Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cancer, take a hike!

It's a soul-shaking moment when you're told you have cancer. Even when you're pretty sure those are the words about to be spoken, it's still a slap in the kisser. I had plenty of clues -- the exam when the doctor said she didn't like the feel of the lump -- should have rolled over like a grape, but it didn't; looking at the image of the tumor on the ultrasound screen and seeing its evil personality; waiting for at least a half hour on the table after the ultrasound for the attending physician to come in and talk to me. I knew. At each one of those moments, I knew. Yet...

It's one thing to suspect. It's another to hear it voiced. Flat out. "You have cancer." Imagine how stunning those words are to those who don't suspect. Imagine too how difficult it is to call and tell those you love and those who love you right back that you have cancer. Maybe that, in itself, is even harder than hearing the diagnosis yourself. It was for me.

And now, someone I love very much -- my cousin -- is saying "I have breast cancer" to friends and family. I know the pain. I've been there. Done that. And yet, even with that experience, I feel helpless and stunned. And, truly, it enrages me. Hey, I took your attack and handled it, you lousy cell invader. Leave my family alone. Go take a hike. Long walk, short pier. Go for it.

Better yet, take a hike yourself when the Walk for Cancer or Walk for the Cure is staged locally. Tell your friends and rally in record numbers. Is there anyone out there who hasn't been touched in some way by this disease? Not likely. It's epidemic. Let your voices be heard. Let your shoe leather hit the pavement. It's not only time for a cure, it's past time.

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