Dating after cancer, the subject that everyone wants to know about, but no one wants to actually discuss. Everyone is different. No one handles any aspect of treatment, or life after treatment the same.
I went SO public with my journey, that if someone asks for my name, they immediately google me and ALL of this crazy shit pops up, even in different languages. GIRL DIAGNOSED WITH STAGE FOUR CANCER! ETC ETC. I sometimes google my name and am like what the actual f#$&? My entire life is on the internet. I have days where I’m like wow, why did I do that? Sometimes I want to be a normal girl who isn’t the one with the crazy cancer story and it bothers me. It’s really not easy having everything out there.
A few weekends ago, my coworker tagged me in something on her Instagram story, and some random person sent her a news article of me by mistake and said “she’s in Coral Gables!”. Random people come up to me often out of the blue. And then reality hits and I did this because I had to. Because there’s no awareness for a young, single, city girl battling cancer, who doesn’t know she’s about to get her a$$ handed to her. None! So many girls just like me message me and cover it up because they’re scared of what people will think. Again, to each their own, and everyone is entitled to handle situations their own way. In my case, this is awareness. My story can change someone’s life. My story has changed people’s lives. My story changed my own life.
Unless you’re in a relationship during chemo, you’re not ready to date anyone after treatment. Straight up, real talk, you’re not ready. This is my opinion, and you can have your own I definitely wasn’t ready. Cancer changes you. Treatment changes you. At the end of the day, you’re not the same person that you were when you first stepped into the hospital. I don’t even recognize that girl. I know for damn sure my doctor doesn’t recognize that girl. You’ll never be the same person. You don’t really know yourself until you lose yourself, and during treatment you lose yourself, but right after treatment..you 100% lose yourself. Goodbye, I lost myself. I’m not even sure if I’m completely back yet, or if i’ll ever be back.
The first year after treatment is a shit show. A total shit show. An absolute and utter shit show. Whoever tells you that it’s not a shit show, is lying. During that time, I can’t imagine taking anyone seriously. I didn’t even take myself seriously. Sometimes I feel like the first year in remission is worse than the actual treatment.
👉🏼You’re still wrapping your head around the fact that you almost died, you were just poisoned and torched alive for how long?
👉🏼You lost any physical identity that you once had, and don’t recognize yourself in the mirror?
👉🏼Not to mention, you’re probably dealing with a crap ton of side effects! You’re going to freak yourself out, you’re going to think you’re relapsing, you’re going to have meltdowns, and this is all okay. This is all normal! It will all get better. It will take time, but it will get better. You will get better.
👉🏼Oh, and not just physical side effects. After treatment, when you’re in remission, you deal with a lot of BS, including not only finding out who you really are, but finding out who your real friends are. Add that on top of dating! (Just when we thought we found out who they were during chemo…ha!) You find out what you want your life to be all about. It’s a time to focus on yourself. You learn to love yourself, because if you don’t love yourself than how can someone else? You learn to be your own hero, because no one is going to come and save you, you have to stand on your own two feet. You have to learn again HOW to stand on your own two feet, and save yourself.
I spent the beginning of my “life after cancer”, acting wreckless. I was so obsessed with living in the moment, that I would just do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me next, so I just lived. Which is great, live. Live while you can. And I think that this is completely normal. However, I was YOLO-ing to the point where I was attracting bad energy, bad people, and last but not least..bad guys! Then again, when you are partying a lot, and hanging out with the wrong girls that do the same, what kind of people do you expect to attract?
I also noticed quickly when something actually happened in life, or I was celebrating a big moment, who would clap for me. I noticed who would comfort me when I had break downs. Unfortunately again, during/after treatment, you have to learn to separate your party friends from your real friends. I still notice who claps for me. It’s funny because a lot of people clapped for me when I was sick, then when I entered remission, and now that I’m doing great things (I hope?) with my life, I started my own company etc, they don’t support, or clap. Simply, because it doesn’t benefit them. It’s okay though, Me pongo coconut oil en el cuerpo para que todo me resbale. I put coconut oil on every day so everything slides, peoples comments, bad vibes, etc.
Back to dating. So the first year, you’re not ready. At least, I don’t think so. In order to be with someone else, you have to love yourself first. You have to love yourself more. It’s not easy losing your physical identity. Tons of insecurity comes with that. I had a “safety blanket” and would only date people in the medical field, because in a way, they “got it”. They understood what I had went through, and could sympathize with it. I realized that this was unhealthy for me, so I stopped. Outside of that bubble, I was super insecure, and a year later, I finally have my confidence back. So again, guess what type of people I was attracting? The wrong ones. The complete wrong ones. But also, how the hell do you explain why you’re wearing a wig and have a port inside your chest to people? I couldn’t even explain it to myself, never mind a guy! In fact, I just really didn’t care to. So, if anyone asks why you aren’t dating immediatly after cancer, ask them if they would date while breast feeding? I just couldn’t with the explanations. “You’re getting deported? Where are you going?” Getting deported means A B C D E F G gotta go, bye.
The most challenging thing that I have faced while dating after cancer is that people just don’t get it. They say things and make comments that you will immediately take the wrong way. After cancer, you just don’t give an F anymore, so it’s easy to cut dumb people off. I ran into a guy I used to date, and he asked me if I was “all cleared up”, as if I had an STD! I had cancer! Goodbye! It’s difficult, and cancer creates an instant bond with others that have been through it. They get it. I’ve made so many amazing friends that have or have had, and even passed away of cancer. They just have a different perspective on life.
👉🏼You have to learn to not expect people to get it, I don’t expect sympathy (shit i could school all of these guys!) but I expect kindness, respect, support, empathy. Not only do I expect it, but I demand it. I expect people to treat me like a human being and act like adults. The first year is the roughest. Everyone says it, and I couldn’t agree with it more.
👉🏼Dating after cancer helps you weed out the good from the bad. Some guys get scared, I’ll be honest. I’ve had guys not talk to me after they found out that I had cancer. My wigs looked so legit that there was zero way that they would ever notice, until they stalked me out on social media. Blessings in disguise! I soon found out what drunk messes they were, or how arrogant they were. Not every guy will be for you, and those ones who are scared of the C word aren’t for you. You can almost weed them out immediately. Why would you want to date someone who has an issue with that anyways?
👉🏼The good guys, they don’t care. They admire it. I was told that there’s nothing more attractive than a woman who has gone through hell and back, and still knows her worth. My life is very different now, but your knight in shining armor WILL come. Trust me. And he will not be disguised in tin foil. So, give yourself a break, and some credit. Cancer is the hardest journey that you will face. Everything else should be easy breezy.