Cancer

In the lymph nodes, but probably not of the lymph nodes. Probably a secondary site, meaning the cancer originated somewhere else and spread. Don’t survival rates drop to near zero when cancer spreads? Primary site not yet determined by blood tests or CT scan. Next step is a biopsy on the small tumor found in the armpit on Tuesday. Hope to have more information (how about a diagnosis?) by the middle of next week.

Not me. My dad.

I haven’t seen him since I first heard about this; I’ve only spoken with him on the phone. He says he is reluctant to be too upset yet, because the doctors haven’t really been able to tell him much. I don’t know if he really feels that way or if he was trying not to upset me. I am upset. My mother is a mess (have I mentioned on this blog that she was diagnosed with skin cancer late last year?). My brother, who I haven’t spoken with in months, has become sentimental, not a word I would have ever previously used on him.

Random thoughts:

Cancer runs in both sides of my family. My father’s mother died of breast cancer. My mother’s mother died of liver cancer. My mother’s brother died of brain cancer. I’m screwed, huh? Actually, I’ve long assumed that I someday I will have skin cancer (like my mother, I’m too fair, and have spent too many summers in the sun)

My dad has always been relatively healthy. He is not overweight, he doesn’t drink much, he doesn’t smoke (though I might guess otherwise for the 70’s), he eats mostly healthy food (my mother is a great cook). The town I grew up in (and in which my parents have lived for 30 years) does have higher-than-average cancer rates. This has long been blamed on a nearby power plant. But New England is downwind in general of every single power plant in the US.

Medically, I would have to assume that my mother would die first. Of a heart attack maybe, because of high blood pressure, self-inflicted stress, etc. My father has always been the more even-keeled. Actually, I always figured (and my brother agreed when I spoke with him the other night) that they would live forever just to torture us.

Since about halfway through my first year at McGill, when I almost dropped out, my parents have considered me to be a disappointment. They had big expectations for their “good”, “smart” child, which I don’t know that anyone could live up to. And I’ve never felt that their expectations even considered who I am. I feel that they only want to be able to keep up with their friends and the “fantastic” people their friend’s children turned out to be. That if I were “successful” (in any/all aspects of life) in their eyes maybe they would be validated as “good parents”. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to please them, before I gave up and pushed them away. I don’t want my father to die thinking that his daughter is a failure.

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