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KingOfCups

Introduction

How do I even begin to describe my fiancée? She is ethereal. An absolute masterpiece. When the Universe was fashioning her, it forged her skin from the brightest speckles of stardust, wove sunlight streams into her hair of honeycomb blonde, fabricated cerulean orbs from the clearest of lazuline ocean waves, and gifted her a smile that halts the Earth's rotation in milliseconds. Or at least it halts mine. If you thought she was breathtaking before you dove into the aurora of her mind, you would be beguiled by the complexity of her cognitions. Her intellectual capabilities unequivocally astound me, and her vast expanses of knowledge could overwhelm encyclopedias, putting neurophysicists to shame with its' depth. She is not just my world or my universe, she is the Big Bang, she is the ultimate creation of matter, she is panoptic, and she is all encompassing.

We were destined to be together and I consider us soulmates. We are each others' best friends. There is not a moment of conversation that I do not bring up my fiancée and something funny she did or said. There is not a moment I don't spend thinking of things that might make her smile or laugh. If I walk into a store, I know what she would like for me to bring home. I text or call her repeatedly throughout the work day and I am always relieved to come home after a hard day. We finish each other's sentences and hum the same songs that the other had been thinking of earlier that day. We love to spend time at home with one another, and either watch movies, television shows, or play video games. We are both animal lovers and we are raising nine pets together. We have a lot of similar hobbies and interests that we enjoy sharing with one another. Whenever there is an adventure to be had, she is my partner in crime. If I were to be stranded alone on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific, she is the person I would want to be there with.

Background

However, our relationship since its' beginning has been far from perfect. I did not appreciate her, her sacrifices, or her love, for nearly four years. I thought I did. I was convinced that what I was giving her was above and beyond the requirement, because it was far more than anyone had ever given me throughout my entire life. I was astounded when she expressed discontent and unhappiness in the relationship. I gave her every microbe of my being, why was she dissatisfied? The answer was simple, I did not have the capacity to give her the love she deserved. I didn't have the capacity to love selflessly. I was still in survival mode from my childhood and my past. Things had to change, or she was going to leave. So I began trying to save my sinking ship of a relationship, working on self-help books to manage my anger, depression, and anxiety, researching her love language to the ends of this plane of existence, taking over responsibilities that would make her life easier, and just simply listening and digesting the words she spoke to me.

Bargaining

Then in August of 2020, she went in for routine bloodwork due to a change in health insurance, and her white blood cell count was astronomical. The doctor's were floored, they ran the bloodwork again, and the results were confirmed. She had no symptomology of leukemia, but there we were, at 6:00 AM on August 4th, 2020, being called by her primary care physician. Her physician had sent over all of my fiancée's paperwork to the Emergency Room in our state's largest hospital. She told us we needed to leave now and there wasn't a whole lot of time to explain what was going on, but that she believed that my fiancée had leukemia. Words cannot describe the bargaining with God, with the Universe, with anything I could grasp for, that this was a mistake. That I was either having the most lucid nightmare I had ever had, that they had mislabeled the blood samples, that our primary care physician was incompetent and needed her licensure revoked, that it could be any other autoimmune disease as long as it wasn't leukemia, and that if someone had to have leukemia, please, let it be me instead.

Denial

Of course that's never how these sorts of life events go. My beloved was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia after more testing. Our entire life was flipped upside down. She told me she didn't want anything to be different, and so at first I tried to allow things to be as normal as possible. We didn't talk about the diagnosis, and we didn't talk about its' impact on our lives. We didn't talk about what it meant for us as a couple, as possible future parents, or anything. We avoided the conversation, we danced around it, we got frustrated in private with others' who brought it up, we sheltered ourselves from it, and we were sick of all of the cancer talk. Then something changed, and she was ready. She was ready to talk about everything, but I wasn't. I held onto her desire for things to remain the same because I thought if I did that that maybe things wouldn't change that much. That maybe we could have some sense of normalcy. I was not in denial of the diagnosis, but in denial of its' impact on our lives.

Anger

Then she began chemotherapy, she began attending group therapy sessions, she started taking up art classes especially for oncology patients, and a global pandemic that already had us anxious became exponentially more life-threatening. I changed my days at work, at internship, at school, so that I could accommodate her staying home and going to her doctor's appointments. I didn't want anything else to happen to her, I thought that if I could control her and her environment that I would be doing a service to her. No one was allowed over, I unintentionally isolated her from her friends and family. She wasn't allowed to go anywhere without a mask, gloves, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer. If she had to go anywhere, I preferred to be there in case anyone got too close to her. She was no longer allowed to clean certain items or use certain cleaning products. And her entire life became a small bubble that was dictated by me. I was so angry at the world. So angry at her bone marrow. So angry that everyone else's world kept turning. So angry that no one called or texted us to ask how she was doing. So angry that the people I thought cared about me, shut me out when I finally wanted to talk. So angry that my work didn't understand why I was so weird about germs and bacteria. So angry that everyone else got to continue living normal lives. So angry that my fiancée wasn't healthy. So angry that the chemotherapy left her in agonizing pain. So angry that she was unwell as the poison medication spread through her killing her cancer cells. So angry that I was tired all the time. So angry that in the end, I started being angry at her. I blamed her for a while, blamed her for something that was in no way, shape, or form within her control. I started hating myself for my anger. My anger shifted from her onto me. What if I could have done more? What if I was better? What if I was somehow the reason for this? My self-hatred has not left me since August. It is now February, the following year, when I write this.

Depression

Now, I am lost in a depression that clouds all other aspects of my life. I see no end in sight to all of this suffering. I am so depressed that for the first time in four years, I've considered relapsing into my maladaptive coping method of self-harm, I've convinced myself that maybe my fiancée would be better off if I wasn't here, and that if I were to take action that maybe, somehow, in some twisted way, she might be happier. I know that all of this is untrue, and it's just a part of my grieving process. I know that if I wasn't here, she would be unable to pay the rent and bills, care for her medical needs when she is unwell, attend to the pets, keep up the household, and be comforted in her times of need. I know this, but it doesn't stop the thoughts. I had nothing before her. My family was toxic, perpetuated neglect and abuse, and was a breeding ground for personal and generational trauma. I needed support, but I did not have them. Her family, exclusively her mother and grandmother, help where they can but this transition is hard on them as well. My friends, who know us both, are in our same age group (20-29) and don't have the emotional or mental capacity to know what to say. They don't even want to sit with me in silence because they are uncomfortable watching me suffer. Her friends are the same, and if anything I'm more angry at her friends than mine because she is the one with leukemia. I am so lost and I feel so helpless. I attempted to get into various grief counselors in my area, either in-person or via telehealth, and there were no availabilities amongst any of them at times that I have free because my schedule is so packed.

Acceptance?

Realistically, this was my last avenue to express my feelings in a context that wouldn't lead to a mental breakdown. Is this the beginning of acceptance and moving forward in our life together? Or am I still amidst the other stages of grief under the guise of acceptance? I guess no one will really know until future me is looking back on this time in a memory, able to gauge my level of true acceptance amidst the clarity of 20-20 hindsight. I wonder if there really ever is true acceptance, or if that's just an ideal we set for ourselves once we've discovered how to cope with a situation. I consider this entire diagnosis to be traumatic, despite what others may say, because it was an event that demolished any expectation of what I presumed our life would look like at this point. Change is inevitable, and as human beings, we are resigned to constantly changing to meet our own needs and the needs of our revolving world. However, it's valid to say that the change I'm talking about is difficult and almost incomprehensible. I guess that this is one of those painful requirements of change.

 

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