Sunday Stealing: The Lucky 33 Meme
Giving 'Til It (Almost) Hurts

"The Big 'C'"

That's what my dear, departed grandpa called it. Cancer. "The Big C." He couldn't even really bring himself to say it.

As young as I can remember, my grandparents were smokers. My grandpa had his extensive collection of pipes, and there was always one in his mouth, while my grandma smoked More cigarettes. You know, those long, skinny ones? Anyway, one day, as he tells it, his dentist told him he was working on "The Big C," and he quit smoking tobacco that very day. Honestly. Got rid of all his pipes and never smoked again a day in his life.

My grandmother wasn't so lucky. She was helplessly addicted, and even though she'd had breast cancer twice - in her 30s and in her 50s - and was on oxygen, and then in a wheelchair, and had horrible emphysema, she still smoked. Oh, we begged. Once, we staged an intervention. To no avail, of course, because she would pull out her oxygen tube, puff away, and then stick it back in. The Big C is what took her life, too soon for me, but I suppose it never would have been a good time, eh?

So right now, I'm dealing with The Big C myself, in three different ways, and I'm so OVER it. Because Grandma had breast cancer in her 30s, and I'm now 35, I've gotten a referral to get the breast cancer gene test done. I'm going to call tomorrow and make that appointment. (My mother died at 33, too soon to tell whether she would've gotten it so early, but both my sister and I have had scares with lumps, so I was able to talk my way into getting the referral.)

Also, I have several suspicious skin things going on. I'm very fair-skinned, and I burn like nobody's business. I've had sunburns almost every year of my life, including multiple really bad ones as a kid and one so bad, in my first year of college in Miami, that put me in the hospital. So I'm being followed by Dermatology for skin checks, as well.

And finally, a little TMI. I had a near-complete hysterectomy (I have one ovary) on April 9, 2008 (I remember the date so well because it's the anniversary of Mom's death) after multiple bouts of cervical carcinoma with repeated LEEPs, colposcopies, and the whole deal just not getting rid of the problem. So now, with no cervix or uterus or anything left but the one ovary, why am I having bleeding and spotting? I went to the doc this morning, and she performed an ouchie exam on me. She was concerned, quite. So tomorrow night, I'm having a pelvic ultrasound to check on that ovary, and I'm also being referred back to GYN/Oncology, to see the docs who did my hysto.

I'm saying all this just because I'm a little anxious, which I think is natural in this situation. I'm not a pessimist, I'm not overly worried, but I feel a little like, "The Big C" is coming, and it's just a matter of when and where. I don't want to go that way. So if I get it, I will be strong, I will do what it takes to get well, and I will FIGHT. I'm just so sick of the threat of it right now, and I needed this post to get it off my chest.

{In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by the way, I'm donating a percentage of all my Jafra sales to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. If you order and would like to have that donation made in your name, I will be happy to do so.}

So. May you all live long, healthy lives, and a big F-U to The Big C!!