Most Of The Time I Feel Like A FraudThe most significant trauma to my body wasn't the surgery although it was certainly bad enough. The worst was to the head.
I didn't have to go through that scary period of time when you wonder if you have cancer or not while you wait for the results to come back. I was spared that. I was blissfully unaware kibitzing with the Dr and nurse performing the procedure with all the stupid and oft repeated jokes one makes or hears when laying there with a five foot snake up your ***. Now I was raised in the third generation of a family of funeral directors and I know the funeral-home voice when I hear it. The old joke is: "There are two people you don't want to hear say "Oops!" Your doctor or your lawyer." You also don't want to hear your doctor start talking to the nurse in a funeral home voice when he's elbow deep in your bowels.
"You have a lesion in the wall of your intestine. I've taken a biopsy to confirm it but it's a good bet it's cancer. I'll have to wait for the result but I'm going to have it out within the next month."
It was, and he did. A month to the day.
So why do I feel a fraud? Because that was it. Two feet of intestine and 15 lymph nodes. The cancer had penetrated the wall but just. Everyone of the lymph nodes was clear. No radiation, no chemo required. two years of quarterly checks, two years of twice yearly checks and scans and I'm cancer free. That's not to say I got off scott free.Postoperative Infection and the resulting hernia are not fun but they're not cancer. They don't carry the weight that word has on your soul. Until I had to write a living will I'd never really looked at myself in a mirror. Every morning I faced myself over the bathroom sink but until I looked at that piece of paper and considered how much or how little I wanted to fight I'd never realized how much of who I faced each morning I took for granted.
So in 10 more months it will be five years. Am I a fraud? No logically I know I'm not. But emotionally I feel I am. I haven't had to suffer through the cure. The extended anguish of waging war on this thing that was growing inside of me. It was a simple assassination and get on with living. Would I want it to be different? No freaking way! I can live with rooting for an assassin.
Maybe I'd be more comfortable thinking of myself as having lived through cancer rather than a cancer survivor?
I can say that this is the first time I've even really talked about it. Other's with or who have had cancer don't need to hear that there are those of us who don't face the struggle they face, and people who have never heard those words said to them tend to be uncomfortable with the topic. Go figure...