I always say that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was single. That’s not entirely true; I had a boyfriend. I don’t talk about him much. He was a very nice guy and I thought I loved him. He, however, didn’t love me back. I stayed with him for much longer than I should have.
There’s this phrase that I couldn’t stop thinking about in the years after my mastectomy. “Damaged Goods.” It means different things to different people, and in my case I just couldn’t believe that anyone would love me after my breast cancer surgeries. It’s one of the reasons I stayed with a man who didn’t love me.
A relationship can’t last long without love, and after we had been dating for about two years, that boyfriend and I finally broke up. I had a couple of dates, but I never got to the point where I told another man that I had had cancer.
Then along came Ed.
Ed and I knew each other for years. We both went to the same church and said “Hi” to each other every Sunday. I had a little crush on him. Finally, I worked up the nerve to ask him out for coffee.
It only took one date to know that we were going to start seeing a lot of each other.
And when I saw him smiling at me from across the gym Easter morning during our church’s brunch, I knew.
I knew he didn’t care what I had gone through.
I knew he didn’t think of me as damaged goods.
He gave me a smile that was just for me.
Two years into our relationship, he pulled out a ring and asked me to be his wife.
A long time ago, I asked him to write about how he feels, being married to a breast cancer survivor. Ed wrote,
I seldom think about my wife’s history with cancer. Maybe it’s because I’m wearing blinders, or maybe it’s because there’s really nothing different about her that’s due to her cancer. Although it’s a part of who she is, I tend to focus on other things a whole lot more.
Ten years into our marriage, we both focus on a whole lot more. We focus on our daughters and our family. We go through highs and lows, like any other couple. We fight. We make up. He’s not perfect; I’m not perfect. But never once in our whole relationship have I ever thought about those words again.
I’m not damaged goods, and Ed’s love proves it to me.
I’m writing today about “Love” for the Spin Cycle at Second Blooming. Click on the button above to read more about love!