In October, I sat in our car in the parking lot of the urgent care, calling the ultrasound place thinking “I wonder if I will look back on this moment and think, wow, that’s the first time I thought maybe I had cancer. This is the first step in a long list of steps and I have to just do it. I have to get there right now. I am going to remember this moment.”
On Monday, I was told, after all of the poking and prodding and surgery and negative biopsy and second opinion and the kind dermatologist who took care of me at the moment I needed it– that indeed, Fred was fucking cancer. (I am using the f word rather liberally this week, mainly preceding the word “cancer.”)
Even typing that gruesome word gives me pause (hence the need for the f bomb before it). It hasn’t really seeped all the way in yet. I get a weird fluttery feeling in my stomach when I have to say the word and I’ve watched my friends and family get really nervous and upset around me. I’ve had people from near and far offer so much love and support. And somehow, I still don’t believe they’re talking about ME.
To be clear, the prognosis is the best there is, no further treatment right now; just to get healthy, get running and dancing again and take care of my body so no little rogue cell is able to take root again. Regular appointments to check the other side of my thyroid. Easy peasy yeah?
Except, the doctor said “papillary carcinoma” and then I forgot all of the other things. Cause no matter what comes after it, the word is out there. Cancer. Carcinoma. I have watched numerous people I love go through all types of cancer; I have danced and run in their names; I have donated and sent flowers and cried and loved and been relieved. And waited, just waited for news. I have been in a lot of the places you can be when it comes to cancer: lover, daughter, friend, long distance internet support. Griever and cheerleader. But never here.
Intellectually, I know that the statistics say that I dodged a bullet, that I am fine. That all in all, this is a blip on the radar. But in my heart, my mama heart, it’s absolutely terrifying. It will get less so, I know. But today, it feels scary. It feels scary to know that the scar on my neck was cancer treatment. And that if just one cell managed to escape- that in fact, we’re not done with this.
I am not at the point yet where I am ready for silver linings and “carpe diems” and memes– we know I’ll get there, cause I always do. But for now I am pissed and offended at the gumption of fucking cancer to add me to this club. I won’t stay in this place cause I’ll take the rage and move it along into bad-assery… but for now. I get to have a moment.
I will say, that on the day your mama was diagnosed with cancer, we danced and made cookies and read The Lorax for the 15 millionth time and made sure to love each other really well, so even in my attempt to be rageful, we know I am bathed in light. Love you babies.
One thought on “The C Word”
I have three little things to say to you, Kate. They’re not going to change your life or make you cry or even stick with you an hour from now, but I’m going to say them anyway because I want you to know that I’m thinking about you and because you’re no longer right down the street from me, so I can’t walk my butt down to your house and say them to your sweet face. Here goes: 1) my aunt was diagnosed with the same cancer more than twenty years ago and homegirl is as feisty and wild as ever, driving my mom (her twin) bananas; 2) you are fierce and brave and wondrous; and 3) fucking cancer (because we cannot leave off the very applicable F bomb) is so fucking dumb to have even considered messing with the likes of you. Rock on with your bad self, babe, rock on. XX