I have cancer, it doesn’t have me.
For the next few months, this will be my motto. My world got jostled when my doc told me that the results of the needle biopsy on the lump in my neck showed cells indicative of skin cancer. She sent me to the next specialist, an ear/nose/throat guy. I thought they just did tonsils and stuff, so still wasn’t real worried. Turns out that ENT also treats cancers. Lots of them. I learned that from looking at the posters that lined the walls of the clinic. You see, the kind of cancer I seem to have grown usually finds its way on to the skin of the face. One of my dearest friends just underwent treatment for this last week. Mine, however, found its way into my head, probably in the roof of my mouth.
The endoscope up my nostril also didn’t show any obvious tumours, so we still don’t know a lot. There are optimistic signs. I have had the lump in my neck for over a year, and it has not changed, so it is slow growing. I am basically healthy so expect to tolerate radiation quite well. I have a wonderful network of friends.
I am sorting out my emotions around this. I’ve known for years that I push hard. I live a big life, and I really do love it. A few weeks ago, I did a solo day trip on my motorcycle to Sparwood and back. A couple of weekends ago, I hauled horses out to Saskatoon on the weekend. I feel pretty good other than a bit of a cold I picked up last week. I certainly don’t feel like a cancer patient.
I’m scared, though. Scared of being sick. Of not being able to do the things I love to do. Of being dependent on others for stuff I’ve always done. Of not being able to take care of the people and creatures I love. Of being weak.
I’m angry at my body for betraying me when I’ve taken pretty good care of it.
More than anything, I’m grateful for the amazing friends and family that are showing such care and concern for me. It’s a confusing time, and I’m up and down emotionally.
I am helping myself by moving forward with the construction plans for my stairs and decks. I didn’t plan on being home to supervise construction quite so closely and picked a crappy way to get time off work, but I have it. I am making a list of the people who are willing to help out. My Mom arrives this weekend. I will have some further tests and surgical biopsies in the next week or two and start radiation the week after that. Most likely, I will need rides to and from Tom Baker daily for several weeks.
Make time today to do something you love. I know I will.