I sit here tonight thinking after drowning my sorrows in a bottle (hic) of my current favorite wine. (Apothic Red) On February first I lost my father to metastatic colon cancer. My daddy – my knight in shining armor. I have always been his shadow – the child most like him. I still expect the phone to ring and to hear his voice on the other end of the line. I could always call him and get a good dose of reality and love. Now he’s gone and I don’t have that voice to depend on. I didn’t have enough time to spend with him – my children didn’t have enough time to know the wonderful man he was.
Today I get the news that my mother has metastatic pancreatic cancer. She has already beaten colon cancer 25 years ago and now she faces that battle again. Her odds are half the odds my father had to survive a year 23% to 48%. My mother and I have a complicated relationship. She didn’t like my father very much when they split – I was just like him – ergo she didn’t like me very much. After many years I have come to realize I love my mother – I just don’t like her very much. Now as the medical professional in the family I am the tower of support – that is my part to play. I am the hard ass who says cure is not a possibility – at this point it is palliation only. I am the one who bursts all the optimistic bubbles that say all will be well. I sit here and revisit my own mortality as I too have had the cancer diagnosis. I wonder what badness is running through my veins that I am unaware of. I wonder how I will tell my children that their Granny will most likely not survive the year. Why is this my burden to bear – why can’t I have goodness and light to share? How soon will I have to tell my children that I too am dying? Tell them that I am mortal and will not live to see another year.
I think others see the cancer diagnosis, the surgery, the chemo and the radiation and think your fight is over – you won – you beat the cancer. But that is so not the end of the story. Every thing you do is predicated with the thought that this could be the last time – your last chance for “blank”. I hope that as a society we learn that therein lays fallacy. Those who have had a cancer diagnosis are never free from that diagnosis – we live each day in fear that the beast will return. We fear that we will not be strong enough to defeat it this time. Realize this and be gentle……..