Ava Grace's Closet: On Cancer

Monday, April 8, 2013

On Cancer

I had a much different post ready for today.  A lighthearted post about shopping for a new baby since I did that this past weekend. 
But, in an effort to be truthful to myself and to those who stop to read, I have cancer on my mind.
A friend of a friend who I don't really know that well was diagnosed. 
Stage IV. 
She is my age. 42. 42!
I still feel 27. And she? She has stage.four.cancer.
I find it unfair.
Scary.
Sad.
It is unfathomable. Unbelievable. I don't want to hear anymore.
I can't stop reading. 
I wake up thinking about her. 
I don't really know her that well.
I look at every.single.one of her face book pictures.
I do. 
I am not sure why.

One of my closest and dearest friends fathers.
Lung cancer.
He is 67.
It is found quite early. This is good.
They operate and remove 3 lobes on one lung.
They get all of the cancer.
And then, some time later, he starts to feel not so well.
The family actually thinks he might have had a stroke.
When in fact, it a brain tumor.
This cancer is like a monster. It hides and then when you least expect it, it pops up somewhere else. 
I envision it in his body. It travelling. 
What it looks like. 
I think that if I had cancer, I would want to see it once it is removed.
I think that's weird.

I receive a message letting me know that her appendix has ruptured.
It is likely caused by the cancer.
They are not sure what to do because of the cancer that surrounds the organ.
I am told they will wait for the oncologists to potentially operate.
I woke up yesterday morning thinking of her.
I picture the smiling face I saw on face book. And I have an overwhelming feeling that I am going to turn on my phone and get bad news.
I do not.
Instead, I find out shortly afterwards that she is in surgery.
Hopeful.
I also find out that what was originally thought to be stage IV ovarian cancer actually started in the colon.
I wonder if that is better. Or worse.
Or either.
At times like this, I think google can be your friend. Or your very worse enemy.

He had surgery last week.
My friend is so strong, she does not cry when she speaks to me.
But I can sense that she is not herself.
Monotone. 
I think about my own father and want to cry.
The surgery goes well. He speaks. He moves his arms. He is hungry.
She tells me it does not look pretty. 
I didn't imagine that it would. 
But for now, he is cancer-free. 
And she is cooking. And he is eating.
He will go home soon. 
And then, he will begin radiation since brain tumors do not respond to chemotherapy.
I never knew that.
I have been learning a lot of things about cancer that I never knew before.

The surgery is a success.
They have removed her ovaries. Her uterus.
The appendix.
We are not sure about the rest of the tumors that plague her still-young body.
We text and google. Google and text.
We text about what she should be eating.
What she should be drinking.
I wonder about everything I've eaten and drank. 
Her family has driven across country to be with her and I find an odd peace in knowing her mama is with her.
I don't know her very well but I know she is well-loved.
I also learn she is the baby of the family and that makes me sad. 

Further testing has discovered that the cancer has metastasized. I had wondered how it got from the lungs to the brain. I did.
They fear it may be in the lymph nodes.
Which would mean chemotherapy alongside the radiation.
Where does it end? How much more bad news?
I wonder what I would do.
If it were my dad. 
If it were me.


I hate cancer. 


I am dedicating this post to a man who could be my father and a woman who could be me. 

24 comments :

  1. Oh, Susan. It really isn't fair, is it? My dad had cancer years ago, but thankfully has been in remission for 10 years now. I was in denial at the time about just how scary it was, choosing to naively believe instead that everything would just be ok. I'll be praying for your friend, and your other friend's dad today.

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    1. It's not. And I appreciate the prayers as I'm sure they would. xo

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  2. I've lost too many to cancer in this last 12 month period - ages range from 35 to early 60s. Never easy.

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  3. aww friend thanks for sharing your heart today. my dad died of cancer when i was 19 .. it is an ugly thing. and you are so right about google and the whole series of "why's" ... the thing of it is this isn't heaven and we live in a fallen world. and sometimes is really really stinks. but john 16:33 tells us : "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." and i know that god can take a bad situation and find small blessings in them he can turn our sorrow into dancing ( psalm 30:11 )

    praying!

