Cancer?
June 18, 2008, 1:57 pm
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This week has not been a great week here at PotPie Central.

1. A pigeon pooped on me last Thursday. I don’t think I’ll ever recover.

2. My brother’s mother (yes, I have a brotha by anotha motha. Except, for real. We have the same dad, but he is the product of the first marriage, I am the product of the third) was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of something. She won’t tell him what kind of cancer, but it’s stage 3. He’s distraught, and has already started remodeling his basement bathroom so she can stay with him when Things Get Bad. Blah.

3. My mother was diagnosed with early squamous cell carcinoma. She had a suspicious mole removed. It was barely suspicious, really. So unassuming in its cancerness that the dermatologist came very close to declaring it not a problem and leaving it alone. Except it was suspicious, because it is SCC. As they found out when they removed it and biopsied it.

I looked it up on The InterWeb, which told me this: “Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer, with over 250,000 new cases per year estimated in the United States.  It arises in the squamous cells that compose most of the upper layer of the skin. Most SCCs are not serious.  When identified early and treated promptly, the future is bright.  However, if overlooked, they are harder to treat and can cause disfigurement.  While 96 to 97 percent of SCCs are localized, the small percentage of remaining cases can spread to distant organs and become life-threatening.”

So, she’s ok. She already has it cut out, and she’s going to go back to be Very Closely Examined (which is going to take a while. I know the woman- she’s got tons of moles and weird spots all over her skin), and will probably have more chunks of skin taken out of her.

But I’m not going to lie- the words “cancer” and “mom” do not belong in the same sentence in my world. The placement of them near each other sucks the breath right out of me. I know it could be worse- my brother’s mom is in stage 3. We don’t know what kind, but stage 3 generally means its moved into at least another organ. I know it could be so much worse for my mom. I feel terrible for my brother, but I am thankful that my mom’s cancer has already been removed and is not of a serious concern. I know that that makes me a terrible person, but so be it. She’s my mom, and I get to be a terrible person when it comes to wanting her around more than wanting his mom around. I just won’t mention that to him.

This means that I now have all the risk factors for skin cancer: fair skin, prone to burns, blue eyes, light hair, and a history of skin cancer int he family. So excuse me while I go dip myself in a vat of sunscreen.

My mom and I discussed this actually. She was born before any real sunscreen existed. She remembers getting terrible burns, repeatedly, as a child, to the point of sun poison. I have gotten mild burns regularly, but my mom only remembers one time that it was a truly bad burn when I was wee little. I am already in a good place in terms of being protected.

But still.

I don’t like this at all.

(Public Service Announcement: Wear sunscreen. Wear it every single day. Wear even more when you’re going to be out in the sun. Put it on everywhere. Dip your babies in it. Repeatedly.)

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