I was on a SWAT team through most of our 15 year marriage, and when I finally left, I moved on to a job with more pay, no after-hours work and no more danger. I was bored for a while, but we found new adventure as young empty-nesters with plenty of time and money. Despite being young, fit, and healthy, I was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the career change. The combined effects of the surgeries, chemo and radiation left me unable to perform sexually. Our epic sex life was over and there was a chance it would never come back. My wife was more upset than me about my condition, as if she weren't good enough to make my "man-gear" work.
Fortunately, I did eventually heal and we were able to resume a normal sex life. But during the time when we went without sex, we never suffered a break in intimacy. The hand-holding, kissing, shoulder rubs, hugs and touching has continued since the day we started dating. Even though I was reduced from a "door-kicker" to a pale, skinny couch potato who sometimes needed help getting up, we were still boyfriend and girlfriend. I opened doors for her, pulled out her chair, and stood when she got up from the table. I didn't want her to be my nurse, because she is my "lady."
I've been cancer-free for almost four years now. We came out of our ordeal closer than ever because we now know how short life is. If sexual intercourse was the only intimacy we had shared, that intimacy would have been lost when we needed it most. Thank you for helping us to "treat kindly" even through the tough times.