Scientist and Artist at work
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bisexual
Location: Florida

Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Herstory » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:22 am

He was diagnosed with a malignant type of meningioma around a year ago. It was stage two. He got surgery to remove it and it was successful, but there was still some left. It also left him without vision in one of his eyes and without hearing in one of his ears. He had to continue with chemo because the tumor was not gone. The chemo wasn’t working a while, so he had to go to see specialized care in another state to get another surgery to remove more of it and receive a full week of chemo. He got a lot better and the doctors predicted that he would go into remission soon. But recently his vision has been going blank and sometimes his hearing goes blank too. He decided to go to the doctor to get that checked and they ran a hormone test and some other test I can’t remember. The results came back that his cancer was spreading to the other side of his brain and he would need yet another surgery to remove it. It’s a very dangerous procedure because he has a blood clot at the spot where it’s located. The doctor said the chance of him surviving that one is slim. He doesn’t want to go through the surgery and I don’t even know what to do or what to tell him. I want him to go through surgery because there’s still a small chance he might make it, but at the same time he doesn’t want to risk it. He is getting sound treatment and care, but I think at this point there’s only so much they can do.

Jacob
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Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Jacob » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:44 pm

Hi Herstory,

It sounds like this has been a part of his life for at least a year. I wonder if he's told you what he'd like from you and this relationship in the couple of months you've been involved with each other? Is his cancer something he brought up when you started dating?

I ask because it can make a big difference what he wants from this.

One thing I would be careful of is romanticizing your partner too much. People with serious illnesses are still people... with qualities and flaws like anyone else. Just being there can be all the support someone needs, but falling into thoughts about a soulmate being 'taken away' can stand in the way of having a more honest conversation about what we can and can't give.
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You

Herstory
not a newbie
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:17 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: Scientist and Artist at work
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bisexual
Location: Florida

Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Herstory » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:45 pm

He just wants to be with me. He wants to go on dates with me, have conversations with me, dance with me, just do everything he can with me. We have a bucket list of things to do together and the list keeps growing. He wants our relationship to be as normal as it can be given the circumstances. He doesn’t want me to worry about his illness because he thinks it’s a burden to me, but honestly I do worry about him because I love him. I don’t think I can just not worry about it.
In terms of romanticizing my partner, I know that it’s been a very short amount of time that we spent dating, but I feel it in my heart and in my soul that he is the one for me. I’ve never felt this way, so deeply in love with someone, in such a short amount of time and as strong as I feel it right now. I knew it since the very first day we spoke. I knew it even before we talked, when we just glanced at each other in class. I can’t explain it, and neither can he, but we’re madly in love with each other and it’s something neither of us have ever experienced before. I know he’s human and that he has flaws and that I have flaws and that we’re both not perfect. I am entirely aware of it. But we have such a strong connection that I just can’t explain. I wish I could. And I wish I could take his illness away. I really do. I wish I could snap my fingers and just eliminate the cancer entirely but I can’t and it saddens me to my core. This is a person I see myself having a family with, spending a good chunk of my life with, and the thought of losing him kills me. He apologizes to me sometimes, saying he’s sorry we don’t have more time together and that he just found me and he’s not ready lose me. I feel the same way about him. My life was turned upside down, inside out in such a short period of time but I don’t regret any of it. I just wish I could do more. I wish I had more power over this situation, but I don’t. I don’t have control over what I feel for him and I don’t have control over the cancer that could potentially end his life sooner than we thought. But I have control over the time I spend with him, to enjoy every moment we have together because we both don’t know if it will be our last one together.

Siân
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Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Siân » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:43 am

Hi Herstory,

I am glad you have spoken about what you both want from this, and are trying to enjoy as your time together to the full. It's hard to feel powerless in the face of unchangeable things like serious illness, but his options for treatment are his to choose - at the end of the day it's up to him to decide if he wants to pursue surgery or not.

I think one of the best things you could do for yourself right now is to look into networks or support groups for the friends and family of people with cancer, speaking to other people in a similar situation is a good way to help you process your feelings and get support for yourself so that your relationship isn't also the main place you work through all these feelings. What do you think?

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 7182
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
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Location: Chicago

Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Heather » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:59 am

As an addition, I think it also might be helpful if you each made a list of what you both want and need from each other when it comes to his illness. Obviously, you're going to want to be extra mindful about yours and what you ask for on it, since he is the person with the far greater burden here, but I think so long as you do that, each of you seeing what the other one wants and needs in a clear way could give you a good foundation to see where you can meet in the middle in ways that work for both of you.

For example, maybe to feel less scared, you'd like to be come to one of his oncology visits and talk to his healthcare provider yourself, asking the questions you have. Maybe to help alleviate his guilt about the ways this makes you suffer, he'd like a certain number of days in the week where you two just don't talk about his illness or its possible outcomes. These are just possible examples: get what I mean?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Herstory
not a newbie
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:17 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: Scientist and Artist at work
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bisexual
Location: Florida

Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Herstory » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:13 pm

Definitely. We try to communicate as much as possible. And so far, we’ve had a very beautiful, loving, and deep relationship. He agreed to take me to come with him to see his doctor next week and we’re also trying to not bring his illness up when we see each other unless it’s vital to talk about. We’re both trying to make the most of the situation. But regardless of what happens, I’m just grateful I met him and have this time with him, even if it’s limited. He really taught me about self love and self acceptance and it’s hard to imagine where I’d be without him. He makes me a better person and that’s something that I’ll hold with me for the rest of my life. I have been seeking lots of support from my friends, my academic mentors, and therapist about this and they’ve all given me great advice. My best friend told me that although he won’t be there for the rest of my life, I will be there for the rest of his and that’s what counts. My mentor told me that it’s ok to take a break and just spend time with loved ones, even if it’s just sitting there with them because they’re too weak to do anything. My therapist told me I need to practice self care to and not forget to take care of myself because it’s causing me a lot of stress. My grandma told me that I can’t focus on the future because I really don’t know what’s going to happen so take it a day at a time. All good advice. I’m greatful to have good people surrounding me helping me through this.

Jacob
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 767
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:33 am
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Re: How to cope with an expected death of a partner

Unread postby Jacob » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:36 am

Hi Herstory, it sounds like you have a lot of support around you! That is great to hear!
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You


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