Monday, May 16, 2011


I don't usually do this, but I'm doing it here. Dawn, close this window. Read this post in a year or two, but not today. I need to write it and post it for other people dealing with other things, but you do not need to see this. It's not bad or insulting, just in really bad taste to put this up here right now and not warn you away from it. I'm talking out my ass in a voice you own, and I don't want to make you sad with a cancer post.

I knew a woman once who had breast cancer, and she beat it.  She turned 40, the doctor told her it was time to get a mammogram, so she got one. And they found cancer. She wanted a mastectomy but the doctor told her there was no reason to lose a breast; they could do a lumpectomy and chemo instead. A year later, she was cancer free. Six months later she was dead. Turns out the chemo they give for breast cancer can cause leukemia. But hey, at least a man talked her out of losing her all-important knockers, right?

I have always said that if I ever got breast cancer, I would want a double radical mastectomy. I said this before my friend died and I still say it. Filling out a sweater is not worth dying for, and I resent to high Heaven the implication that it should be.  But somewhere, in the back of my mind, I thought a woman without breasts would look like a man.  I've seen post-mastectomy female to male transsexuals, and they looked like guys. So I assumed it would be the same for a cancer patient.  But then I heard about the SCAR Project.  It is the worst sort of irony that a surgical scar would look so much more grisly and raw than other scars.  I've seen accident scars and they weren't that jagged or glaring.  It just seems like such cosmic cruelty to have to go through the horror of a cancer diagnosis, and not even be able to get a littler scar out of it. I mean, they're willing to give you implants so you'll look better but they can't go for more of a hairline scar? It has to be all thick and wide and puckered?

I think cancer will kill me.  I don't know why except that there are so many variations on it that it seems likelier than car accident or serial murderer.  But I hope my cancer, whatever kind I get, comes with some dignity.  I don't want to shit in a bag or puke to death like some people have to.  I can't come up with a good way to die by your own cells' betrayal, but I think a bone cancer would be the best of the worsts. Or maybe, when you think of regular bodily systems being affected, a breast cancer scar wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen.

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