I hate cancer. Cancer is something we all hear, probably daily, through conversations, all forms of media, daily existence, those we love suffering from or close to those suffering. Cancer is everywhere. Cancer raids our bodies, lives, emotions, and daily existence. I hate cancer.
My first personal experience with cancer was with my Uncle Mike. I was only a kid and not quite able to understand exactly what was going on. Or the gravity of the situation. I do remember hearing that he was sick and cancer would kill him. I remember crying for hours in bed one night after my dad came in and told me and my brother how serious it was. It came on fast and took him fast. Since then I’ve lost my Uncle Pat to cancer a couple of years ago. It came on fast and took him pretty fast as well. I guess if cancer is terminal and is going to take your life anyway, it’s best that it’s fast.
My mom and brother have skin cancer. Although it’s basal cell cancer and treatable, it’s still cancer. It’s still scary. You have to monitor your skin all the time. And surgery is the only cure. No one wants their close ones to have to endure a lifetime of cancer and surgery. Although a lifetime is better than no time. I constantly worry about them. I hate cancer.
Our dear friend Kenny was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer 4 years ago. He was told he didn’t have long to live and he lived 4 years. They weren’t 4 good years. But he lived and we got to be with him longer than we thought. Kenny was a good man and cancer took him. I have had other good friends, family members, family members of good friends, and countless other people diagnosed with cancer. Some survived, some didn’t. I think about each of them all the time. I think about those they have affected or left behind. I feel for each of them. I hate cancer.
My most recent experience, the one that shook me the most due to its severity and the person, has been with my sister in law. She is young, vibrant, an amazing wife and mother of two young kids, and it honestly pissed me off that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She should not have cancer. No one should have cancer. I know life is not fair. I know no one can know the fate of their life, their health, their future. Cancer has hit people I know. But when Angie was diagnosed, I was pissed. She should not have cancer. She is too wonderful. She is too important to her husband, her kids, her parents, her sisters, her family. To me. I hate cancer.
I remember the text I received from her telling me she suspected she had cancer and they would find out next week. I remember going to the gym and getting on the treadmill and running faster than normal, running with conviction, running and thinking how pissed I was that she could possibly have cancer. My emotions of being so angry were so vivid as I ran, yet so foggy with confusion and sadness. I remember thinking selfishly how fortunate I was to not have this diagnosis. But then I thought I could be diagnosed next week. No one knows their fate. No one should have cancer. I hate it. I hate cancer.
It’s been almost a year since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s endured a mastectomy, 16 weeks of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation, and is considered cancer-free. But she’s not cancer-free. Cancer will live with her forever. Cancer will live in her kids’ minds as they think about what their mom has gone through. Cancer will live through her husband who supported her and rubbed her bald, beautiful head every night. Cancer will live through her parents who lived with the nightmare of losing their daughter. Her sisters will forever be haunted by their sister’s tireless year-long fight and unwillingness to give up on all that she’s built in this world. Cancer will live through all those who supported and shed a tear for her un-wavered strength — even when she felt at her weakest.
She has fought an uphill battle and is here with us now. She is not just a statistic. She is not just a number. She is not just someone who was diagnosed with cancer. She’s more than that to me. She is my sister in law. She has a name. Her name is Angie. She is a person who was diagnosed and fought breast cancer. She is a hero to me. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. Cancer is something we all hear. Cancer is everywhere. Cancer raids our bodies, lives, emotions, and daily existence. I hate cancer.
Isn’t she beautiful? I wrote this post in honor of Angie and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please make sure you do your monthly self breast exams and get your mammograms. It could save your life. And you have people who love you and need you here. I think it’s safe to say, we all hate cancer.