Friday, February 12, 2016

The Big "C"


I hate that term... the big "C". I am speaking of cancer of course. Most people know someone who has had cancer. Many have lost someone close to them because of cancer.

Cancer is an insidious disease. There is virtually no spot on the human body that cannot be attacked by cancer.

My grandmother had cancer. This was in the late 50's and early 60's. There was no treatment for it then. Her doctor decided it was best that she not know. That was common practice at the time. Cancer was a death sentence.

By the time another doctor wanted to do surgery to try to correct her condition it was too late. The disease was present everywhere. They simply closed the incision and sent her home to die.

Many of my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family have succumbed to this horrendous disease. One aunt is currently fighting leukemia. That was the cause of death of my grandfather; her father.

My ex-husband also had cancer. He hated doctors and ignored his symptoms until it was too late. It spread rapidly throughout his system. Thankfully it was not an abnormally long time that he suffered.

I have had my own experience with cancer. It was discovered during a routine physical exam. I had surgery almost immediately. The doctor said they removed it all. I did not have to undergo the horrors of chemotherapy or radiation.

From the beginning I knew that I would be fine. I do not know why; I just did.

The hard part was letting my children know. They went with me to testings and were there for the surgery. They asked questions of the doctor. I knew they were concerned but they seemed to take my cue and decided I would be okay.

I called my boss. He said, "That's serious, isn't it?" He sounded a little afraid for me. A few years later I was the only one of his employees who knew he had skin cancer. I guess he thought I could understand how he felt.

While I was recuperating at home the head of the Human Resources Department called every few days to see how I was. She was so kind. I heard from co-workers that she had done nothing like that for them. That is sad.

My children had to tell their children. My oldest grandson was in high school. His face fell and he plaintively asked, "Grandma Emma?" My daughter-in-law said that she felt like he would not have been as upset if it had been her mother. I do not believe that is true. I think it was just his way of wrapping his mind around the concept.

His sister is an artist. She did a pastel drawing of a unicorn for me to keep in my hospital room. It is now hanging in my bedroom.

My daughter's son provided me with his bell. When he was small he had surgery for a hernia. He asked me for a bell so he could ring for his mother when he needed something. He loaned it to me so I could ring for help. Unfortunately I was home alone during the day so no one heard me ringing.

His sister loaned me her lucky elephant. Ellie took good care of me while I was in the hospital and for a couple of weeks when I went home. Then she had to return to her owner.

It has been 12 years since all this happened. I am checked regularly but there has been no return of the cancer.


I periodically write a post about cancer. The reason is that I want all of you to make sure you have your regular physicals. Cancer is very treatable if caught early.

Acquaint yourself with some of the signs that you might want to check something specific like a mole that grows rapidly or changes color. Then have it checked. In most cases it will be nothing and you will not have to worry. If something is wrong you can fix it.

Make an appointment soon.

12 comments:

  1. Good advice. My good friend is through treatment 4 of 5 for lymphoma. She will be in remission then, we know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the last five years I have lost an ex-husband, 3 uncles, an aunt, and a sister-in-law to cancer. I think that at least some of them might have been here still if they had been diagnosed soon enough.

      Delete
  2. My mother's side of the family was ravaged by cancer but she never got it. My younger sister had an episode similar to yours. Surgery removed the tumor and it hasn't returned.
    I have check ups twice a year. So far my health has been really good except for knees that seem much older than the rest of me, but I won't whine about that.

    R

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy that you are watchful. Everyone should be. The exams and preparations for them are not fun but they beat the alternative.

      Delete
  3. It is very good not to forget those examinations - and watch out oneself. I am glad that you are healthy now for so long, and am utterly convinced that a positive attitude is one healing force among a lot of other factors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At times I feel like I have lived a charmed life. I had no symptoms and my cancer was discovered entirely by accident. In fact the doctor told me he had almost not looked as far as he did but decided at the last second to go that extra little bit. Those yearly exams are so important.

      Delete
  4. As always, good advice and glad to read that your cancer was detected and treated with no recurrence, Emma. Thankfully, it has not been an invasive malady in my family, although Pat's aunt was successfully treated for lung cancer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy that Pat's aunt was successfully treated. I hate to see people going through all that misery.

      Delete
  5. Cancer is terrible.
    We have to live a healthy life in order to say no to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sister-in-law never smoked and had a beer only once in a great while. She lived in the country and got plenty of exercise. She did not eat fast food because her mother cooked all meals. She never married. She died of stomach cancer. Living a healthy life is not a guarantee against cancer. But ignoring the signs and not seeing a doctor can make it worse. My sister-in-law like all of the family did not go to the doctor until too late. So yes a healthy life will make one able to fight a cancer but if it happens it must be taken care of promptly.

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the reminder to check for cancer.

    ReplyDelete