Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hard, Cold Reality

A friend of mine asked me recently if I knew anyone who’d actually died of breast cancer. I was happy to say I didn’t. I didn’t even know anyone indirectly who had died of it. But now I do. Well, sort of.

I have a book of cartoons titled, “Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person” by Miriam Engelberg. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She was treated, then had a recurrence. She chronicled her cancer treatment in this book of cartoons, showing a very funny but real side of cancer. I thought she really hit the nail on the head with her cartoons, addressing a lot of issues that I’d gone through.

She just died a week ago from her cancer. Now I’m reading the book again to see what stage she was, what treatment she got, and other details to compare to my own case. I know it’s a bit morbid, but I can’t help myself. According to the cartoons, she didn’t have any cancer in her lymph nodes and her tumor was only 1.5 cm. That means her cancer was only Stage I and she died anyway! She had just published her book of cartoons earlier this year. She was funny, positive, full of hope, from what I could tell. I think she was also very careful about her diet and was taking a lot of anti-cancer supplements. What in the world went wrong?

If I ever have a recurrence, I know exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going out for the greasiest, juiciest bacon cheese burger I can find. Would you like fries with that? You betcha! And make those chili cheese fries! Plus a pint of ice cold lager, followed by a warm hot fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream on top. Then I’ll die of heart disease and people can say that cancer didn’t get me in the end! Ha ha!

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