I hate Cancer!

     Cancer.  A word everyone has heard in one way or another and many of us have had to deal with, either directly or through someone we know.  It is a word that strikes fear in all of us, a word we never want to hear from our doctor.  And yet, we all hear the word "cancer" so often that we can become dulled to the fear that stupid word can carry.  That is until we hear it in our personal lives.
     Two years after I was diagnosed with AIDS, in 2004, I was told that I needed to have surgery and biopsies to see if I had anal cancer.  Sure enough, lots of precancerous areas and cells were found and removed.  Since then I have had more than a dozen surgeries to remove the precancerous cells and abnormal anal tissue and to make sure the disease is not spreading or becoming invasive.  It has been painful and debilitating, especially since I also suffer from chronic diarrhea.  It is never pleasant but I deal with it.  The surgeries are always better than the alternative.  My next surgery happens to be next month.  Yippee!
     My really healthy husband has also had cancer, colon cancer.  A spot was found during a routine colonoscopy.  It was biopsied, found to be cancerous and removed.  It was caught early and all cancer was removed without any problem.  So far, his cancer has not returned.  We are the lucky ones.
     A little over a year ago, I was informed that one of my brothers, the fourth child out of five in our family, was in the hospital and was dying of lung cancer.  Even though it was not a huge surprise, he smoked much of his life and did not take great care of himself, it was still difficult to go through the loss of a sibling when he was still relatively young.  It was difficult to know he had to suffer and die from cancer.  It was also difficult to know that his children and grandchildren had to suffer the loss of their father and grandfather.  Cancer took him when he was too young to die.
     Now, I have learned that a second brother is in the hospital, again dying of cancer.  From what I understand, he has been given a couple of months to live.  The cancer has spread throughout his body and is considered "incurable".  This time it is more of a shock since this brother has taken care of his health and previous cancers have been found and been taken care of, various cancers he has fought since his childhood.  It is a shock to know that a man so full of life and energy has to go through this awful thing, has to suffer and die from cancer.  Again, it will be terribly difficult to know that his wife, son and his grandchildren (and the rest of us who know and love him) will be without him from this point on.  And of course it is difficult to know that he will probably be the second of my mother's children to pass away before she does.  How do you tell a mother with sever dementia that her middle child is dying, the second child in less than two years?   Again, cancer is taking him from us too soon, he is much too young.
     Cancer.  I hate that word and all the questions that go with it.  Will there ever be a cure?  As long as someone is making huge profits from the treatment of cancer (or HIV/AIDS, diabetes, insert disease here) will anyone ever be allowed to find a cure? Someday, will we learn we do not have to fear that word?  Someday, will there be a chance that cancer can be prevented?  Cancer.  Will the world ever forget there was such a thing?
     I am saddened and shocked by the latest cancer news in my family.  I am scared due to the fact I might have a higher risk of cancer because of HIV/AIDS.  And I am angry that cancer exists at all and that a cure seems a lifetime away.  And I am furious that cancer will take another person I have known all my life, a brother I have admired, respected and loved.  A man who is a brother, a son, a husband and father, a grandfather, a friend and a neighbor.  And I am pretty sure this will not be the last time I hear that word.  
     Cancer.  I really HATE that word!!!


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry. The word triggers so much fear, and the medical world really knows so little about it. I have that you have to go through this again, both losing a brother and the surgery. It's too much. Way too much.


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