I’ve been around now for a fair number of Februarys (never mind exactly how many), but two seem to stand out in my mind and it’s no surprise they are “cancer Februarys.” Of course cancer stomps around all year doing its damage, but some months seem to have a more permanent imprint etched into them, and one of those months for me is February. This post is about one of those fateful Februarys. I’ll share about the other one later.
One main reason for this permanent marker is because February is the month in which my mother discovered her lump, on my birthday no less. I posted last year about the uninvited guest who showed up at my birthday party and never left. Sometimes it still feels like an omen I missed.
“Cancer is “just” a word until your name or that of a loved one is attached to the diagnosis. Then it becomes deeply personal. It impacts your body, your thinking, your past and your future. Nothing is ever the same in many ways.”
This is a very true, simple and yet profound statement.
It’s not that we don’t empathize with others, no matter what we are referring to – be it illness, disability, economic disparity, hunger or cancer. We care. We try to understand. We may even advocate on behalf of whatever cause it may be, but until something affects us or someone we care about directly, we continue to be somewhat removed from the matter. We continue to be at least somewhat detached.
We continue to somehow think it could never happen to us.
Is this some sort of built-in self-protection mechanism we humans have? I don’t know.
I do know that on that fateful February day in 2004 when my mother discovered her lump, suddenly cancer was very real. Not that it wasn’t real before, but until that fateful day in February, it was still somewhat elusive. It was still somewhat vague.
Since that day, my life has been forever altered because…
When a loved one’s name is attached to the word cancer, it becomes deeply personal very quickly.
When a loved one’s name is attached to the word cancer, life drastically changes for both of you.
When your name is attached to the word cancer, life changes forever. Your old life is over. You can’t go back.
Nothing is ever the same in many ways.
Nothing is ever the same period.
What has happened to you that you once thought never would/could?
Is there a month for you permanently marked by something (doesn’t have to be cancer)?
Note: It’s yet another fateful day in February. This morning I learned my friend Rachel, blogger at The Cancer Culture Chronicles, died last night from metastatic breast cancer. I am saddened beyond belief. Ironically, this post seems to fit, so I decided to go ahead and publish it because I am indeed losing a loved one. Rachel, you were part of my online family. Good-bye dear friend. RIP. I dedicate this post to you. #wewillnotforget