I don't know if it is my age or if it is the age we live in, but cancer seems to hit so many families in one form or another.
It is interesting because when I fill out all those reams of medical forms asking everything except for me to sign over my first born child, I have never had to check the box that I come from "cancerous" stock. So it isn't in the genes...just the environment.
A little history: Jack's grandfather died from throat cancer. He smoked cigars like no one I ever knew. So that was no surprise. And he lived to be in his 80's. He would go for the fatty pieces of meat when we dined together. So he lived a good life. But his environment was filled with cigar smoke.
Jack's father died from cancer in his sinuses. He had been a custodian at a high school for over 30 years; scrubbing asbestos tiles, fixing lights in asbestos ceilings, etc. His cancer was environmental.
Our son-in-law got Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma...not once, but twice. He works in the agricultural business and is exposed to pesticides, etc. His cancer is environmental.
Then our eldest daughter got Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She's a school teacher and worked in a portable unit for years; complaining about the horrible smell coming from the heating unit.. to no avail. Who knows? She may have contacted something that gave her cancer. Or she lived her entire youth under Rocketdyne where they blasted off rockets right over our heads. We were silly enough to go outside each time one launched and watched it go. How did we know it may be building up crap that would turn to cancer later on?
From the water we drink, to the air we breathe, to the chemicals in our foods...or our genetic makeup.. we just aren't living in a natural environment any longer.
Last year, Jack was diagnosed with prostate cancer. That was a crazy road to travel because there are so many different approaches to "treatment" and all have scary side effects. I learned a lot about the prostate. So much can go wrong as it sits in a precarious place in the body. I'll spare the details but it is all connected to the urinary tract, the rectum, and of course is connected to sexual issues.
We traveled up and down the interstate corridors to university cities for the best of the best. Jack ended up choosing brachytherapy which is the insertion of radioactive pellets, mapped and strung together to target his cancer cells. No one else could use those seeds. They told us if we missed the appointment, we would be charged $16,000...oh yeah, he stayed close to home so he wouldn't breathe any germs and get sick before the operation.
We are still dealing with side effects from that, but he is doing well as far as we know.
Currently, it is my turn. I have breast cancer. It is the "good" kind and I'm not going to die from it. I just need to deal with it. Did Rocketdyne do this to me? Who knows? No one else in my family has it.
But then, does it really matter? I am borrowing the term from my daughter and I am "cancering" right now. We just use it as a verb in our family. It is an action verb and it will run out of steam soon.
I have a second opinion scheduled next week with a surgeon. I'll let you know how that all goes. But know that I am not worried. I am not scared. I am challenged to learn about this cancer that has invaded my body and hopefully, I can prevent it from bothering me in the future!
So much to learn....