I still have a few months to go before my employer will give me access to coverage. My need for advice is due to some huge positive steps that have come up for us in our relationship that depend heavily on my ability to produce an income and handle work around the house we are hoping to get by the end of the year. Joyce has also, not so subtly, been hinting at marriage and starting a family (something I had essentially written off as a possibility).
With the possibility of so many good things in my future, my potential cancer has become a very difficult issue to bring up with her. I’m not afraid of her running away from me as much as I’m terrified of breaking her heart over something that may be nothing.
To be honest, I am also very worried that she will not be able to handle the stress of the situation. My medical history reads like a work of fiction from the horror and scifi genres, and I know full well the horrors that await if it is what I hope it isn’t. I am very much concerned and terrified of what this will do to her. This is the first time I’ve had someone in my life (outside of family) to consider when making choices in this particular realm.
Should I tell Joyce my suspicions now? Should I wait until I have the money for a doctor and then tell her? Or should I keep my mouth shut and wait for the biopsy results to come in and then only tell her if I pop positive? Please help me. — She’s All That Matters
After three years together and serious discussions of buying a home, getting married, and starting a family, Joyce deserves to know what she’s signing on for. You’re a man who is either very truthful and genuine in your description of your medical history and concern about having cancer, or you have a great flair for the dramatic. Maybe you’re both.
You’re also a 39-year-old who says he has a serious medical history but who forgoes health insurance for a year and decides to wait several months to confirm a “high probability” of cancer. Joyce needs to know all of this. She needs to fully understand the whole package she gets with you so that, if she decides to marry you, there are no surprises about what she’s signed on for.
I don’t know what your financial situation is, but you mention hoping to get a home by the end of the year, so I assume you are saving to buy one. I would suggest tapping into that reserve to see a doctor for the biopsy you think you need. If your suspicion is correct and you do have cancer, then treating it is a bigger priority than buying a home.
However you decide to proceed, Joyce needs to be part of the discussion if you are making big decisions with her that jointly affect so many aspects of your future. And as your partner of three years whom you’re seriously considering marrying, if she is not in a position to support you through cancer testing and potential treatment, that would be a strong indicator that she may not be the one you should vow to stand by in sickness and health.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.