“Man, it’s a good thing that we’d been together for over 6 years because HOW could I ever explain this to anyone else?!”
Yup, that was the first thought that ran through my mind when I was told I had to have a mastectomy. The idea of cancer killing me was something I never initially thought, probably because I hadn’t fully processed what it meant to have breast cancer. I mean, cancer couldn’t be all that bad considering how my grandmother had beat it a few times. Dying was really the last of my concerns! But the thought of ever being single again and having to stop, what I would assume would be a great moment, to explain the “hockey stick” scar and the one missing breast replaced by a sweaty sock seemed unbearable!!
My partner and I had been together for some time before my breast cancer diagnosis, which is why I felt much better about my decision to have a mastectomy. I felt like she would be the last person to care because she had seen my body backwards and forwards, so what would it matter right?!!? I discussed my decision with her and she reassured me that our relationship and partnership as well as her love for me and the way she looked at me wouldn’t change. It’s important to note that although we’d been together six years prior to me diagnosis, you’d think we had just met. Needless to say, our sex life wasn’t lacking in any area and I wasn’t going let losing one or both of my twins effect that area either… or so I thought!
After surgery and during treatment I did my best to remain the Kween that my partner had held me up to be. She had always referred to me as her Kween because in our relationship I was her provider. I was the one who would have things under control and reassure her that all was safe in the Queendom, as we knew it. I was her rock and now I was a wounded Kween. I was broken mentally, spiritually and, most importantly, physically! I was less than a KWEEN!
I went from “Man, it’s a good thing we’d been together over 6 years!” to “MAN! It’s a GOOD thing we have been together over 6 years because who would EVER want me now?!”
Well, she did! AND, she made it a point to let me know it everyday. When many others would have and did give up on me, she didn’t. She nominated me her Cancer Kween and I gladly accepted.
But with the nomination came the compromises!
1.) We agreed that as her Kween, I would be safe at all times. I could let go and trust her to handle things. In turn, I had to agree to let go of control, which can be hard due to my more dominant demeanor.
2.) We agreed that the “Pre-Cancer” Kween was gone as we knew her. She assured me that she would accept the “new me,” however or whoever that may be. In turn, I agreed to let her in on all the new things, good or bad, I was learning about the “new me.”
3.) We agreed that the communication in the Queendom could not and would not be broken! It’s essential that we communicate during our survival journey. I agreed to not only communicate with her about my feelings, hopes and dreams, but would also communicate with my doctors on these things so they’d understand our plan and help us work towards it.
I would be lying if I said that things hadn’t changed, but things change in all relationships. And people change, whether it has anything to do with cancer or not. The one thing that changed the most for me was my new found respect for my role now that I’ve been crowned her Cancer Kween.
Remember, in all great battles the “Queen” plays a vital role that leads to victory! My cancer battle would have been completely different in the history of my life hadn’t it been for the support of my partner, my Queen!
Thank you Nikki for sharing how breast cancer impacted your relationship with your partner and Queen.
We understand that breast cancer greatly impacts relationships from body image and intimacy to communication with your significant other. Sometimes connecting with other young women affected by breast cancer and sharing your own experiences can be helpful.
Below are a few resources to connect with others:
– Connect In Person through your local Face 2 Face Network
– Connect One-on-one through Peer Mentoring