Marital Status?

April 22, 2010

Recently, at the suggestion of a security-minded friend, I changed some of the info available about me on Facebook. For example, I had listed myself as “married,” and she pointed out that that info wasn’t necessary. I deleted “married,” and the next day facebook announced to the world that I had “changed my marital status.” I freaked. My marriage is precious to me, and the last thing the author of a book on surviving prostate cancer and staying married wants is for the world to think that my marital status has changed.
On a recent interview Dean and I did for The People’s Pharmacy (www.peoplespharmacy.com. show # 765), Dr. Mark McClure noted that prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can either drive a couple in different directions or bring them closer together.
Ultimately, we were brought together, but it was dicey for awhile; that’s why I wrote How We Survived Prostate Cancer, because I didn’t just want to physically survive it, I wanted to survive it with our marriage intact.
The issues that surround prostate cancer are famously touchy, not the least of which is erectile function and continence. Other things lay in wait for the innocent couple, such as depression, loss of identity, loss of libido–it’s a terrifying list.
My marital status is still “married;” we can say that, because we have redefined what marriage is for us. We have given each other the room to grow and change and, yes, survive. I suppose I am still touchy about the notion that I have “changed my marital status.” More precisely, I/we have changed the nature of what we call marriage. I wonder who else out there might feel this way?

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