I don't know why it never occurred to me that I could actually get cancer. Maybe it's a familial thing. I'm not aware of a single ancestor who was so much as diagnosed with cancer. They certainly don't tend to die of it. I remember hearing somewhere--I'm an NPR freak, so probably there--that it's an Ashkenazi jew thing. That there are thousands of 100-year-old Jewish ladies around. But my I-can't-get-cancer stance was more like a complete denial that cancer existed at all. I'm the type to get a PAP smear approximately every time we switch presidents.
Besides, I tend to eat fairly well, my smoking days are tucked safely away in the past. I'm not obsessed about eating organic, but I've always tried. I suspect we make these sorts of pacts with ourselves, without even noticing. We do all the right things and then expect some immunity from the wrong.
And that's how esophageal cancer gets you. It grows fast like the evil twin baby it is. It doesn't even occur to you to worry, until, in a month or two, you can't get a sip of beer past the baby in your throat.
Here I am, two days after staring at a full color, vaguely gynecological snapshot of my glistening, completely occluded esophagus, and I'm reeling. My husband, who lost his mother two years ago and never stopped reeling, is reeling.
I am literally dying.