I've been together with my girlfriend for 2 years. 5 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer (I don't know what kind, sorry) and she refused all treatment. She was given roughly 5 years to live and 5 years later is still here, so thats good at least.
Most of the time she's fine. She's one of the most vibrantly alive people I know. Her immune system is pretty shot though, so if anyone around her gets so much as a sniffle she gets really ill. She avoids doctors and hospitals because of the circumstances around her diagnosis (which was pretty traumatic), but she gets doctors to make house calls when she gets really ill.
Anyway, I realised recently that I'm not coping as well as I would like to with the whole concept that she could be dying. Probably is dying. We want to plan a future together but its hard to do that with such a horrible thing looming over us. Its both emotional and practical. Like, if she dies I'm going to be totally gutted, but also how will I make rent if she can't work anymore? And I feel like an arsehole for even thinking about such cold calculated things.
She also has this idea that I need to have someone to look after me when she's not around. Like I haven't been looking after myself just fine. I'm not interested in finding someone else as a 'backup' for her! I'd rather be alone.
Anyway, usually I'd talk to my friends about this sort of thing, but they can't come up with much to say beyond 'I'm so sorry', which I appreciate the sentiment, but I thought maybe people going through something similar might have some insight on how to best support her, and how to plan for a future with someone when you don't even know how long they are gonna be around for.
Having a partner with cancer is like no other situation, because usually if something traumatic happens you turn to your partner for support. I can recommend searching the internet for a partner support network/forum that fits your demographic, you will find support there from people who really understand, even if it's just internet based.
Even though my husband has been in remission for 7 years (stage 4 non-hodgkin's lymphoma) I've been a member of a 'wives of husbands with cancer' facebook group since the start of this year, and it's been really helpful and affirming. I wish I'd found is when he was going through chemo! I can ask questions unique to my situation and get feedback from people in the same situation, which is great (it's great to know you're not going crazy, this is normal for the circumstances!)
The Cancer Council may even be able to point you to a real life support group, it's definitely worthwhile asking. I guess the bottom line is you're not alone, there are people you can talk to who understand (including right here in this forum!)
I don't want to give you advice about planning for the future, because we are in different situations with different resources, opportunities and expectations, (I'm a 42 year old woman and have been married for 14 years) but I wish you both good luck. You are not alone. love and hugs, Emily
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