When I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a blood cancer) and immediately left my husband, he accused me of faking the whole thing. He also went about telling his family and friends that I was making it all up. Which was quite shocking considering I gave him a copy of my diagnostic report and he saw me with a port stuck in my chest. One evening he sent me a text with wild accusations that included: “You’re a thief, a liar and a drama queen. You’re making up cancer!” I had hear this stuff before when I was being diagnosed, but this one was really ill-timed: I happened to be on Day 1 of a 4 day hospital stay because I was spiking a really high fever. With no immune system, if we didn’t find the infection (if there was one) and treat it immediately, I would quickly die. I immediately texted him a photo of me wearing a pink beanie cap to protect my bald head, and my arm attached to an IV. It didn’t matter to Rob the Great (alcoholic). I was still a liar. Clearly, he was raging drunk (again).
When he told his mother that I was lying about cancer, her response was: “I never believed she had cancer anyway. She’s just made her pretty little bed and now she needs to lie in it.” Rob forwarded the email to me. It was horrifying. Whatever the fuck that meant. My response to that (which I never wrote out or sent) was:
1. I’m not a liar. If you need to find one, though, look to your son who lied to me about his alcoholism and went to great lengths to hide it from me when we were dating. He frauded me into marrying him because had I known about his wild drinking binges, he wouldn’t have made it past the first date and look how much better off we’d be. Honesty goes a long way and if you had encouraged your son to lead an honest life, maybe he wouldn’t be the disaster he is today. And you knew about his alcoholism and watched silently as I married him. And then proceeded to have conversation after conversation with me about his problem.
2. Maybe, just maybe, if you had taken a bigger interest in your son and conducted an intervention, he would not be going around terrorizing the people around him. Maybe he’d be a better man. Granted, as an adult, he is clearly responsible for his own abusive behavior.
3. How I made my bed by getting cancer and suffering through treatments is nuts. I worked myself to the bone trying to manage a household almost with zero help from your alcoholic son, to my own detriment. I carried his enormous weight around my neck, drowning every single day while he sat his fat ass on the couch watching TV and too-high volumes or going to bed in a drunken stupor at 7PM. All while I tried to avoid his horrific, explosive tempter tantrums.
4. Who the fuck makes up a cancer diagnosis anyway?
Well, to the last point, I have found a few. No one deserves to get cancer. No one. Except maybe someone who makes it up.
Such is the story of “Betty,” a single mom to a young son, who met a guy “Ben.” She fell crazy in love with Ben. Ben adored the son, Betty not so much. But he continued dating her for several months until he was ready to call the whole thing off. He tried to break it to her gently. A day later, Betty called Ben in hysterics. She had just been to the doctor for a follow-up appointment and she had advanced leukemia. She had maybe ten months to live. Ben felt horrible, what would become of this fatherless boy? Betty had no contact with her son’s father. Ben did what he thought was the right thing: He offered to marry Betty, become her son’s legal guardian, and raise him after her death. She readily agreed.
Leading up to the wedding, Betty headed off to chemo appointments. She lost her hair and threw up a lot. She did not allow Ben to accompany her to any doctor appointments or see any info or lab and test results. Ben started suspecting a rat. Was she making this up? He wanted to back out of the wedding but his parents were in town and they adored Betty. He felt pressured by his church leader to move forward with the wedding. And so, feeling huge doom, he said “I do.”
Just weeks after the wedding, Betty had wonderful news. She was cured of cancer. It was a miracle! There was absolutely no trace of any cancer in her body. The doctors (that Ben never met) had never seen anything like it. And… she was pregnant!
Ben started doing some background searching of Betty. He found an ex-boyfriend who was willing to talk. Turns out, Betty had leukemia when they were dating, too. Except he caught her in one lie after the next, realized she was making the whole thing up, she confessed, and he ran for the hills. Ben eventually confronted Betty. “Ok, I made it up. But I’ve repented for my sin, God has forgiven me and you need to do the same. Plus we have a baby on the way.”
Ben and Betty managed to stay together for a decade and produce three more children. And Ben learned to hate Betty. He had full contempt for her, he wasn’t very nice, and there was no fixing that mess. How or why he made one baby after the next with this woman is a very good question.
Wow- there are women who will do anything to snag their man. And there are some people who will fake a cancer diagnosis to get… well… to get what they want. Sympathy. Money. Attention. It’s truly disgusting.