The Big News

windowsill flowers

There is no easy way to put this. With each person I have told, I have chosen to be straightforward, because attempting to soften the subject matter would only make the news hit harder. So, here it is.

I have been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

I found out yesterday afternoon, and that is the first time I have actually typed those words out and read them back to myself. Cervical cancer. What a strange thing to clack out on my keyboard: a sentence structured so that cancer is the object and I is the subject. I am the subject.

I want to have thoughts and feelings about it, but I don't yet. I sit here at the keyboard, listen to the white noise hum of the laptop, and stare into the nothing of a blank screen. I want to be eloquent; I want to sound somber while conferring a touch of levity to lighten the load of a subject that was only whispered about when I was a child in the seventies. I wonder Am I feeling anything? and check my mind as though going through pockets to look for loose change. Nope, nothing yet.

The truth is that I felt something was off with me back in the fall when I went for my initial physical exam. I did not say anything then, because my knowledge was based on things like a gut feeling, patterns in my dreams, a nagging thought that my brain chemicals weren't the only things that needed fixing around here. There was no pain or illness to substantiate what I knew, but I knew it all the same.

Each time I have told another friend or family member the news, I feel compelled to apologize. I'm sorry to have to say this to you, I'm sorry about this, I'm sorry to bring down your day this way. I know that it's ridiculous. I haven't done anything aside from exist in a body that behaves as a body will. There is no sense in apologizing for that. It would be like apologizing for my existence. And yet, I apologized to my mother and several friends yesterday. I'm sorry I have cancer, as though it's an act I've committed.

Right now, though, I am fine. Saviabella has penned an appointment into her calendar to call me in about two weeks when the shock wears off and I start freaking out about scary words like CANCER and SURGERY and HYSTERECTOMY. Until then, though, I have the respite offered by shock and disbelief. Ah, sweet denial.

Today, I am staying at home and eating every bad thing I can, coping through deep fried meat and french fries, so, if you will excuse me, I have some gorging to do, Oprah to watch, Oprah to bitch about, and then a grease-induced euphoria in which to bask.