According to court documents, Angela Buchanan, 30, of Lufkin, Texas, desperately wanted to be in a romantic relationship with a long-time female friend. She contacted the friend on Yahoo Messenger in March, explaining that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and was now suffering from a pre-cancerous mass. She told her concerned friend that she was being treated by a local gynecologist. Then the gynecologist contacted the friend too, also on Yahoo Messenger. The doctor confided to the friend that the pre-cancerous mass in Buchanan’s breast could possibly be delayed or even reduced and cured by an increase in hormone production, which, the doctor helpfully suggested, could be stimulated by sexual intercourse. The doctor recommended that the friend agree to participate in sexual activity with Buchanan in order to bolster this vital hormone production—if she really wanted to save her friend’s life, that is.
The caring friend was initially reluctant. The suggested treatment violated her religious convictions: she was a lesbian, but had sworn to be celibate because she believed homosexual relationships were sinful. Finally, she decided that the sacrifice was the right thing to do, as it might help Buchanan recover. Once the sexual relationship was underway, the doctor, who called himself “Doc” in exchanges with the friend, regularly provided her with the results of Buchanan’s blood tests to confirm that the therapy was working. He also coached her on the most beneficial nature, frequency and duration of the sex between the two women.
The recommendation was, I assume, “hot, often, and long.”
Later in the relationship, Buchanan said that she would take the advice of her friend turned lover, and get a mastectomy. Oddly, after the surgery was performed, when the friend questioned the surgeon in the hospital, he denied that he had performed a mastectomy, saying that the operation was a standard breast augmentation. “Doc” told the friend that the surgeon was lying because the surgery to remove the cancerous growth had been performed “under the table.”
In August of 2012 the couple were married, after Buchanan convinced her therapeutic sex partner to agree to the same-sex union because she was involved in a child custody dispute with her ex-spouse, and the new marriage would bolster her custody claim. In what must have been one of the great “NOW you tell me?” conversations of all time, Buchanan’s new spouse was informed after the wedding by her daughter that the daughter, who had once worked with Buchanan, suspected Buchanan was actually “Doc.” When the alarmed newlywed contacted Buchanan’s former partner, she disclosed that Buchanan had never had breast cancer, and that there was no ongoing custody battle. Then the horrified spouse contacted the real doctor whose name Buchanan had used to set up the fake online Yahoo account. The plot unraveled completely after that.
Buchanan confessed everything to the police, explaining that without the subterfuge, her friend, spouse, and victim wouldn’t have entered into the relationship.
Ah, what we do for love!
Buchanan’s presumably soon to be ex-spouse seems like a wonderful, kind, generous, and trusting—if excessively gullible— human being. Unfortunately, such people too often become the prey of sociopaths, who take advantage of the trust of others for their own purposes. I doubt that Angela Buchanan’s victim will ever be quite as trusting, generous or kind again.
The bizarre episode is a microcosm of American society’s path to cynicism and fear. We would be all so much more trusting and kind if we didn’t know that Angela Buchanans are lurking everywhere. They are not a large proportion of the population, but there are enough of them to make society meaner and lonelier than it should have to be.
Pointer: The Agitator
Graphic: Huffington Post