Sorry for the radio silence, guys. Just as I was hitting a happy plateau of life with a chronic illness, I got hit with a double whammy of news that shook me pretty hard. First, a member of my extended family was told she had ovarian cancer and a tumor that looked to be the size of a grapefruit. She had surgery and expected to undergo intense chemo, but got news this week that they were able to remove all of the cancer and she will just need to have her blood monitored for the indefinite future. All of us who know and love her are breathing huge sighs of relief tonight.
Then, last week, I got a phone call that felt nearly equivalent to the one I got last August telling me my cancer had spread - like I had been punched in the gut. My dad called to tell me that a mole he'd had removed from his chest was malignant, even though he'd been told repeatedly it was "probably nothing" - seriously, that phrase should be banned from doctors' offices. It turns out that the spot was melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Cancer couldn't just affect me - it had to come after my dad, too?
Yesterday, my dad went in for surgery to have a wider swath of skin around the area removed; his doctors are confident it had not spread and the surgery was sufficient to call him cancer-free. The surgical pathology report in a week and a half will confirm this; I'm trying not to spend all of that time biting my nails.
In all honesty, my dad has probably taken this news better than I have, and I've spent the better part of this week trying to figure out exactly why it hit me so hard, when he has reassured me over and over that his doctors are confident. It isn't just the fear of losing him, but the news also shook up a hornet's nest of emotions I thought I'd laid to rest about my own mortality. I looked at Chris one night last weekend, tears streaming down my cheeks, and said, "I don't want to die of cancer."
"I don't know why you'd think that," he said. "You've beaten this twice."
But my dad's news reminded me that we don't have much control over how or why or who this disease hits, or who will beat it. Now I just have to recalibrate how to be okay with that, but it might take some time for my dust to settle. Please bear with me in the meantime.