The “C” word. Cancer. I hate cancer and the fear it has injected into my life. I had a productive and happy weekend. I got home a few hours ago from dinner at my parents house feeling relaxed, grateful and tired. Came up to bed by midnight as my eyes kept closing. I was looking forward to falling asleep easily tonight. And it almost happened…but anxiety crept in like it sometimes does. I grab my iPad to research something then looked at my Facebook news feed.
I see smiling faces who shine despite their chemotherapy regimes. I see friends shaving their heads and managing to have fun with it. I also see some friends who are really ill and fighting for their lives and their smiles are gone. I see prayer requests for friends who aren’t tolerating radiation well. I feel tears roll down my cheeks because I hate cancer and I hate seeing friends lose hope. I don’t believe in hating things but cancer has earned it. What purpose does it serve?
My mom is having skin cancer removed tomorrow. My Dad’s bladder cancer has resurfaced after going into remission just 6 months ago…he has new spots they are watching. We will know more next month. The thought of losing my stepdad one day to anything brings instant tears to my eyes but I just can’t lose another loved one to fucking cancer.
My 3 month checkup is in a couple more weeks and I am far from fearless about it. I almost feel like not going to it. Because as brave as I tried to be when they found the mass last year – after the shock wore off; I lived in fear for 3 months and hid my real feelings from most people. And when I could no longer pretend to be brave and strong I surrendered and let myself feel the weight of reality. Biopsies, ultrasounds, pet scans, endless blood work, an MRI, trips to the ER, painful exams, second opinions, surgery. Crying in public randomly every time I realized the effect my lack of bravery was having on my support system.
If god never gives people more than they can handle what exactly is he throwing at everyone who dies from terminal illnesses? Aren’t the kids dying of starvation technically being given “more than they can handle”? I think we can all agree that anyone who dies from suicide felt they had taken on more than they could handle. Witnessing so much suffering does make me question my faith.
I wrote the paragraphs above a few weeks ago – yesterday I went back to my gynecological oncologist for my 3 month check-up. I wasn’t concerned about anything other than telling him that the surgery in 2011 combined with the surgery in December had forced me into early menopause. Which he had warned me “would probably happen” and we discussed hormone replacement therapy drugs 6 months ago. Yet I still was having endometrial level periods and irregular bleeding. And that I had made an executive decision that he should go ahead with the full hysterectomy which has been “highly recommended” to me for many years now. But I resisted because…dude, my organs serve purposes more than just making eggs. Sexual functions. And because forced early menopause sucks ass; hormonally it can be hell.
I waited almost 2 hours past my scheduled appointment time for anyone to come into the room. Ridiculous and unacceptable. Fuck the healthcare in this country right now. We pay more for shittier service than any other country. When he finally graced me with his presence and I do like him as a person – he questioned my hormonal imbalance symptoms and said “Let’s run blood work, Kelley”. Coming from a man I found this hilarious. Let’s take some of your blood and test it for testosterone, then. He then did a biopsy of my uterus because it’s been abnormal since my teens. Endometriosis.
He then did a vaginal and pelvic exam and said “Well honey you have another huge mass growing inside you again, seems solid not fluid filled like a cyst…and we need to take blood for cancer testing and we need to schedule you for an ultrasound because I don’t know if this tumor is growing on that tiny bit of your one ovary you have left or your uterus, now. I love your shirt. Here, give me your hand so you can feel It! It’s HUGE! Feel it through your abdomen!” Fuck that office that told me I had to wait a few weeks for an ultrasound to even determine where this new thing is growing inside me. Fuck cancer. Take a moment and be grateful for your health if you have it. And send love to anyone who is battling cancer, who is surviving cancer and for those grieving a loss. You never fully understand something until it happens to you.