By Sylvia L. Ramsey
After I returned to work, I began to write furiously once more. I picked up writing a novel that I had started and had to put down to take care of my husband while he was sick and dying. Once more, I became very involved in my bladder cancer awareness activities. I was busy on the telephone a lot. Many people who had just been diagnosed with bladder cancer were calling because they needed someone to talk to who had traveled the road and survived.
I began talking again with Cynthia Kinsella, a woman who had joined my online group and shared my dream of establishing a foundation and a website for anyone who needed support or information related to bladder cancer. We talked about the foundation and what we really wanted to achieve. My two medical writer friends helped me with various articles to send to the media.
Even with all these activities, I was lonely. A woman I worked with told me about an online group that she had joined. I joined the group and met several people who were also widowed. One person was a man who is still a friend today, many years later. Not all my experiences on this site were positive, but there was one connection I made that became a very important one in my life.
This site was where I met Tom. He had lost his wife a few years before. We interacted on the site for some time and then began e-mailing each other. Finally, we began talking on the telephone. About six months after we met online, we had our first date and met face-to-face. I was uneasy about going on a date. For one, I had not dated in years, and I had heard horror stories about meeting someone via the Internet.
I was also concerned about my bladder cancer surgery. I did not have any idea if any man, other than my first husband, could accept the changes in my body that had occurred because of my cancer surgery. I wondered what would happen if my relationship with Tom evolved into an intimate relationship. I had no idea if I could have intercourse. Because of my first husband's health, this issue had not been addressed. My doctor had told me that intercourse might not be an option because of the radical hysterectomy that he had done when he did the cystectomy.
I decided to take the leap. I accepted the invitation for a date, but not alone. I asked a friend if she and her husband would go with us on a double date. She asked her husband and he agreed. I think he was feeling like the big brother at that moment. Once I knew I had that settled, I scheduled the first date with Tom. It was in the fall, and we had a big festival in our city. That seemed to me like a good place to start.
Check back here to read more from Sylvia. Plus, read more of her story on HealthyWomen.org:
Living With Bladder Cancer
Two Diagnoses, One Couple, One Day: Could it be Possible?
Lots of Questions and No One to Talk To
Preparing for Surgery and Staying Positive
It's Not Leprosy, It's Cancer
My Bladder Cancer Surgery
Recovering from Surgery and Still Struggling to Find Support
Finding Humor in Trying Times
Adjusting to the New Life After Surgery
Achieving a "New Normal"—and Then a Setback
Recovering, Caregiving and Looking for Work
Getting the Word Out to Women About Bladder Cancer
Caregiving and Cancer Awareness: 2 Important Causes
Accepting When It's Time for Hospice
Learning to Let Go
Finding Strength to Say Goodbye
The Funeral: Just Part of the Journey of Losing My Husband
Learn more about bladder cancer and about Sylvia L. Ramsey, cancer survivor, advocate, author and public speaker, at: www.bladdercancersupport.org, www.authorsden.com/sylvialramsey1 and www.sylvialramsey.com.