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    1. I had no idea girl! Thank you for sharing that. And thanks for every last prayer. xo

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  4. It is difficult to say anything. So many of us lost someone to cancer. It is terrible. A good friend died of a brain tumor 2 years ago, the father of my daughter's best friend is currently fighting it.

    No, it is not fair.

    Annette

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    1. It's really not. And I'm finding the older I get, I feel like I'm just surrounded by it more...so scary. And so sad.

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  5. Dearest Susan,
    This silent killer is our worst enemy and it lurks somewhere down there where we don't know, not in time at least.
    The saddest is that last year we lost three loved ones of cancer; three brain cancer of which one had a combination of lung and brain cancer. He was only 59 and the other just made it to the age of 30, not even realizing it himself anymore. Sad for his young widow. All they got from their marriage was trouble and hurt and grief... WHY? There must be a heaven; otherwise this life is not fair. Wishing LOVE and strength to all those that are facing this dreadful disease right now.
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette

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    1. Yes Mariette, I am sure there must be. 30! That is so not fair. And it seems that the combination of lung and brain cancer is more common than I thought. Just awful, awful, awful. Hugs back. xo

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  6. I totally understand this hit me close to home. I have a 28-year old cousin who has stage 4 esophageal cancer. it spread from his esophagus to his liver. They are treating him at MD Anderson in Houston with a very controversial treatment but it is his last chance. A few weeks ago they gave him 2 months he has two small boys under the age of six and a beautiful wife. I just don't understand how this could happen to them. All I can do is keep them in my prayers. Cancer is indeed a horrible horrible disease.

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  7. Cancer is a feirce force that steals so many wonderful souls from this world.
    I worked in a children's hospital and the tears would well up every time I walked onto the cancer unit. Awful.
    No human should have to endure that

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  8. Beautifully written piece. I have a very good friend going through breast cancer....my age! She was otherwise healthy, ate well, exercised, was in great shape. It's weird and so seemingly random. It does really make you sit back and think. I hope that both of the people you wrote about are ok.

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  9. We have lots of questions with no answers as we do not know how God runs His world. It's so sad to see young people suffer so much and we just have to keep praying for the best in everything.

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  10. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear this. It just breaks my heart.

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  11. I hate cancer too. My grandparents died of it which means any one of my family member is susceptible into a having one as well. And since we can't adjust our genes, lifestyle changes are needed to be done in order to avoid it or push it back a little bit until we're more old.

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  12. Thank you for being so honest about your feelings here. I have been though not being able to think of anything else and trying to write happy stuff. Good for you for just pouring out what you are thinking of. It seems that Cancer has touched all of us. these stories just bring home how short life really is. PS I am 45.

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  13. I am sorry that your friend is suffering from cancer. It is tough knowing that this can happen to anyone. I lost my mom a few years ago to Pick's Disease (a rare form of Alzheimer's), she was only in her 50's. I wish there was no such thing as these awful diseases.

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  14. it's a scary thing. we just lost a friend (in her 40s) to brain cancer. my neighbor/friend at work had a HUGE blood clot in her ENTIRE leg, found out it was from cancer. she underwent 4 surgeries and her chemo. our UPS guy just told me he was out for a few weeks getting treatment for his cancer!! he's in his 30s! prayers for them all.

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  15. Ohhhh this post! My husband lost his beloved mother to cancer way too early on. Just recently I have found myself going down that ugly what if it was me? Road. Cancer, so tragic, so scary, silent killer amongst us. I linger and worry about these things too! It's too much sometimes.

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  16. I had cancer 7 years ago... At age 19! Crazy.. You think you're invincible at that age. And I'm not gonna lie.. I asked the surgeon if I could see my tumor. So you're not the only weird one! Ha :) thankfully I'm in remission. Cancer is a nasty nasty disease! Gotta trust in God!!

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  17. Cancer sucks! And it is so awful that so many of us are still so touched by this subject, and yet so little has been done to cure/prevent and the like. It sucks.

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  18. I hate cancer, too. It's so awful. I'm glad these people have you in their lives to encourage them and show them that you care. I know they must be thankful to have people around them to help them to keep fighting this disease.

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I love reading every last one. Thanks so much for stopping by our little blog. xo.

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