Relationships are hard even without a cancer diagnosis involved. They take a tragic turn, however, when one of the partners decides they can’t handle it and walk away leaving the cancer patient to face the world and their cancer battle alone and afraid!
This Cancer Horizons Community has grown from a concept in November of last year to over 60,000 strong in only 9 months and picking up speed as we go along. In that time period we have been in awe at the class and poise exhibited by those submitting their cancer stories of faith, courage, family, love and triumph as they each battle and win in their own way.
Unfortunately there have been far too many that had very different stories. These personal stories were filled with pain, betrayal, loss, abandonment, separation, divorce, and fear — the majority resulting from one of the spouses (usually the husband, sorry guys) that just couldn’t handle the change a cancer diagnosis brought to the relationship and selfishly moving out and leaving the cancer patient physically, financially, and emotionally scarred in the process.
We honor all of the great men and women who willingly and with great personal sacrifice take on the role of “caregiver” to their spouse or partner. Your love, courage and support have meant everything to them in the process of eventually being able to say “I Am Cancer Free.” The love and bond forged during those moments between husband and wife where emotions are raw, the task of caring for physical needs daunting, fear of the future overpowering, and the always present self-doubt that your care and compassion is not enough. These months and years of care define your relationship and the love you feel for one another forever.
If a spouse decides to leave a relationship because he or she is inconvenienced by the responsibility, frustrated that their lover is no longer responsive to their needs, unwilling to bear the costs associated with treatment, mean and abusive because of the physical change in their partner’s appearance due to their treatment, or for any other of a hundred weak excuses, we say to you that there is a special place reserved in the universe for someone like you that purposely leaves when you are absolutely needed to most.
Our purpose is certainly not to condemn anyone’s choices because that is not our right. It is to simply hope that before a decision to leave for the sake of convenience is made that all of the facts are weighed carefully and he or she is able to search their own heart and soul and find an extra boost of compassion, caring, empathy, love, and willingness to serve and stay in that relationship.
Life is complicated for everyone and always changing. Nobody asks for cancer. They just learn to deal with it and find ways to stay up, positive, and hopeful during some very painful and anxious moments. Nobody expects a spouse or partner to contract this terrible disease. They can only adapt and learn how to care for their sweetheart regardless of their current condition as a true caregiver and face boldly the daunting task ahead.
For those spouses that cut and run, our hope is that this life doesn’t present a final bill to you in the form of a debilitating disease leaving you to face the world and that disease alone, same as you left someone else months or perhaps years earlier.