Of all the words in the English language ‘You’ve got cancer’ must rank amongst the most feared. Cancer is the bogey man, cancer is the Black Spot, cancer is the kiss of death.
It is also unfortunately quite common. In 2018 there were 1,735,350 new cases of cancer in the US. 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. It is the second leading cause of death in the USA behind heart disease.
These are the boring stats but frankly they are meaningless when your life has been turned upside down and the fear of God put into you by those few immortal words.
I drift from weary acceptance to blind panic and spend my days somewhere in between. I suppose it has sunk in now, but every so often the realization returns and grabs me.
I’m actually reasonably fit these days. I’ve been on a slow and steady regime to lose weight and exercise and I regularly (weather permitting) pound the bridge between Panama City Beach and Panama City. Hathaway Bridge has a reputation in the community of a bridge that will challenge even the fittest. We have no hills in Florida so a bridge is the next best thing!
The grind from sea level to the apex is a tortuous steady incline for at least half a mile. It is a good workout.
So, I’m 63, turning 64 in April this year, reasonably fit. I kicked smoking 14? Years ago, quit drinking over 10 years ago, have beaten cirrhosis and also beaten diabetes (type 2). I should be good for quite a few years now. Just one problem. Cancer.
I’m fairly certain the treatment is going to be horrible. I hope I’m wrong. The joys of that will be discussed next week. There is no alternative - get treated or die.
The worst times are the nighttimes, when Linda has gone to bed and my mind is still active. I shouldn’t but I do tend to trawl the Internet researching surgery options, chemo treatment, radiation treatment, diet for cancer…..the subject list goes on and on. It is all very depressing.
It is difficult not to do it though.
Do I feel sorry for myself? No, not really. My (former) lifestyle has caught up with me and the years of smoking and drinking have left an indelible mark.
‘Out of bad comes good’, my Mother used to say and who’s to question those words. Although I had cirrhosis, my research into that disease has helped many, many people. Perhaps I can do that again with this disease.