Of the 15,500 obscure words in the dictionary for the International House of Loggorrhea, 1,317 words start with the letter “C.” Of course, if you take into account the simple, ordinary, everyday words, I am sure that the number is might be about 8,000 or so words that start with the silly little inconsequential letter “C”. Some of my favorite words start with the letter “C”….cat, chicken, cactus, can, courage, compassion, but there is one word that starts with the letter “C” that I just cannot stand.
Cancer. According to dictionary.com, cancer:
- a malignant and invasive growth or tumor, especially one originating in epithelium, tending to recur after excision and to metastasize to other sites.
any disease characterized by such growths
C14: from Latin: crab, a creeping tumour; related to Greek karkinos crab, Sanskrit karkata
Cancer sucks. Nothing ever good comes from the word cancer. All that being said, cancer and I have become good friends these last couple of weeks. It was not my choice to become friends, but cancer decided to move in with the one person who means the most to me in this world. Now, this is not the first time that my mom has battled cancer, and the sad thing is, it probably won’t be the last time, but it does not make it any less scary with each time that she has to go under the knife. She has given up quite a bit of nonessential space to cancer over the years (I mean, who needs lymph nodes, or a uterus, or even one of your auditory nerves?), and now she has to give up part of her leg to skin cancer. She has been largely silent while dealing with this, and I honestly went back and forth about whether or not I should make her struggle public. The thing is, writing about it helps me cope. I’ve written about horrible break-ups, deaths, being bullied, being expelled, dealing with horrible, soul crushing depression, so to write about my mom’s cancer seems only natural because it helps me cope.
I’m with my mom everyday. I can see that she is not dying, and I have a feeling that the doc will be able to scoop it all out tomorrow, and other than no longer being allowed to sit in the sun, my mom will be no worse for the wear. Logically, I know all of this to be true. There is still a part of me that is worried that they are going to take the leg, or that the cancer has spread in the month since they found it and are going to remove it. I’m worried that she keeps saying everything will be fine because she doesn’t want us to worry, when in reality, it is really bad. I’ve spent the last three years trying to learn to not borrow trouble before it is due, but it is times like this when I am sitting alone, it is late, and I have way too many things that need to be done, that my mind wanders and I start to think of all the bad things that might happen. It is times like this that I question my choice to move so far away. If she has to go through chemo, there is no one to sit with her and play scrabble, or make bad jokes. If she gets worse, there is no one here to make sure the house stays clean, to cook meals, and to watch bad reality TV with her. It would take me almost 24 hours to get home if something really bad happened. It makes me feel selfish that I am going off on this big adventure and doing something for purely selfish reasons when she could need the help here.
I already know that she would tell me that is ridiculous. She has my dad to help her, and she will be just fine. Well, I’ve been in the car with my dad, and I know how long it takes him to cook a meal, so things might go as well for her as she hopes….just saying.
While I am always a little bit afraid (okay, a lot a bit afraid) of the “C” word, I am also exhausted, and frustrated by it. How much more is one person supposed to take? When does my mom get a vacation from the health issues? Why can’t the cancer go bug someone else? Shoot, I’d take it this round instead of her. I can see how tired she, how ready she is to not have to deal with things like this. It makes me mad that she is carrying this burden, and for the most part, she is carrying it all by herself.
Since the procedure is not at the hospital, I am going to stay home and man the phones while she is at the doctor’s office. My time will be better spent here anyway. When she had brain surgery, it was the longest seven hours of my life, and we were camped out by the little room they took people into to tell them their loved ones had died. It was stressful. At least at home I can grade papers, watch TV, do yoga, and be distracted enough to keep my mind off things.
Tomorrow, I am hoping she goes into the doctor’s office with two legs and come out with 1.9 legs, laughing in the face of the skin cancer. I’m going to try and find local pet stores that sell parrots, just in case she comes home down a leg, and would like to transition into her life as a pirate immediately. I’d imagine it is hard to get your hands on a parrot, so it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
A couple of weeks ago we had new family pictures done, and despite my mom’s hopes for normal, I think the photos capture us (and her cancerous leg) quite nicely.
You can see a person’s whole life in the cancer they get.”
― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
I guess well educated sun goddess is a pretty accurate description