The Word cancer

cancer in lower case in my attempt to take its Power.

The word cancer was foreign to my family until one hot summer day 4 years ago. That word has crippled me since . My dad called to tell me my cousin Ozzie was rushed from the golf course to the ER and they weren’t sure what was wrong. He was seeing double and was dizzy and they thought it was from 3 hours in the blistering sun.  Dehydration maybe? After hours of testing and the discovery of a tiny spec of cancer on his cornea was found, his journey through life with that awful thing began.

We watched Oz make strides and after a year I suppose of treatments, he was in remission. Weeks after finding out this great news he was back on the course at a tournament, hit a hole-in-one at said tournament, and won some thousands of dollars and it seemed all was right with the world once again. That’s until that awful word, and thing in his body returned and returned with no mercy.  The return of this unwelcome visitor coincided with my dads dual hip replacement, so I was on a plane from DC to MA almost weekly to play nurse to dad, and with this, came many visits to my cousin Oz. It seemed we’d spent more time together last summer than ever before. That made me just as sad as it did happy. At first he was able to maneuver, we meet for lunch once, but then he was confined to home. I’d drop in and we’d watch ESPN. Each visit became more difficult as my once strong and handsome cousin became more frail, and more unrecognizable.  In my mind, the blueberries, wheat grass, raspberries, green tea, and chemo would bring him back to his old self. He’d come hang out in DC when he was better and try and holler at my girlfriends, but his time on earth expired before that happened. I got The Call, at 5am on a Sunday morning in late summer. I remember shedding a tear, and going back to sleep.  In the end, it was almost too much to watch and knowing he wasn’t suffering was a relief, and we made peace with that, kind of. After properly sending him home to heaven, I’d hoped this was the end, but it was not.

On Christmas Eve, I sat on the floor at Borders in the ‘Health & Wellness’ section. I had a copy of ‘Crazy Sexy Cancer’ (a book I’d wanted to give Oz) in my lap while I scanned many other titles mostly focusing on alternative cancer treatments. That word, and that awful thing had found my family again. This time my cousin Steve.  With not a stitch of hair on his head, I vowed to try and get over hearing/reading this awful word, because we were on another journey, one that requires us all to be strong, for him. I was on a mission to find him some good books and afro wigs. They say laughter is the best medicine and  he’d always admired my dads hair back in the day, why not show up at chemo with a faux fro?  Dad and I are packing up a goodie kit, books and wigs for him, herbal tea, and bubble bath for his wife/nurse/mother of his great kids who is holding it all together.

Its not easier the second time around but I’ve learned a lot since the first go around with this asshole named Cancer. Read about it, talk about it, laugh at it. Somber moods don’t make it go away. Still, hearing that word or even seeing it hasn’t gotten easier, typing this opened the floodgates to my ojos. One thing I do know is if you can’t make it go away, at least make  it tolerable. Prayer, medicinal mary jane maybe, clown wigs, afro wigs, cool hats. They make the journey that much easier. Here’s to my cousin Steve whose kind of awesome. Be looking out for a big box-o-fun, primo. We’ve all got our hiking shoes on, we’re along for the bumpy journey.

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~ by tortillacachupa on December 28, 2010.

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