Thursday, 14 April 2016

The cancer diaries: I've earned this ear



This is my ear.
Have a gander at it.
It won't look like this for long.
A surgeon is going to take a hunk out of it to get rid of an aggressive cancerous lump that's been growing there for years. I didn't notice it because I didn't know what basel carcinoma was. I just thought I had dermatitis. That's what the doctor said I had, too.
Bad, bad doctor.
Give me your medical licence. Hand it over, right now.

I don't have dermatitis, or a bed sore. I have full blown cancerama.
The good news is that there's an innovative technique being used here in Ottawa, called the Mohs Technique, which involves shaving and cutting off the cancer while a pathologist sits by and monitors the procedure. When the pathologist rules the cancer is gone, the surgeon stops.
Holy shit! That is so cool.
I'm still going to be missing part of my ear, which is not at all cool, but I'm okay with that. I could simply adopt a new hair style, join the Red Hats, or find some sort of upper ear bling that would cover it. Not me. Knowing me, I'll show the cashier at Loblaws, and anybody else who wants to see it. And a lot who don't want to see it.
The other upside is that it will be easy to identify my body should I fall out of the boat at the cottage or be found stabbed in the parking lot without my purse.
"Oh that's just Rose," the CSI will say. "According to the relatives who reported her missing, she only had one ear."
Sorry, I work with pathologists.

When it comes to my skin cancer, I'm a glass is half full dame. It's not going to kill me. It's in a place that I personally can't see, so I don't really care. And I never go out in the sun anymore, anyway.
As my dermatologist says, if you're going to get cancer, this is the best one to get.
Really.

I'm turning 60 in a few months, and I'm entering the Third Act. That's the time in life when the chickens come home and shit all over your head.
We've all done stupid things in our lives, and if we live to see the Third Act, we're sure as hell gonna pay for it. Cancer. Heart disease. Wrinkles. Muffin tops. Dripping pricks. Pee Pants.
I don't know many people -- including doctors, and I know a lot of those -- who live perfect lives. Even those who profess to follow doctor's orders have dirty little secrets.
They might not drink, but they sure as hell eat a lot of cake and drink a lot of Coca Cola, which is the Spanish word for drain cleaner.
They might play sports instead of sitting in bars, but they have artificial knees and hips.
And SKIN CANCER.
I accept all of this, and hope against hope I don't get anything else.
Which I probably will.
Because I'm a sinner.
I've done it all, and had a ball, and I wouldn't change one minute of it. I wouldn't have traded that golf game or tennis match and wouldn't have given up drinking on the 19th hole.
When I die, the headstone's gonna read:

She had a high lifetime average.
Of Everything.

Red wine, sports, sex, video games, dirty jokes and laughter.
I have no guilt, and lots of good memories.

So bring it.
I've earned this ear.









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