This could be a short blog, as I can’t use my right hand very well. I just want to tell you that I won’t be writing blogs for a while. It could be a few days. It could be a few weeks. We will have to see.
I have just come from the dermatologists’ office, where I had a cancer cut out of my right hand. It’s not the worst kind of cancer – it’s a kind with the whimsical name of squamous cell carcinoma. But the operation was a lot more than the usual freezing that the doctor employs to get rid of those pre-cancers that pop up from time to time.
This time there was a whole lot or cutting and sewing going on.
Still, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard it wasn’t one of the more aggressive varieties of skin cancer – a Merkel cell carcinoma, for example or the dreaded melanoma. In the wee hours of the morning, waiting for the biopsy results, I had fears of really bad news… I even wondered if the age spot on my hand that had suddenly begun to erupt and itch was a secondary cancer, a signal that something far more sinister was lurking in my body.
I didn’t know how well I could handle that.
My brother Bill was so brave when they found the cancer in his throat and one of his tonsils. He endured hour upon hour of radiation, and to this day has to battle the after-effects. He has trouble swallowing, for example, and must be very careful taking care of his teeth. Still, he is always cheerful, and introduces himself as “a proud cancer survivor.”
But he is an old soldier and he survived polio to become a boxing champion. I spent my working life at the typewriter -and later the computer – writing and editing. He is made of sterner stuff than I.
My sister Elizabeth and our youngest sibling, Peter, have both had skin cancers cut from their faces – right next to one eye in both cases. They shrug off the experience, saying these were mere basal cell carcinomas, but the surgery to remove the cancers was long and deep.
Imagine shrugging off any kind of cancer! In my day, we called it “the Big C.” We’ve come a long way, baby.
My Uncle Harry died of cancer. My father died of cancer…
Cancer is among my darkest fears.
But after all these years of research and study, the terrifying scourge is losing some of its menace. Who knows? We might be nearing the day when it is defeated – like small pox and polio and so many other once-deadly diseases.
I see this blog turned out to be longer than I thought, and my hand is hurting. But what’s a little pain when we’re talking about something so important?