But I’m Not the One Who Had Cancer…

Three years ago, my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. We were 21 years old and had just gotten married a month earlier. After two major surgeries and three rounds of chemo, I’m thankful to say he is cancer-free. However, the trauma of that time still sits deep in my stomach.

A part of me feels guilty for feeling like I’m still broken from that journey. I mean, I wasn’t even the one who had cancer, so what am I still holding onto? But the truth is, I spent months watching someone I love deeply fight for his life, helpless and unable to do anything.

Anytime cancer is brought up, I feel a pain deep in my stomach. I feel like I’ve lost this capacity to hold space for others, because I’m still trying to figure out how to hold space for my own healing (let alone acknowledge that it is valid to need healing). There’s just no more room for anything else…

Sometimes it feels so lonely. I don’t know any other 24-year-olds who have supported a partner through invasive surgeries and debilitating rounds of chemo…I long to connect with other women who have felt and feel what I’m going through. Who have found ways to acknowledge their experience and feelings as valid, and heal their pain.

I haven’t talked to many people about this, and for the most part, it doesn’t affect my day-to-day life, so I’m able to ignore it. But the pit in my stomach and the fear I feel at every follow-up appointment remind me that there are parts of me left to heal.

I hope that sharing my story is the beginning of that healing process.

About the Author | Andrea Pesola

Andrea Pesola is Women For One's Digital Marketing and Administrative Specialist. She has spent most of her life in the midwest, but recently moved to Seattle with her husband, Alec, and their dog, Archie. She is inspired by the power of women authentically sharing their stories, and is honored to be joining a team who intentionally creates space for women's voices.

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