The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Everyone Deserves to Date

by Doron LoskyPatient, Brain CancerMay 23, 2024View more posts from Doron Losky

One of the things they don’t tell you about when you’re single and have a cancer diagnosis is that it can be very difficult to date. This seems to be a sentiment shared among the AYA (adolescent and young adult) cancer community.

After being diagnosed with brain cancer at age 26 in April 2023, the physical toll that my body took through surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and medications was something I was not prepared for. As the months went by, I felt more insecure about my body as well as my speech due to having aphasia (a language disorder affecting one’s speech). These two things combined made it hard for me to accept compliments like “You look so good,” or, “Your speech is amazing.” Whether or not these comments were sincere, as people have different ideas of what a 26-year-old with cancer should look like and sound like, the reality was, that I didn’t think I looked good and I certainly didn’t feel good.

Now that I’ve finished treatment, being in a relationship is definitely something I feel ready for. After many great conversations online and on dating apps, as well as a handful of successful first dates, I’ve pretty much been ghosted every time. I considered a few different ways to bring up cancer. Do I do it during the pre-date texting phase? On the date? After the first date? I don’t think there’s a correct answer; I just wish telling people didn’t scare them off. I get it—sometimes you just don’t know what to say. I would like to think that I can just be sincere with someone from the start without any judgment. I’m not suggesting that every first date must go well or that the first date needs to turn into a second date. This could be the case for several reasons, cancer aside. But, when there is no follow-up, I go straight to it being about my cancer and end up with an anxious feeling of self-doubt.

Everyone has baggage, but when you’re a young person with cancer, it seems like that baggage is the heaviest for anyone to carry. However, there is so much more to someone than their diagnosis. For example, I have a successful career in the music industry, I love playing and watching basketball, working at a bakery with adults with disability, running, and hanging out with my family and friends.

Cancer has taught me compassion and forgiveness, to cherish my family and close friends and the things that I have, as opposed to the things that I don’t have. Most importantly, grab the opportunities and make the most out of every day.

I want to be able to share these sentiments and values with whoever I date and I hope for a world where people are less judgemental and accept people for who they are, whatever it is they are going through.

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