(Oct '08) I am a 38 year old gay man living my life out in Quincy, MA (one city south of Boston). I ended a 14 year relationship just two years ago that may be reuniting. I met my ex-partner just a few months after coming out and was quite comfortable with my life, in fact so comfortable that I gained quite a bit of weight. After some cheating issues we broke things off and I worked my ass off (literally) at the gym. I know that is typical for a gay man, but during the last two years I have had some family issues that have also changed my life dramatically. My sister moved to Mississippi and her two teenage sons were having some issues, and she needed help herself. They both are now living in my house and have been since about 6 months after my break-up. I have seen my life transformed. These two teenagers have been very supportive of my life and even helped me through what was a very tough time in my life. I now have one of them about to move out on his own, a big step for both him and I at this point. I have changed two young family members lives and at the same time regained my own.
I have been recently spending time with my ex in between being a “single gay soccer dad” and struggling with my job as a real estate agent in very tough economic times. As you can imagine it was a struggle to date again after such a long term relationship, and even more so with most gay men viewing the raising of two teenage boys as “baggage”. I am proud to have that “baggage” around me every day, and proud of what they have become. They experience a very large portion of my life and spend time with my friends who often help out when I am not available for them.
I recently took on the Harbor to Bay bike ride for HIV causes, a 126 mile ride from Boston to Provincetown. At 6:00am, the morning of the ride, as I prepared to pull out of Copley Square in Boston I received a text from the younger of the two boys wishing me luck and providing words of encouragement. He knew and understood what the ride meant to me, raising money for a good cause and a personal challenge. This has simply become a regular life to me at this point.
I am blessed to live in Massachusetts where being out is not a problem, even living in a small neighborhood filled with retired people in their 70’s. They have all embraced me, and in fact one of my neighbors recognized my weight loss after the break-up and was concerned and was bringing me meals (typical Italian mother). I am proud of who I am, and have experienced a lot recently. I don’t hide who I am and haven’t since I came out shortly after turning 21. I am also proud to provide an example and environment for my nephews that allows them to develop into who they are and will become. My friend suggested I was a very good candidate to show another side OUT in these times, and I am proud to represent another segment of being out as a gay man.
(Nov 09 update) I went to the hospital thinking I had some sort of stomach virus or kidney stones, left 7 days later having 14 inches of my intestines removed and my life completely changed with a colon cancer diagnosis. I had got back together with my ex before this happened and could not have made it through the last three weeks without him. He has been there every step of the way, so at least there was some good coming from him being laid off from work one week prior to this happening. I had even taken on a puppy last May that I was raising for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and he would have went in for training in March, but left early because of my situation. Again, so much for Karma and the belief that good things come to people who help others. However, I have tremendous support from so many people that it is overwhelming at times which helps me redeem that Karma belief (not a religious bone in my body otherwise).
Living in the Boston area has it's definite advantages, along with a very diverse and accepting community, it has incredible medical resources. I have picked a great doctor who specializes in my exact type of cancer. He has a team of people, including a surgeon who specializes in liver surgery, which will be my next step along with chemo therapy. Stage 4 Colon Cancer means that it spread, but I am lucky that it had not gone too far. I only have two tiny spots on my liver that need to be removed, and I am hoping that can be done without another huge scar. I know that I will overcome this new obstacle in my life, as I have so many other things. The last few years of my life have taught me so much, but nothing changes your perspective like this has!