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1:50 p.m. - 2012-03-16
Warning Shot Across The Bow

I'm trying to be casual, I know all the stats and odds. I know the cure rate is something like 99.2% even with the worst cases and Mick's is small and stable. I know doctors don't wait a month to perform surgery on shit that might kill you, they usually move a wee bit faster. But when the word 'cancer' is applied to your husband it's really tough to be chill.

One of Mick's skin biopsies came back positive for cancer. It's a very straight-forward basal cell carcinoma. Something almost all white people will get if they live long enough. This kind of skin cancer usually shows up on the most sun exposed parts. Faces, necks, forearms. Mick's is on his right shin. It's been there unchanged for a long time, 10 years at least. The removal surgery is scheduled for April 16th so obviously it's no crash and burn type medical procedure that must be done on the instant.

But they put the word 'cancer' on my Mick and it's really, really hard to be chill.

To his face I am nothing but sympathetic and calm. I tell him any reaction he has is fine. It's a shock when your bod does you dirty. I know that song all too well. I tell him it's okay to be pissed off and scared. Mick, especially, who doesn't booze or smoke or even drink coffee. Mick with his 30 years in the gym and his 40 mile bicycle rides every weekend. Mick with the perfect blood pressure and a cholesterol number that sounds like a shoe size. To have his body throw him a curveball like cancer is a betrayal so mean and cutting it's rocking the ground beneath his feet.

I listen and nod and keep a serene face. I even twit him a little and say perhaps now he'll be more diligent with the sunscreen I buy for him in warehouse-sized jugs. This'll learn him for being so goddamn Irish with his pasty white hide, I snort, and he laughs.

I assure him that physically he's going to be just fine, but gently warn him about the emotional wallop. My superhero isn't impervious to everything even if he likes to think he is. It's best to be prepared.

His surgery is scheduled for the day school takes up again after spring break and I give him a thumbs up for being so clever as to need a minor procedure that will keep him out for a few more days. Boy, you'll do anything for some extra vacation time, won't you?

I remind him to get in as many bike rides as he can between then and now because he'll likely be off his bike for a little while afterward. Not debilitated, you understand, but even small wounds need to heal before you go tear-assing around the neighborhood on your Trek.

I tell him I'm looking forward to the opportunity to fuss over and spoil him as he does me all the time. If he plays his cards right he might even get a sponge bath and I waggle my eyebrows and give him a suggestive wink.

At no time do I give the tiniest hint about the superstitious dread that's squeezing my heart and making it difficult to breathe. I say nothing of the mocking voice inside my head that's laughing and laughing and laughing, so delighted over how I was dopey enough to believe that I was allowed to be safe and happy. That LA the Disaster Girl was dumb enough to think she'd be permitted to keep anything good. Your precious Mick has cancer, sweetie pie, did you really think the rug wasn't going to be pulled out from under you this time? Did you really??? How pathetic.

I tell that voice to fuck off. Everyone is allowed to have good things, even me. It's just a dumb basal cell dealie that's not even as big as a penny. The doctors are going to take it off Mick's leg and maybe shoot some x-rays at the spot a couple times and everything is going to be fine. Do you hear me? Everything is going to be just fine. So get lost.

But my love, my darling has cancer. A stupid, easily fixable, hardly counts as 'cancer' cancer yet it's really, really, REALLY hard to be chill.


Some stuff just isn't fair, you know? ~LA


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