Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cancer, cancer everywhere

Okay, I'll admit I'm a bit obsessive/compulsive. Not the 'all shoes in the hall closet must be straight and parallel, separated by no more 2 inches but no less than 1.5' kind of OCD, but more of an intense focus. My obsessions ... errr ... interests have ranged from harmless to productive and most who know me know I usually have a 'hobby' going on. I've busied myself in the garage for the past 6 years (off and on) restoring old video games & pinball machines. Before that, I did geocaching for a couple years, and before that, photography for a year or two. Of course, Linda and the kids have BEEN my life for the past 15 years. My company and my passion for software has also received a good deal of my mind's focus. Although Linda would surely disagree, maybe I'm not all that obsessive/compulsive after all. Up until our diagnosis, it had been a healthy blend of family, professional growth, and solitary hobbies. (Don't get me started on email and Facebook)

Now, my life is consumed by cancer. Everywhere I look, cancer. Every time I think, cancer. I have a hard time remembering what life was like before our diagnosis 9 months ago. I'm sure I was happy about something, angry at someone, sad about something but these days it is all about cancer. I am happy Linda's chemo will be done on Thursday. I am pissed off that cancer stole the summer of 2008 from our kids, I am scared shitless about Linda's PET scan in 3 weeks, and I am sad because...well I am just sad. There are small moments in the day when I don't think about it, for maybe 5 minutes, but invariably the cancer creeps back into my thoughts. Even the exhilaration of plummeting 3-4 storeys down a water slide at Schlitterbahn is tainted by the fact that Linda couldn't come with us because she is extremely sensitive to sun during chemo. That's is OUR park and OUR tradition and the fucking cancer took that away from us. I haven't spent any time this summer in the garage tinkering with pins and my ability to concentrate at work has been haphazard at best. I try my best to keep the big 'what if' thoughts out of my head, but on bad days, they eat me from the inside. I'm sure a psychologist would say these are normal reactions and blah blah blah blah, and I'm sure they are, but that doesn't make them any easier to deal with. True to my OCD tendencies, my life has become cancer.

You know when you buy a new car and as you're driving home from the dealership, all of a sudden, it seems EVERYONE has the same car. It's kinda like that with cancer. It seems every week I learn of someone else whose fighting cancer. My best-man's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer weeks after our diagnosis. A dear friend, who I have a great deal of respect and affection for, was diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago. A blog friend's sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last month, and just this morning, a friend from high school related to me that a member of his extended family was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is a club that turns out to be not very exclusive at all. My immediate and extended family has had its fair share of cancer, especially on Linda's side who lost her father to multiple myeloma. Cancer really is everywhere. Do me, yourself, and your family a favor and make an appointment to see your family doctor or specialist today. Do not ignore that funny looking mole on your back, do not put off that annual mammogram, and guys, that 10 second visit with Dr. Finger may seem uncomfortable, but in the end (pardon the pun), you'll be a hero to those who love you.

4 comments:

ReneeST said...

I appreciate your open and honest feelings about your family's journey with breast cancer in this blog.

I am a recent breast cancer "previvor", with a spouse who doesn't talk "feelings". After reading your blog - and sending him the link - I asked if he too would create a blog. I am trusting that even if he doesn't create his own blog, by reading yours, he can see he is not alone and that his "feelings" are normal.

However, sometimes we have to remember that normal is just a setting on the dryer. And instead of AD and BC, we now refer to our lives as BD and AD (Before Diagnosis and After Diagnosis).

Keep up the great work on your blog and supporting your wife and family!

Jude said...

You're right John, 4 years ago after my mother was diagnosed with gall bladder/liver cancer (and passed away 3 weeks later) it seems like I keep hearing someone else battling cancer. The "C" word scares the crap out of me, and when you talk about your fear and how it takes over your life, I feel your pain.

I'm keeping Linda in my prayers and hoping for a joyous, cancer-free outcome!

John said...

Thanks Jude, we'll need all the positive vibes we can get :)

John said...

Thank Renee. I hope my ramblings will, in some small way, help you and your husband get through this. You are not alone.

Take care,
John