We have been at this cancer thing for almost a year now. As we have traveled along the twisty path, I have formulated a sort of Cancer for Dummies book in my head. Perhaps a more apt name would be Cancer for the Previously Unaffected. Ideas usually pop in to my brain when I am alone in the car, and I spend the remainder of the drive pondering them. There is the list of “Things I Wish People Wouldn’t Do or Say” and the other list of “Things I am SO Glad that People Did or Said”. When I think back on my own actions, I have probably done or said all of the things on the first list and done or said precious few on the second. Now I know. Perspective is a powerful thing.
My least favorite question when people find out about Dave’s cancer is “Did they catch it early?” Because the thing is they didn’t. Once this question is floating out there, I begin to feel uncomfortable because I know I am about to make someone else uncomfortable. So I give a brief response along the lines of “Unfortunately they didn’t. It had already metastasized to his liver when they found it.” Then there is an awkward silence followed by me feeling the need to explain about risk factors and routine screening and why Dave hadn’t been screened earlier. Suddenly I am the living blathering wikipedia of colon cancer information encouraging you to get a colonoscopy when you mention your family history. And I mean it. Have you had one? You should.