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Cancer Changes Relationships


Brian and I doing what we love.

Brian and I doing what we love.


This is Brian. Obviously, I’m with him as we ride the Santa Fe Century a couple of springs ago. Nothing like a cancer diagnosis to throw a detour into life and our illusion of control of our lives.

Cancer changes relationships. Notice how I didn’t say for the good or the bad. It depends. And, I’ve seen it all as a practicing psychotherapist as well as having been married 18 years ago to a man diagnosed with cancer 4 months after we were married. And, now my fresh diagnosis of cancer and being in a 3 year relationship with Brian.

Being diagnosed with cancer or being a caregiver of someone diagnosed with cancer can test the strength of the relationship.  Any weak spots tend to get highlighted, any touchy spots tend to get pushed. If there are cracks in the relationship armor, they are revealed. It’s a big stressor.

And, it’s an opportunity for the relationship to grow and become even more fulfilling  than ever before. It’s an opportunity. It’s not a guarantee. Often these types of stressors will break relationships apart. I’ve seen both and I’ve experienced both.


leah's last chemo

Yesterday was my last Frontline Chemo. It was Cycle #6 and I had to be admitted to the hospital for this one because the medical team was concerned about a potential allergic reaction to one of the drugs I had been receiving. Brian and I arrived in Denver and I was admitted at 7:30 am. We left to drive the one hour ride home at 9pm, crawled into bed at 10 pm. He was there by my side the entire time as he as been since that first day of diagnosis.

Here’s to Brian. My love. Here’s to you for:

  1. staying by my side in thick and thin. for not leaving me as I feared (my stuff, not yours).

  2. for telling me everything is going to be all right.

  3. for telling me “you’ve got me” when I fall apart, which happens often.

  4. for always looking at the positive in this situation especially during those times when I struggle to find it.

  5. for telling me I’m beautiful even when I look in the mirror and see a bald, pale, weak and changed body.

  6. for tolerating my mood swings ranging from severe sadness, to irritability, to the depths of hopelessness.

  7. for staying by my side, literally.

  8. for lending me your courage when I couldn’t find mine.

  9. for changing your life because my life changed.

  10. for loving me always

It hasn’t been easy and I know we are at the beginning of this roller coaster ride. But, I’m buckled in, sitting by your side for the long haul.

Thank you for being in my life. It makes it better even in the worst of times. Here’s to you Brian. I love you bigger than the moon and the stars. xoxo leah

#cancer #change #relationships

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