I’m sick to death of cancer. Talking about it. Knowing about it. Watching people I know die slowly of it. Talking about cancer has become a cancer and sometimes it’s a struggle not to let it devour me.
We’re “celebrating” cancer awareness week at school and people are dressing up each day. I make jokes about being too aware of it, so aware that I don’t need to dress up as proof. I smile through it. I’m good at smiling through things. But all the time I’m thinking, WTF. What. The. ACTUAL. Fuck.
Wear green for liver cancer!
Hat day for brain cancer!
Pink (of fucking course) for breast cancer!
Yesterday was some kind of tourist thing? I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to.
I listened to him cough for 3 months before he was diagnosed. I went to every appointment. Knew every doctor. Kept diligent schedules and notes and calendars lest something slip through the cracks. I knew when the cancer was in his brain before he did, the day we went for beers with his parents at Karbach. It was my questions that led to more scans that found more cancer. It was my insistence that he be given more pain meds to get him by. I drove him to the hospital and kept vigil by his bedside. I celebrated every milestone. I watched every bell get rung. I slept in chairs. I watched silent HGTV in drab waiting rooms. I held his hand and rubbed his back and kissed his cheek. I prayed and prayed and prayed.
And he still died – sick to death from cancer.
And yeah, maybe today, I’m a little angry, a little resentful, a little jaded, but maybe it’s okay that I am. Maybe watching your strong, lively husband die slowly from cancer entitles you to a little bit of fury.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll wear the right color or follow the appropriate theme and raise awareness. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do the right thing because it’s all I ever want to do. Maybe tomorrow I won’t feel so completely obliterated by cancer.
And hey, maybe if you weren’t already aware that cancer’s a thing – now you are. Maybe somehow I’ve done my duty with this post. Maybe I just kept someone from being sick to death from cancer.
A bitter girl can dream, can’t she?