Thursday, January 8


I know. I am officially going to hell. I have to confess my little dark secret. Breast Cancer annoys me. It bugs me. I know that it is the number one cancer among women. I know that dealing with an illness is never easy. I also know that its JUST breast cancer. And when I say "JUST" I mean it. I'm belittling it. If you are going to get cancer in the years to come, and statics say that many of us will, breast cancer is the one to get. Its easy to find, its easy to treat and 98% of people who are diagnosed early are CURED. They do not go into remission only to have it come back later, they are 100%, won't have to worry about it again CURED.

So why does breast cancer bug me? Because of all the money that is lavished on it. All the pink bandannas, purses, toasters, can openers, mixers, vacuum cleaners, bottled water, soup, chips, yogurt, cream cheese... what doesn't give money to breast cancer research? Because there are other cancers, like ovarian cancer that no matter how soon they find it, it will kill you. You will be dead much sooner than you would have been before. If a doctor ever tells you that you have ovarian cancer start getting your affairs in order. Because prostate cancer is the number one cancer in men and it kills more men than breast cancer kills women. Because mammograms are part of everyday conversation, but men aren't encouraged to talk about getting their penis checked.

I'm not begrudging people who battle breast cancer. Its a disease, it sucks and it doesn't always go away with treatment. A friend of mine has a sister who has battled it for years. I walk in the race, I buy the breast cancer chip clips I get that its serious business.

But WAKE UP people! 98%. When I had my lung removed the survivor rate for that was 80%. In the advanced stage my cancer has taken, the survivor rate is 83%. Still, I don't think its going to be the thing that kills me. Not really. And even if it does kill me, who wants to think about that all the time?

I bring this up because my daughter's grandmother has been diagnosed with early breast cancer. They caught in her yearly check up. EARLY STAGES. She called me. Freaked out. I told her, "98%, you'll be fine. Talk to the doctor and get treated, you won't die and a year from now it will all seem like a bad dream." Four weeks later she is still freaked out. She's giving away her dog because she "won't be able to handle him." Convinced she will fight this thing for years. Convinced surgery will kill her. Convinced that chemo will make her so weak she will have to quit her job. That is the mentality that I can't stand. That is what makes me look at the breakfast cereal in disgust. I'm sorry you are sick. You will get better. Now please, move on.

And with that all said, maybe part of me is screaming at myself. Maybe I just needed a wake-up call about my own mortality. Once you have cancer, even when its gone. Its easy to be "in tune" with your body. Its easy to convince yourself that that headache you have had all week is a tumor, not stress. Its easy to worry.

by Katy Sabayrac

Sometime I catch myself
fishing for death.

Every nibble that pulls
on the line reveals
a minuscule glimpse
of what I most fear.

Has this headache
gone on too long?
Why am I so tired?
How heavy is my menstrual cycle?

I strain my ears and try
to hear my lung, place
my hand over my heart
convinced it forgot a beat.

I stop.
If I keep fishing
I will catch a fish.

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