Here, they're pictured at Lake Tahoe after Penny traveled 3,000 miles for her first date with Don. "When she passed, I buried her with mine and kept hers to always remind me to keep fighting." Photo courtesy of Don Stranathan Love was the furthest thing from Don Stranathan’s mind in October 2011 when the Santa Rosa, California, lung cancer patient answered a question about juicing from a woman on the online patient community Inspire.
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“He was definitely a ‘no-help helper.’” He was also unfaithful, she learned, after a single girlfriend stumbled onto his profile while surfing an online dating site.
Campbell asked her son to move in, asked the “philandering fiancé” to move out and focused on getting through treatment.
Joan Campbell and her new fiance, Larry, met while she was going through treatment for breast cancer; they shared the same massage therapist who suggested they connect.
"My advice to others is it can work out," she said.
Unfortunately, his idea of helping was to give her a horrible cold that promptly segued into a months-long sinus infection, sleep through her middle-of-the-night calls for help and complain that she wasn’t any fun anymore.
“He had no concept of hand sanitizer or being cautious around someone who was immunocompromised,” she said.
When someone has a terminal illness, it’s critical that you give them something to look forward to.
Every few weeks, she would come out here or I would go back there or we’d meet up at lung cancer summits and conferences.
I was sort of dating someone at the time, but we weren’t tight enough to be a true couple so there were no roses, no romantic dinner, not even a lousy chocolate kiss.
Instead, I got the cancer kiss-off a few days later, although in capping our fledgling relationship, the guy swore up and down “It’s not the cancer, it’s you.” Uh … If you’ve lived in Cancerland for any length of time, you’ve probably heard stories of patients getting kicked to the curb after a diagnosis. It’s a common enough occurrence that it’s been studied, most recently by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center clinical researcher and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance neuro-oncologist Dr. Sadly, women diagnosed with cancer are about six times more likely to get separated or divorced than guys who get sick, mostly likely, Chamberlain said, because men aren’t as “well-equipped to be primary caregivers.” And that may well be true.
But he continues to hike, spin and mountain bike regularly and looks for blessings every day.