My friend’s sister is sick with breast cancer at the moment. My friend worries about her every day. Not only have she and I conversed on her sister’s health, we have also talked about the terrifying disease that is cancer. We’re all familiar with the dreaded C word, but it’s only when it affects someone we know and love, does it genuinely instil fear.
The conversations with my friend have made me more aware of cancer. I fail to check myself on a regular basis as I should. Last night, in bed, I decided to inspect the family jewels more thoroughly than usual. I buried my hands for a rummage.
“Dum-dee-dum, doo-pee-doo, na-na-na … oh …. Hmmmmm … Dum-dee-dum, na-na-na … oh”
There was a lump.
My mind raced. I withdrew my hands. It’s just skin, I comforted myself.
I returned my hands from whence they came. It wasn’t a fold of skin. There was a pronounced lump. Maybe it’s a piece of anatomy you’ve only discovered, I thought.
Following another rumble in the jungle, and comparison between the good and bad testicle, I resigned myself to a newly acquired bump.
There I lay in bed at 01.30 with all sorts of thoughts racing through my mind. It could be anything, the rational side of my brain cooed. One could live a perfectly normal life with one testicle, a soothing voice of hope called. Oh! But what if it’s spread? You could be riddled! came an echoing taunt.
I slept very little last night, waking regularly to question whether my memories were events or dreams. The first thing I did this morning was visit the doctor. The doctor, a more business looking than medical fellow, introduced himself warmly. He gestured for me to climb onto the bed and remove the necessary under garments. He found the lump in a fraction of the time it took me, squeezing it firmly until I complained of pain. I climbed down from the bed. He delivered his opinion.
“I reckon it is no more than a cyst, a gathering of fluid. Get it checked as soon as you can.”
I left the medical centre a different person to how I entered. I was rattled, but the crazy, erratic thoughts no longer cascaded through my mind. I treated myself to a coffee and pastry from a nearby café and returned to work.
Today, I spoke with a friend who spent two years of her life fighting stage-three lymphoma. She fought the disease for two, long years until given the clear. She was lucky to have survived at the time she was ill. Today, anyone in the same position can avail of numerous advances in treatment of cancer. “Even if you do have it”, she said, “which I doubt you do, it is treatable”.
Why does the C word strike fear in our hearts to the extent it does? Yes, people die of the disease, but there are literally thousands of people in our country who overcame cancer; they celebrate every moment of their day. These people are walking survivors who, have not only dealt with the initial scare of encountering a lump or bump; they became confirmed cases.
I have a consultation later this week to get the suspect piece of organic matter investigated further. I feel comforted by my visit to the doctor this morning, yet I am cautious to celebrate. I’ll let you know the outcome. In the mean time, I’ll remind myself of the inspiring friends and people I know who fought and beat cancer.
Always, always check yourself.