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'How I Told My Fiancé I Had Terminal Cancer'

Women's Health Logo By Larissa Gionfriddo was diagnosed with terminal cancer just three months after getting engaged. of Women's Health | Slide 1 of 8: "Condition Confessions" is a series from Women's Health, where we'll be asking women how they told their friends, family members, and loved ones about their health conditions. When you’re in love, you can start to feel invincible. At least that’s how I felt when, just after turning 30, I got engaged to an incredible man. Martin and I met in sixth grade, and we reunited six years ago. I said “yes” to marrying him at a Mariah Carey concert, one of the best nights of my life. But just three months later, I had one of the worst nights of my life. I’d noticed a lump in my breast a few months earlier. I was concerned, mostly because I had a friend with breast cancer at the time. I remember asking my fiancé, “Don’t you ever, you know, feel this lump?” In his usual way, he tried to make light of it. It was probably nothing, he assured me. My gynecologist agreed with him, as she knew I had lumpier breasts to begin with. She told me to wait until my menstrual cycle passed to see if it was still there.When my period ended, the lump hadn’t gone away. She could tell I was worried and agreed to send me for an ultrasound. Still unfazed after seeing the lump, my doctor conceded. “Since you’re here, we’ll do a biopsy,” she said. After that appointment, they’d call me in three days with the results, which, they continued to tell me, were probably nothing. I was so young, they said. Three long, anxious days later, my fiancé was driving us home when my phone rang. We both knew who was calling. I picked up after one ring.

'How I told my fiancé I had terminal cancer'

"Nothing could have prepared me to hear the word 'incurable.'"

"Condition Confessions" is a series from Women's Health, where we'll be asking women how they told their friends, family members, and loved ones about their health conditions.

When you’re in love, you can start to feel invincible. At least that’s how I felt when, just after turning 30, I got engaged to an incredible man.

Martin and I met in sixth grade, and we reunited six years ago. I said “yes” to marrying him at a Mariah Carey concert, one of the best nights of my life.

But just three months later, I had one of the worst nights of my life.

I’d noticed a lump in my breast a few months earlier. I was concerned, mostly because I had a friend with breast cancer at the time. I remember asking my fiancé, “Don’t you ever, you know, feel this lump?” In his usual way, he tried to make light of it. It was probably nothing, he assured me. My gynecologist agreed with him, as she knew I had lumpier breasts to begin with. She told me to wait until my menstrual cycle passed to see if it was still there.

When my period ended, the lump hadn’t gone away. She could tell I was worried and agreed to send me for an ultrasound. Still unfazed after seeing the lump, my doctor conceded. “Since you’re here, we’ll do a biopsy,” she said. After that appointment, they’d call me in three days with the results, which, they continued to tell me, were probably nothing. I was so young, they said.

Three long, anxious days later, my fiancé was driving us home when my phone rang. We both knew who was calling. I picked up after one ring.

© Larissa Gionfriddo

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