I hate cancer. I hate f*cking cancer. I hate metastatic cancer, recurrent cancer, a first cancer - I hate individual cancer cells and cancerous masses. I hate small cell and non-small cell cancers. I hate lung cancer. I hate lung cancer in a person that has never smoked a single cigarette in her 73 years of being on this planet. I hate lung cancer in a person that smokes two packs a day - because, for Pete's sake, smoking is not a sin. Smoker's aren't evil human beings deserving of cancer - they're just smokers. I hate hearing two days after Christmas (a few years back now) that a friend was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in her brain - a sentence that says 'you'd better enjoy your last year' because a year is about all that is left. I hate that this was a friend that stopped along I-95 (yes, the interstate with all of the cars going a gazillion mph) to pick up a wood duck chick because the rest of the wood duck family had been squished in the middle of the road - a friend who spent years as a child advocate in the courts, who spent time going out to be sure that people were taking their AIDS medications. A friend who painted fun paintings of women during a night out on the town. I hate that someone who didn't stop and save the wood duck also might have been diagnosed with a glioblastoma. I hate that a friend had cervical cancer that was treated but decided to recur and was staged as a '3' and put my friend through hell. A friend with a 3-year old daughter who couldn't imagine not watching her daughter grow up. While I'm deeply grateful that this friend is alive and kicking and is 'cancer-free', I hate that she fears a recurrence every time her body changes. I hate that some people are saying that they don't think that a HPV vaccine should be mandatory for young girls because they're 'sure' that their daughter won't have sex. I hate that another friend had testicular cancer and went through treatments, and while he's well and good, I know that every now and then that the "C" word creeps into his brain and stays for awhile. I hate that he knows every testicle joke there is. I hate that a close friend from graduate school battled oral cancer all fall and only told three people. I hate that he lost 57 lbs and had a 10 inch incision in his neck that months later he's still in physical therapy for. I hate that in order to be able to swallow even water that he almost overdosed on oxycodon. I hate that my friend's husband, a wonderful pianist, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I hated watching him at the piano, playing passionately, each piece being played as if it were his last. I hate that my friend, almost a year later, wears grief on her face even still. I hate that another friend lost her brother and father within several years of each other of pancreatic cancer, and I hate that she is now in a program for people at high risk of pancreatic cancer. I hate that she worries (below the surface) about this hideous disease. I hate that my aunt had breast cancer, even though she smoked and thought McDonalds and Whole Foods were the equivalent of good nutrition. I hate that my mom now has her same oncologist. I hate that my mother, who had cancer when she was 28 years old (and I was three) - thryoid cancer due to radiation treatments for tonsilitis gone-awry - lived in periodic fear of it returning for all of these years and now at the age of 73, it's shown up. I hate that her oncologist says that the two cancers are not linked, because in her mind they will always be. I hate that so many people are now sharing with me their cancer stories, because I hate that they have to go through it too - either as an active participant in the battle, or as a muddling observer. I appreciate their words greatly, but I hate their cancer, and the cancers of their friends and family.
Okay, I feel better now. Enough of hating cancer - I just had to say it once.