cancer

Cancer and Cookies by Elizabeth Roland

Cancer, cookies... and a little boy’s first time visiting his dad in the hospital

That Thursday was a day of transition.  My husband Steve, whose colon cancer had returned six months earlier, had already undergone 28 radiation treatments and still looked forward to 5 months of chemotherapy.  But Friday was going to be the Big One.  Doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia planned to completely remove his rectum and re-route his remaining colon to a permanent stoma in his abdomen.  

Bee's picture

true facts

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:31 -- Bee

Did you know that belief in magical bunnies is mandatory if one wishes to receive baskets of treats? True fact. This is especially crucial in countries where baskets of treats do not routinely materialize during spring feasts.

In other spring festival news, my very own magical mama is visiting to celebrate her 60th birthday. I thank her, with fervent sincerity, for raising me with a wild and fierce love. Then letting me go.

On the subject of growing up, this week Salon is featuring a story I wrote about being a teenager, having cancer, and Madonna.

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you can't argue with cancer

Fri, 03/23/2012 - 15:09 -- Bee

When the bandages came off for the first time I stared at myself in the mirror for awhile, then turned to Byron. I said "Normal people would be really upset right now, wouldn't they?"

He looked, and sighed, and said "Yes."

Lucky I'm not vain, or normal.

The surgeon was impeccably conservative, taking only the tissue that needed to be removed, and verifying each layer with diagnostic tests. The reconstruction was performed by a world class plastic surgeon, and he feels he achieved an "excellent result."

Would you like to know what that looks like?

Bee's picture

everything is better with a cuppa

Wed, 03/21/2012 - 10:07 -- Bee

When I described the surgery to my daughter she said "So they're going to slice you up like prosciutto?"

Yes, exactly.

Except I was awake throughout and ham is normally, you know, dead.

Have you ever had surgery served up in courses, with intermissions in which you sit around with an open wound, waiting for the lab to say if the entire tumour has been removed? And if it hasn't, you get to go back under the knife, again, then wait for the lab results, again, repeat? For hours, and hours, and hours?

No?

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superhero skills

Sat, 03/10/2012 - 09:03 -- Bee

Observation: wandering around with a bandaged face is akin to having superhero skills. I'm invisible! People look at me, and their eyes slide away. . .

Except, of course, the people who stare, point, and whisper.

I thought I was used to this sort of thing but I forgot, or refused to believe, what it always feels like. My default setting is to ignore whatever I cannot change and this would fall under that heading, but honestly, the whole thing is tedious.

I've been thinking I should write CANCER across the bandages. Just to, you know, clarify.

Bee's picture

the plot thickens

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 09:01 -- Bee

When the skin cancer specialist heard that the genetic test was negative, he laughed and said "The plot thickens!"

Then he examined my face, and ordered more biopsies.

One of the more alarming aspects of my skin cancer is the fact that the tumours are unusual. No general practitioner I've ever met could accurately diagnose a lesion, and very few dermatologists have been willing to treat me.

Looking at my own face, I couldn't see what the doctor wanted to remove.

I could only see the scars.

But that is irrelevant, and the appointment was arranged.

Bee's picture

having what you do not have

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 08:57 -- Bee

March 1 was the big day, the culmination of years of dithering and debate. I woke up early, grabbed a cup of coffee, muttered the standard protests, and proceeded to a prestigious and historic hospital widely perceived to be one of the best in the world.

The doctor performed a perfunctory examination, looking at my palms and knuckles, measuring my head, scribbling notes on paper. Then she folded her hands together, looked mournful, and intoned the results of a DNA test performed to confirm the genetic disorder I was diagnosed with in 1983:

Negative.

Bee's picture

my life fucking sucks disorder

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 01:58 -- Bee

For the last couple of decades I've been under the impression that I possess a tendency toward cyclical depression, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

The proof of this would be a tendency toward winter hibernation, and a sort of poignant despondency around my birthday. Which, if you recall, is also the anniversary of my terminal cancer diagnosis and (forevermore) the usual and expected time for me to trudge back to the specialty clinics for more treatment and evaluation.

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the right wrong thing

Fri, 02/10/2012 - 02:02 -- Bee

The surgeon wanted to make a standing date for more super annoying cancer treatments every Friday for the rest of the month.

I went "Uh. . . no."

He was surprised - who turns down such exciting offers?

I shrugged. "I'll be out of the country."

The plan was even (to my not so secret delight) a direct challenge to the whole notion of cancer, because I jetted away toward that dazzling forbidden treat: sunlight.

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