Friday, May 16, 2008

For Ladies Only. No, Seriously, Men, Turn Back Now. You Will NOT Enjoy this Post.

I have a couple of pretty nasty phobias. One phobia I won't even tell you about because another phobia is that someone will find out about the first phobia and use it against me. (I know, also? I'm slightly paranoid.)

But up at the top of my phobia list is a phobia I inherited from my Mom. It is the fear of cancer. And I don't just mean I have a healthy respect for cancer as a dangerous but increasingly treatable disease. I mean, I flat out break into a big ol' cold sweat when I contemplate having it myself or watching a loved one deal with it (one of which is all-but-guaranteed to happen to me, based on statistics, by the way, isn't that a cheerful thought?). And any little thing that goes "wrong" with my body, or seems out-of-the-ordinary at all will send me immediately into a tailspin, because I am CERTAIN that this time, it is cancer.

It all started back when I was ten, and the certain body parts of a 10 year old girl that begin to ... er... surface at that age did in fact begin to surface. Did I do a girly little happy dance and begin pestering my mother to take me down to the local Belks store to buy me my first 32-triple-A training braziere? Oh no indeed I did not. I quietly went about the next six months of my already-fraught-with-budding-teenage-angst life convinced that my budding teenage chesticles were the first stages of breast cancer, which I had of course, with my usual dumb luck, contracted BEFORE I EVEN HAD BREASTS. And so it has gone through my entire life even up until 7 months ago, when things weren't quite right with the female portions my 40-year-old body and I was certain I had ovarian or uterine cancer, or BOTH, for good measure, and lo and behold, I had neither. I had a Peanut. But that did not stop me from spending a solid week weeping silently to myself in abject terror.

Let me assure you, I may be writing this post with a bit of a tongue-in-cheek tone, (since the last post I wrote leaned heavy on the weepy and may have left you feeling as though I need the name of a good therapist), but I take cancer very seriously. I have a good friend battling lymphoma right now, and although he and his lovely wife are handling his diagnosis and treatment with courage and strength that only comes from God, I am still scared, and still humbled, by the power of this disease.

And so many's the day I have wished to myself I could just have access to an oncologist, whom I would ply with daily questions and free myself from the eternal and probably unnecessary anxiety I had surrounding cancer and its causes, symptoms, treatments, diagnoses and survival rates.

When out of the blue I got an email from Karen at Simply A Musing Blog, offering to provide me, and y'all, with at least a one time opportunity to do just that. Because of her own direct experience watching family members face cancer, Karen's taken on a proactive role in fighting it on behalf of all of us. She's worked to gather a team of doctors from Texas Oncology to address the cancer-related questions of the (female?) blogging community.

So do you have questions? Concerns? Anything you'd like to have addressed directly by a specialist in the field of cancer? If so, now's your chance. Go to Karen's blog and ask. She'll gather the questions and provide them to a team of doctors who have volunteered to provide answers. In about a week, Karen will post the questions and answers in another post. I'll make sure to remind you when the answers come back. Easy as that. Go ask.

Cancer Q&A


  1. "budding teenage chesticles"...

    I'm sorry, Megan...I KNOW this is a "serious content" post, but that phrase cracked! me! up!


  2. Such a great idea! Thanks for letting us know. I have a great deal of family members that have battled cancer, so the questions are in abundance.

  3. You really need to compile a "Fried Okra Dictionary" Chesticles? great testicular fortitude?

    You are one awesomely wondrificul blogging friend. Thanks for the post and for the perspective...both are very appreciated. :)

  4. Wow, What a great opportunity. I can so relate, i have freckled skin and i am obsessed with skin cancer in particular and am constantly doing contortions in the shower to look at various moles and freckles in places that are hard to see! Funny Post, but your right cancer can't be taken lightly!

  5. I just blogged about this very fear yesterday; I recently had a little "chesticle" scare. I plan to post about this great Q&A opportunity, too. Thanks.

  6. Just so you know, you aren't the only one with those fears. During my worst IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) days, I just knew that it was colon cancer. Thankfully, it wasn't (and I had the colonoscopy to prove it).

    But it didn't just stop with cancer. Whenever I would read the symptoms for just about any illness, I could see several symptoms that I have - especially the symptoms for heart attacks in women.

    However, one of the treatments for my IBS is actually a low dose of an antidepressant. It did help the IBS somewhat, but it really helped the overall anxiety that I was having (like thinking that I had every illness imaginable).

    Funny though, the thing that has helped my IBS the most (like it is for the most part GONE!!) has been Weight Watchers. I have been on WW since Oct, and although I haven't lost much weight, I have controlled that HORRIBLE IBS!! YEAH!

    Thanks for the link, I'll have to check it out.

  7. Hehee, I second the "Fried Okra Dictionary" idea. How funny would that be??!

    On a serious note, I have a fear of cancer, as well. I lost an older friend to ovarian cancer when I was in 10th grade. I even did a speech about it in my Oral Communications class. Oh, the other sophomore boys in my class must have really appreciated that. Still, it was a big thing for me to work through that year.

  8. I have the same fear.

    I'll be checking out the link.

    Thanks for sharing.