Some Weeks are Easier than Others

Some weeks are easier than others. This one has been a challenge. It started with a terrible toothache and ended with a root canal. Somewhere in the middle, I met with my gynecological oncologist to learn that the biopsy confirmed that this tumor is indeed malignant. And inoperable. It is an offspring of the original alien and, although located in a completely different place, considered pathologically to be ovarian cancer. I guess, ironically, that particular part of the body is designed to reproduce. But this is no sweet baby. It is an unwelcomed interloper, and I am going to do my best to destroy it. Having to face a recurrence has been my greatest fear, a sinister monster lurking in the

Keep Smiling

The nurse enters the room where I lay on the gurney, my mind alternating between peace and fear. It isn’t an unusual place for me since I tend to think in extremes at such moments. I shiver under my thin hospital gown. “Word has it that you are the perfect patient,” she says with a smile. “Me?” I ask. She nods, covering me with a warm blanket. “Why? " The fact that you never stop laughing. We see a lot of patients who grumble and complain. Given your medical history, that’s remarkable.” “I try to remain pleasant so that you guys will think I am worth saving." There is a bit of truth to the statement. “You most definitely are,” she says as she enters my info into the computer. I exhale. Bein

If I Had Patience

“If I had patience, I’d be a doctor.” It is an absurd play on words, sprinkled with a bit of irony because it takes patience to be a patient in today’s world of modern medicine. In three days I will have a biopsy, one that has been scheduled and rescheduled twice. The chosen radiologist refused to touch my tumor, deeming the procedure too risky based on its size and position. Another doctor, more experienced and bold, agreed to attempt it, but the hospital failed to notify me in time to stop taking my blood thinners. They say that the third time is the charm, so I am working on getting into the right frame of mind for this. I am not going to lie; I am nervous about it. I have met with my gyn

The Results

There was a time when people didn’t talk about being sick. They hid in the shadows and stayed at home as they quietly battled whatever infirmary had invaded their body. When the worst happened, the obligatory obituary in the newspaper referred to succumbing to a “long illness,” the unnamed enemy, which left everyone to speculate. And along with that same school of thought, the secrecy of illness, cancer has long been a dreadfully loaded word, with folks clearing a wide path for you once they hear of your diagnosis as though somehow convinced that the ugly monster that has come to live in your body might be transmittable. They don’t know what to say to you, so they run away, avoiding you like

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