Cancer. The scariest six letter word I know.
Each of us easily associates a person with this disease. Hearing this word conjures up an image in our head of a beloved family member or friend. Even if this disease hasn’t directly affected our own family, we know someone where it has devastated their entire family.
What happens when you’re on the receiving end of a doctor telling you, “I’m sorry. The biopsy came back and it’s Cancerous”?
But what happens when this becomes your reality?
Four months had passed with what I thought was a cut on my nose. It bled often when I came out of the shower. Some days it looked better than others. It was noticeable because there was a strange indentation. The details are necessary so you can do a quick mental assessment while reading this to determine if this describes anything on your own body.
At the urging of my daughter and a friend, I finally visited the doctor. I had blown off going for so long because I thought it was nothing. Scratch that. Truth be told, I blew it off because deep down I knew it was something. I didn’t want to hear those words. I didn’t want it to be me.
Basal Cell Carcinoma. In laymen terms, Skin Cancer. Cancer lives inside my body.
When sharing this news, most people told me “oh, that’s not a big deal. Tons of people get that”.
While that should ease my mind, it doesn’t. Cancer exists where there was none before. 40% chance of it coming back.
I have Googled the shit out of this and have learned there is a 98% cure rate through Mohs surgery.
In light of this good news, I count my blessings. I suppose this is the “best” kind of cancer to get or so others have told me. To me, it’s a ridiculous statement. Cancer is the fucking devil! I don’t want any kind. I appreciate the fact that my Cancer (scary that I now have to call it my own) is probably one of the mildest versions while others have suffered incredibly from this body eating disease. I am grateful.
The surgeon will chisel away a portion of my beautiful Italian nose. (I’ve never loved my nose so much before or been so keenly aware of its existence). I’m told I will be stitched closed with at least fifty stitches and a skin graft.
Why oh fucking why, does this have to be on my face? Please indulge me and let me be vain for a brief moment. After all, I have Cancer. It’s a free pass to bitch (says me). I pride myself on three things: my face, my hair and my legs. Now I’m going to have a mangled Elephant Man face. OMG!!! I am a woman. Looks matter. May my legs and hair forever look good. Say it with me, “amen”. Meltdown over.
Lastly, I offer one piece of advice to those who have endured reading my killjoy blog thus far. When someone has Cancer of any kind, no matter how minimal you may perceive it to be, please don’t say “it’s not a big deal”. The most comforting words I can hear is “that sucks”. Empathy is like comfort food in this situation.
So in closing, I’d like to channel my girl, Gloria Gaynor, and tell you, I will survive. I’ll add this experience to my arsenal of stories and triumphs. Fuck Cancer!