On the hard day of receiving the results, I was not able to call my bf until the train ride home. Of course I wasn’t going to get into it on the cell phone, him at work and me in public. I just told him “it is not what we’d hoped,” and that we’d speak that night. While it was not the first thing on my mind, I had mulled over the implications on my brand-new relationship and made a decision.
When he got home, Jen and I told him the news. It was no surprise to any of us when I suggested he and I go in the other room to talk. We settled comfortably on the bed and I explained to him that three months into a relationship was a little soon to ask someone for the kind of commitment that would be required of him. Immediately he interrupted in a worried voice. “I don’t want you to break up with me.”
To be honest, I had a feeling he was not going to bolt. He seemed like a stubborn and committed guy. But I dared not expect that. I was happy to have his words above, yet still I dared not cling to them right away. I proceeded to present my suggestion that we call a hiatus to us and, “once I’m back on my feet, we can decide if we want to try again. I will harbor no ill feelings whatsoever.” He said doing that would make him a “coward.” I repeated that it’s not like we’d been together for a year. Three months doesn’t obligate one to make any personal sacrifice if you ask me.
“I want you to move in,” he blurted. Again, rational me was keeping control over (happy, relieved) emotional me. I encouraged him to take some time to think about this decision. “You have never taken care of an ill person; I have. Trust me when I say that you have no idea how difficult it is. Please think carefully about this.” Stubborn thing that he is, he would hear none of it. I was moving out of my shared, hot, 4th floor walk-up apartment and into his beautiful place. I chose to keep paying on my place for a while, just to be safe and to provide a bed for the continuous trans-Atlantic visitors I was sure to have. He and I had never even said we loved each other.
In what I thought was nothing more than a passing occurrence, Jen and I went to my apartment to access the internet, and after 45 minutes on the laptop I developed a sudden, sharp pain in my upper spine. Just below the neck I had what felt like the most severe of cricks. I assumed it was from bending over the computer, though it had not gone away by that evening or even the next day when we joined friends for a few beers at the outdoor haven for expats, Place de Luxembourg (or “Place DeLuxe” just outside the European Parliament building). Standing at a table drinking, a wince led me to divulge the pain to my dear friend P. Helpful as she is, and unfortunately knowledgeable about cancer, she advised that I should call my oncologist. “You might think it’s nothing, but that’s what happened to [personal information] and that’s how we found that it had gone into his spine. Make sure you bring it to their attention.” I reminded her that the tests had shown nothing. She pointed out that he had had tests too.
This was my first taste of how life would be from now on: nothing was “just a little pain” anymore. I would learn to listen to my body with a suspicious mind. What she said concerned me but I was hesitant to “bother” my oncologist.
Imagine my surprise when he called me about a “suspicious spot” on my still aching spine two days later.