Monday, November 8, 2010

Cancer? Say What?

My boyfriend has cancer. The “Big C” as Showtime so lovingly refers to it. Now before this happened I was under the impression that real people didn’t actually get cancer. Friends of friends talked about it, distant family members or people who I rarely saw and certainly never showed any signs of it. Cancer is just one of those words the government creates to scare you into trying whatever product they’re pushing as a “cancer preventer”. Well I’m here to tell you, it’s real. And it’s serious. Serious as a heart attack..or, as cancer, I guess.

he real bitch of it is that he looks healthy, feels healthy. He even started running and got himself into to great physical shape while the cancer was taking up shop inside him. Nothing has changed. He eats like a farm animal and drinks like a fish. But his body is destroying itself. And not slowly either. As my mom so eloquently put it, “cancer is a sneaky sun of a bitch.” Up until about 3 weeks ago there were no signs that anything was wrong, then a giant lump appeared in his neck. But still, other than bearing a slight resemblance to Quasimodo, he looked and felt fine. Despite reassurances that this probably wasn’t cancer, we found out that it was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We lovingly referred to his lump as “Larry” and would casually whisper to Larry that he stay right where he was and not spread anywhere else.

He was assured by doctor’s that he was a Stage II, mostly due to the size of the lump on his neck. Just to be sure they would conduct a PET scan and a CAT scan and a painful bone marrow biopsy. All these test were just to make us secure in the fact that his cancer hadn’t spread. False hope. The tests came back with painful results. His cancer is aggressive and they found it in his stomach, diaphragm, both sides of his neck, lungs, and at the base of his brain. This doesn’t make sense, I just can’t wrap my head around it. How does a perfectly healthy, 25 year old man develop such an aggressive cancer? Had he waited a few more months, had that lump not appeared on his neck...well let’s just be grateful for small miracles in times like these.

So now that he is classified as Stage IVA, we’ve discovered that the treatment plan doesn’t change, really. It just makes the whole thing a bit more serious and in the event that the treatment doesn’t work. He would immediately have to switch to a different treatment which carries separate risks in do all cancer treatments. Best case scenario now looks like he will be enduring 6 months of chemotherapy and (fingers crossed) that will be it. It doesn’t look like he’ll have to have radiation. He’ll lose his hair, he’ll be incredibly sick, but he’ll get through it. He will come out the other side and life will continue...perhaps differently, through a different lens...he will float on.

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