Posted 1/15/2008 4:22 PM (GMT -7)
Hi, Survivor! I'm one, too! :) I survived liver cancer from hep C. I do have some recent experience with this. When I was diagnosed in '93 with hep C, I was married. My husband never expressed concern about "catching it" or anything else. When we broke up in '94 (for other reasons), I started seeing someone who had been with a long-term girlfriend to the very end of her life from cancer. He was not in the least put off by my hep C. However, 5 years ago when I had my first hip replacement from osteonecrosis, problems started. I have, to date, had both hips replaced and 2 revisions on the left. I also was diagnosed with liver cancer about 2 years ago, and last May had the entire right lobe of my liver removed. Over the past year, this b.f. was seeing less and less of me. When I found out about the cancer, which seemed like a death sentence at first, I told him I wouldn't blame him if he saw other people, and that he should not have to go through a cancer death with someone again. Of course, things started looking up physically when I got through that surgery. However, I had not been able to be very mobile or have sex in a long time (well over a year.) I was always healing from some surgery.
I developed an incisional hernia about 2 months after the liver surgery. The surgeon wanted to wait to repair it until I had fully healed. When a surgery date was finally set for Dec. 14, 2007, this b.f. broke off his relationship with me, saying he had met someone else. While this hurt, it didn't actually come as a surprise. We hadn't seen each other much over the past year, although we did talk on the phone daily (actually I did most of the talking, he wasn't very active in the conversation.) That was the end of a 13-year-relationship with someone I loved very much (still do.) However, I always said if things didn't work out with him I was done! The difference here is that I'm nearly 65. I've had a life. I've had my share of men, including 2 husbands. While I wish I had had a long-term marriage to someone, I am basically okay with being alone now. My body looks horrible now--a mass of scars. I don't really want anyone to see it "up close and personal."
In your case, you are doing the right thing in being honest. However, follow it up with information. Ignorance and fear are due to lack of knowledge. The more you know, the more you can help others to understand. With any luck, you will meet someone with integrity who will not be deterred by your disease. However, I wouldn't disclose this right away--not on the first or second date...but perhaps on the 3rd, if things are going well. Be friends first--good advice for anyone looking for a relationship.
I don't think I've lost my friend, although I did lose my lover. We still are able to talk. He came over here after Christmas and we exchanged gifts. To my surprise, he stayed for 1 1/2 hours, just chatting away. For now, that's enough for me.