A few weeks ago, I was working at a coffee shop in Seattle, where my co-workers and I were working on the same coffee table.
We were making coffee and chatting about the same things: politics, fashion, cats.
One day, while chatting, my co‑worker started talking about how her boyfriend had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
My boyfriend, he said, had been diagnosed as having prostate cancer in late June.
As he was going through his chemo, my friend began to ask him questions about his diagnosis.
When my friend asked me, “When did you first start thinking about your boyfriend’s cancer?”
I told her that he was diagnosed in late March, two months before my boyfriend.
I explained that he had been living with prostate cancer for several months before his diagnosis and was beginning to feel more and more symptoms.
But, as my friend had mentioned, there was something I hadn’t mentioned, something that was something that I hadn, over the course of the week, tried to explain to my boyfriend and to my co‐workers: that, as he was living with cancer, there were things that we didn’t talk about with him.
It wasn’t until after my boyfriend’s diagnosis that I realized that I was living in an apartment where leaks were a common occurrence.
We lived in a house with two other roommates, and the leaks were the only thing that was leaking.
When the temperature outside of the apartment dropped, my roommates would have to go into the living room to clean it up.
And, of course, my boyfriend would have a cold if we were sleeping in a bed.
At one point, I tried to comfort my boyfriend by saying, “I know you’re worried about the cancer, but we can’t go to bed without you.”
He didn’t understand why I was telling him that.
“It’s like a disease, isn’t it?”
I asked him.
“No, but you can’t get over it.”
So I explained to my husband that, because the cancer had spread to his prostate, he was now at high risk for a recurrence.
He was, and still is, very much aware of how he was feeling and what was happening to him.
The problem was, he wasn’t able to tell me that he could stop the leaks from happening because he didn’t know how to do that.
And as it turned out, the only way I could stop them was to ask my boyfriend about it.
“You’re not allowed to tell him that,” I told him.
I was shocked.
I’d been working with my husband and the two of us, but I hadn.
At the time, I didn’t think that this was something we could discuss in a normal way.
I also didn’t realize that I had the ability to do this.
It was, at the time—and this was two years ago—a very big issue for my husband.
My husband was a good person who was trying to be a good husband, but the amount of pain and anxiety I was experiencing as I went through this conversation was overwhelming.
And it was a lot harder for me to be able to communicate with my boyfriend without him knowing.
I’m not sure what I would have done differently.
At first, I did not want to tell my boyfriend that I’d started to notice the leaks.
It took me several weeks to get comfortable enough to say it, and I kept telling myself that I could just not talk about it, because I didn, I wasn’t allowed to.
But I eventually did tell him.
And I thought that maybe I could talk about this in a way that he didn and that we could all feel better about it later.
The first day, I went to his apartment to clean the bathroom and get a cup of coffee.
When I got to his bedroom, I told my husband, “My boyfriend has started noticing things in his room.
We’ve been having conversations about this for the past couple of weeks.
I know you think this is just normal, but it’s really hard for him to talk about things like this.
We have to stop this from happening to other people.”
He looked at me and was stunned.
I asked, “Do you know what that means?”
“No,” he said.
“I’m not able to talk to him about it because he doesn’t know.”
I looked at him, and he looked at my husband in shock.
I told them that, and that he should just ignore it.
My co‐worker, who was working nearby, came and told me to call him.
As soon as I spoke to my boss, he called my boss.
“Why is this happening?”
I wanted to tell them that my husband was sick, that he needed to go to the hospital.
But then, I realized how important this conversation would be.
I had been trying to keep my boyfriend at bay, but that didn’t seem to be working.
“He’s not able,” my boss said.
But the truth