Cancer has played a huge role in my life through the last year or so. I’ve lost two family members this year to this thing, my sister and my uncle who was also like my godfather. My sister passed away the first week of February. I had gotten an email from her just a few days earlier, telling me that she the cancer was terminal, and that she was planning on making a trip out to California. I thought I was going to get a chance to say good bye. She was gone within a few days.
In March, when my ex ended our two plus year relationship, he told me he would have done it sooner, but it was hard to find the right time, “because someone was always dying of cancer.”
Within a month, I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition that could develop into the same type of cancer that had taken my sister. Most cases do not develop into full-blown cancer, though, and since my lesions were considered “low-grade”, the doctor thought it was best to monitor the cells, rather than prescribing any treatment. I would be retested every three months until I had had three negative/normal tests in a row.
Then in May, the week of my birthday, my uncle passed, too. I spent my birthday in airports, trying to get to Iowa for the funeral. I got a text from my ex while I was sitting in the airport, and I wanted to scream and rip his guts out.
Cancer has been this force and this fear.
On November 1, Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) I went down to my local tattoo shop, and I got this tattoo:
These types of designs, these skulls are part of the celebration of the day when the dead can walk amongst the living again. I wanted to do something for my sister, my uncle, and my other family who have left in the last few years, including my grandfather.
Yesterday, I got the results of my second Every-Three-Months test. It was my second normal in a row. If it had been positive, I would have had to start all over again, and it would be a year before it could be over, and always with the fear of it progressing. Now, I feel like I’m free, because with two normals behind me, I just have to get one more test, and it’s highly unlikely that it’ll come back at this point.
Cancer is behind me.
And the rest of my life is in front of me.