Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm back. And I'm mad.

Most people, whether of Irish descent or not, recognize March 17 as Saint Patrick's Day. This year it offered a different celebratory context for me -- it marked the one-year anniversary of my last chemo treatment. I don't know what kind of a meal that calls for -- as opposed to corned beef and cabbage. Chicken breast, perhaps? Pink food? Although nothing comes to mind.

The most remarkable thing is, I didn't even realize it was my own personal anniversary until two weeks later. That's a good thing. It means breast cancer isn't my focus any more. It's now an afterthought. Past history. A fading memory.

Of course, fading memories have a way of reconstituting when poked by a similar occurrence. Last year, my college roommate and maid of honor was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy, followed by radiation. The wife of one of my designers was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy, chemo and reconstructive surgery. In the past two months, the daughter of one of my cousins was diagnosed and is scheduled for a mastectomy. Today, another cousin -- who is like a sister to me -- called and told me she too has breast cancer and will be having a mastectomy and most likely chemo.

What is going on here? I remember hearing a radio commercial about breast cancer within a day after my diagnosis, and suddenly thinking, oh, hey, that's me they're talking about. That's my life now. I'm in that club nobody wants to belong to. The club with ridiculously high dues.

And the membership keeps growing exponentially. It's a club that needs to be shut down, with the door nailed shut, so that nobody else can get in. Everyday, somewhere in the world, a diagnosed young mother is lying awake at night wondering who will raise her children if it ends badly. And her mother is losing sleep too, worried about the battle her daughter is waging. Husbands are frightened. Fathers. Children. Siblings.

When will this insidious disease go the way of the plague and let us all get some well-deserved sleep? I don't know. Some day. Not soon enough. So tell your wives, daughters, cousin, mothers, best friends to get checked annually so that if they get tagged by breast cancer, they can evict the little tenant before it damages the property.

I haven't blogged for awhile. Took a little time off to get my aching knees operated on and to distance myself from the breast cancer saga. But I'm back. And I'm mad that those I love and care about are beginning their own saga. And I think I want to talk about it. Yeah, I've got more to say about it. How about you?

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