When Love Gets Real

How a Skin Cancer Diagnosis Can Strengthen a Relationship

Valentine’s Day may seem like it’s all Champagne, chocolate and roses. But when someone is diagnosed with skin cancer, or has a disfiguring surgery, that’s when love gets real. We asked our Facebook friends who’ve gone through treatment to share the most meaningful way a spouse or partner supported them. Comments ranged from funny to heartbreaking, including those who said they went through their ordeal alone. (We feel your pain.) Here are a few inspiring examples from The Skin Cancer Foundation Facebook page.

  • “He always goes to my appointments with me. It means the world to me that he’s always there. Then on the way home, we stop for ice cream.” 
    - Nancy Colwell, Hudson, Iowa
  • “I had to shave my head a few weeks ago for an upcoming surgery, and to check for more spots. He never shaves his beard and ’stache off, but to show his support, he shaved his head and face with me. Now he always brings this huge beach umbrella everywhere so I have shade — and carries extra sunscreen.”
    -  Kari Wallace, Cathlamet, Washington
  • “After my treatment for stage III melanoma, he took me to the Diamond District in New York City. I picked out a diamond and blue topaz ring to show I have blue skies ahead of me. I wear it always.”
    Randi Redington, Jackson, New Jersey 
  • “Knowing how hard it would be for me to eat after having surgery on a squamous cell cancer on my lip, my husband set up a soup and tea lunch instead of the big fancy restaurant dinner he had planned for Valentine’s Day.”
    Jodie Andrews, Marietta, Georgia 
  • “After my surgery for stage I melanoma, I flew out to see my guy in tech school. He helped bandage my wound, and then he proposed that week. A proposal doesn’t fix cancer, but it sure does take your mind off of it!”
    Ashley Hhttp://www.skincancer.org/true-stories/valentinesand, Oberlin, Ohio 
  • “We met for the first time the day before my sixth skin-cancer surgery. He asked me out without even flinching about the giant bandage on my head. A year and a half later he sat with me during surgery number seven, changed my bandages, cleaned the area and waited on me as I recovered. Whenever we’re at an outdoor event, he always makes sure I’m covered up or in the shade. He’s 100 percent supportive.”
    Leopoldine Golunski, Houston 
  • “My husband was with me in the room during my Mohs surgery and was very attentive afterward. The greatest thing he did, though, was quit smoking—for the last time."
    -Darlene Rosser, Zeeland, Michigan 
  • “All these stories make my man sound lame. But even though he was halfway across the country while I was going through my skin-cancer treatment, he was always there to listen on the phone. Listening has to be one of the greatest things.”
    - Kato Eagle, Austin, Texas 

Published on February 11, 2016