Ryan Roller Coaster

I have not posted in quite some time and to be honest I only have myself to blame for it.  Cancer has been something beyond a roller coaster ride. It has been more of a roller coaster that became a haunted house, which turned into a tilt-a-whirl, resulting in an attempt to leave the ride only to get jumped by 7 school bullies.  It is simply Hell.  

However my post is meant to discuss something different.  I write this blog as both a means to educate my friends and family as to what I am going through, and in hopes that maybe it will be helpful to someone going through a similar situation; to maybe help them realize they are not alone in their struggle, and that it is okay to have these thoughts.  My post today is on Embarrassment.  It is sort of a weird thing to bring up when there is so much more to worry about when you have cancer, but when life has been placed on a potentially expiring clock, every minute you spend, you dwell on.  


There has not been a day that has gone by that I worried about my ability to be attractive to my wife.  When we were engaged I was 185lbs, worked out regularly and while I would never say I was in peak shape, I had a build that I was content with.  I now weigh about 165lbs and resemble Christian Bale from "The Machinist"  I am winded doing simple chores and no longer feel confident in my own ability to protect myself or my loved ones if such an occasion occurred.  This is the type of embarrassment that is bestowed on you without your permission and I wish I could say that was it, but it always can get worse.  

Getting married was the happiest day of my life, without question.  When I said my vows I meant them with a conviction that I stand by daily and try to uphold to the highest ability.  She is my rock and I truly do not even comprehend how I could get through my day to day without her.  With all that being said, there are things that married couples don't do together.  Let's just call them "Boundaries".  Every relationship has them.  They are in place as a method to maintain normalcy, retainattraction towards one another, and allow a person to maintain a sense of individuality.  Clover and I have plenty, however cancer has a wonderful way of stripping them from you without permission.  

This story I am about to tell is embarrassing and to be honest I have no idea why I am making it public, but here we go.  The other night my wife came home after a long day of work and instead of a welcoming husband, there was me, curled in a ball in pain with waves upon waves of nausea.  She went to get certain medicines to help alleviate the cause but it was too late.  I rushed to the bathroom and proceeded to throw up everything inside of me.  Clover patted my back with the basic reassurances you remember hearing as a child.  In between gags and heaves I was able to ask Clover to leave the room immediately.   She asked why to which I responded "because I am about to shit myself"  She left the room and I did exactly what I predicted.  I spent the next 15 minutes in the shower washing myself clean and just feeling more embarrassed than I have ever in my life.  How could anyone find your sexually attractive after the lines "I'm about to shit myself" come out of the mouth of the opposing party?  I just sat there, replaying the scenario in my head, hating cancer more than ever as I see it now as a wedge being thrown into my marriage and just hating myself for something that I had absolutely no control over.  

Clover came into the bathroom, and I expressed my shame to which Clover just shrugged and said it was not a big deal*. I can only wonder if I am the luckiest man on earth for marrying a doctor, to whom what just occurred was merely a drop in the bucket, or if I gained a better understanding of what love was and truly saw the words "for better or worse" play out.  

I am sure the battle will get worse before it gets better, but if I can disregard the embarrassment for even a second, it may make it slightly easier.

*Clover: Meh, to be fair I've seen a lot worse.