Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cancer Schmancer

That's the title of Fran Drescher's book about her challenge beating uterine cancer.

It's her tongue-in-cheek memoir of living with a disease that can taint virtually every cell in your body.


It's a simple, six letter word but carries with it the same powerful anguish that's unleashed by hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.


A physical phenomenon that ravages a body and devastates a family.


A battle over a single body that surgeons, internists, oncologists and the like suit up to fight.


A grim whisper that can change the emotional landscape of a loved one's heart.

I'm really lucky. No one in my family, immediate or otherwise, has died of the wretched disease. We've struggled with heart disease. We've battled alcoholism. We've beaten brain tumors, but we haven't had to tangle with that trespasser called cancer.

But lately the disease has weighed heavily on my heart. My mother had her thyroid removed Monday after doctors grew concerned over inconclusive test results. The gland got sent off for more analysis and we were to have the results yesterday.

But that wasn't the case.

I called home to check up on Mom and she sounded crushed and desperate. I could only imagine the tense anguish that comes with waiting for results that very well could shatter a person's future.

I calmed her down, playing up a scenario involving some lazy hospital hack not getting the job done on time, but anxiety rushed through my veins the minute I hung up the phone.

Last night I sat on my front porch, tears streaming down my face. I subjected myself to the painful thought of a Christmas without a perfectly roasted turkey and the candles in the window. A future without a grandmother for my children. The challenge of weathering the rest of womanhood without the one person I trust to hold my hand along the way.

It was like pushing pins into my skin - forcing myself to feel the pain while bracing for something worse.

There's so much I need to learn about life, adulthood, womanhood, motherhood. And I just can't stand the idea of going down that road without my mother.

Thankfully we were blessed with a negative test result.

The verdict came in this morning.

I am so grateful. I know full well that these past few days of terror and concern are a dim comparison to the actual torment others experience while fighting cancer.

And now, we are stronger - and ready for the next challenge.

The American Cancer Society hosts its annual 24 hour Relay for Life event at Shea Stadium in Norwood. The event kicks off at 6 pm tomorrow night and wraps up at noon Saturday. Come out and walk a lap or two and light a luminaria to honor your favorite cancer fighter. I'll be there for the duration and am looking forward to the 3 am karaoke competition.


Becky said...

Thank goodness that your mom is OK... that is definitely a scary wait; my mom had her thyroid removed when I was in the 8th grade. That was before HIPAA laws, of course, so imagine my surprise when the doctor called; Mom wasn't home, can I take a message?; "Yes, could you please let her know that we will need to schedule thyroid removal surgery?"

Um... sure? Scary. Congrats on a negative test result!!

NB-C said...

Thank goodness! I was on pins and needles through the entire really makes you appreciate what you have when you are faced with uncertainties....I'm glad your Mom is gonna be OK!

Denae said...

so glad things are ok, sweetie. your mom is such a sweetie and no one should have to face cancer anyway. love u.