Monday, July 3, 2006

“Could Be Worse...” Game

Since my diagnosis, I’ve been playing this game with myself from time to time, thinking up scenarios that would be worse than having cancer. It’s morbid, realistic, and optimistic, all at once.

What if Josie or Toby had cancer instead of me? Worse, much worse. I can’t think of anything worse for parents to go through than helplessly watch their kids go through cancer and treatment. Thank goodness it’s me instead of them. What if Tony did? Worse. I’d rather go through this myself than watch him go through it. Plus, purely pragmatically, better for me to have cancer than Tony, since he’s the income earner in the family. Thank goodness it’s me instead of him.

I heard a story on the radio recently about “acid attacks” in Bangladesh, in which men throw acid on the faces of women who’ve rejected or crossed them. These women are disfigured for life. Worse than cancer. If I had a disfigured face, my kids would be afraid of me and I’d be crushed if I couldn’t even hug and play with my own kids because they were afraid of my face. With cancer quietly threatening my life unseen, they don’t know anything’s wrong. Thank goodness I have cancer instead.

Living in a war zone and fearing for the life of my children every waking moment. Worse than cancer.

The other day I saw a woman at the supermarket with a hideous haircut. I thought to myself I’d rather be bald than have her haircut. Who said facing death made you deep and philosophical? A friend of mine told me, “I’ve been bald since I was 23. At least YOUR hair will grow back someday!” Yes, things could be worse, much worse. Thank goodness I have cancer instead.

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