Dating After Breast Cancer
(Page 5 of 9)
Nine women talk about going out, looking for love, and when to bring up you-know-what
By Marion Long
CHRISTA QUENNEVILLE, 30
Diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2005
I met my boyfriend, Travis, last October, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 days later. I was 29. We had only gone out on a couple of dates when I got the diagnosis. I found out on a Thursday, and I was trying to figure out how to tell him as we were driving in the car going to the movies on Sunday. I was having surgery the next week. I felt I should tell him, because I didn't want to just come up missing all of a sudden.
He said, "Oh, what do you want to do next weekend? Do you want to go to the movies?" And I said, "Uh, well, actually, I'm having surgery." And he said, "Well, what's wrong?" I said, "I have to have a lump removed."
And he said, "Is it your breast?" And I said, "Yeah." And he said, "Is it cancer?" And I said, "Yes," and he said, "Oh, my aunt had breast cancer." And happily I was driving the car, sitting opposite him, so that I didn't have to look at him, because I was afraid I was going to cry. And I did say to him, later that night, "You know, this really sucks, that I have cancer and we just met. If you want to go, I'll understandówe hardly know each other." And he said, "No, I like you, I want to get to know you better. This is not going to change anything."
I believed him, though I wasn't quite sure; I'd only known him a couple of weeks. I don't know why he stayed. I'm obviously very glad he stayed, but I don't know why. I've asked him since, and he pretty much says what he said then. He'll say: "Well, you know, I liked you, I wanted to get to know you better. It's not your fault you had cancer; it just happened."
We spent so much time together at first, because I stayed home all the time. I was never really sick during chemo, but I was very tired, and I went to bed early every night. Initially, he was there with me a lot. It didn't seem unusual. It was like it was meant to be. He stayed with me; he didn't care that my hair had fallen out. My hair started to fall out after my second chemo treatment, and I couldn't stand it. I told him, "I don't want to go to a hairdresser, because I'll cry." And you know, I didn't want anyone to see me cry.
So he said he would shave my head. Actually, I shaved his head, and then he shaved my head.
I don't think the cancer has made a lot of difference in our physical relationship. I have read about women who don't want anyone to see their scar, but honestly, it's never bothered me. I think everyone's seen my scar.
The cancer made us a lot closer a lot faster than maybe we would have been if it hadn't happened.