It Can Happen to You

My dog Sophie sat under the kitchen table for years, with great, unflagging optimism. I would marvel at her evergreen hopefulness, as she would lie belly-down on the hardwood floor, looking up with patient brown eyes at the underside of the table on which that night’s dinner lay. Years of evidence to the contrary, she would wait perfectly still for that magical moment when the pork chops would levitate from the table, hang in the air for a few seconds, then drop to the floor with a juicy thud. Sophie’s eyes said it all: “It could happen.”

Then one day, it did happen.

My mom had come to San Francisco and wanted to go shopping at Union Square. She put a pot roast in the oven, turned the heat to low, and said it would be fine for a couple hours. Long story short, we spent more time than planned downtown. When we got back to my flat on Cesar Chavez street, I ran up the stairs to try on my new shoes while Mom ran up to check on her pot roast, which by now had been roasting for six hours.

“I think it’ll be ok,” she said, placing her smoking, ruined dinner on the table. Sophie took her position underneath and waited.

As Mom muscled through the hard crust of what now looked like a hockey puck, the entire “roast” flew off the serving platter. Sophie sprang. In what seemed like a slow motion slam dunk, she caught the “roast” in her jaws before it even hit the floor.

Victory comes to dogs who wait. Not often, but it is a possibility.

Which, finally, leads me to a point. And that point is that you can go through a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and reconstruction and still find love. I know because it happened to me.

I had a very supportive boyfriend through it all. He waited for two years for the glorious outcome of my reconstruction. But unlike Sophie’s prize pot roast, the outcome wasn’t so good, so he split. “What a dog,” my friends exclaimed. Not so. I got a lot out of that relationship, and it slowly and painfully led me to my current one.

I won’t detail all the bad dates that came between the two. That’s for another post. What I will detail is that during that time I waited with great hope and optimism for that one man who would see beyond my physical and emotional scars and see something else. Fear, sometimes. Resilience, maybe. Unflagging optimism, for sure.

That relentless optimism and a wholesome faith in my God, led me to my man. A list of adjectives cannot begin to describe his goodness, but I can’t resist: Bighearted, honest, compassionate, generous, patient, understanding, forgiving, funny, uncomplicated, complicated, deep, basic, true. We got engaged in Kauai on January 12. He just wags my tail.

For all you girls out there wondering how you’re gonna find love after cancer, remember this: It does happen. And it can happen to you.

7 Responses to It Can Happen to You

  1. Jenster says:

    To say I love this post would be such an understatement. From the first sentence to the last, I adore it!! And I’m trying to keep my “whooooping” to a quiet “yay” so as not to scare Todd’s guitar student downstairs. But WHOOOOOOOOPIE!!!!!! Congratulations! You deserve this. (He wags your tail, indeed! lol)

  2. I love this. I had a guy leave the day I got diagnosed, said he couldn’t handle it. And I waited and waited and then he found me. And you are right, a guy who doesn’t care about the scars both physical and mental, and who sees me not cancer. Bravo girlfriend!


  3. imstell says:

    There is hope that the world is a decent place after all. Love your post and over-the-top happy for you!

  4. justenjoyhim says:

    Love this, and am so happy for you. Yay!! 🙂

  5. Lahdeedah says:

    Thanks, girls! I love my blog buddies. Hey, are we still talking about a California meet-up?

  6. laura says:

    awww that’s sweet – congrats! you guys look great together!

  7. The bad thing about telling stories over the internet is that you can not see my huge smile right now as I read this… Enjoy every moment together! So happy for you!

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