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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yes, these things do happen to you, Tanya

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.


14 comments:

  1. This past May, I was stage manager at a music festival. I chose The Kids Are Alright stage that had high school bands and one was an all girl band that also included two of the moms. I captured a great picture of all of them backstage and subsequently became Facebook friends. The bass playing mom, I came to learn through Facebook, recently got her MFA. You could read her excitement when she posted a picture of her first book. She shared pictures of family outings, music and stories. They would always make me smile. If she posted something, I read it. Even though I only met her that one night, I really came to like her, admire her and her family via Facebook. Now, if I told her that, it would probably fall under the category of creepy cyber stalking. I would never tell her that, or the hundreds of other acquaintances who have a positive impact on me in little ways. Even though they all make my day better in tiny ways. Earlier today, she posted a link to a blog she started. It’s titled I’m Literally Fucking Dying. Had she not posted that, I would never share this with her. But I did. I had the chance. Nothing I can say will change anything. I wonder if sharing this has more to do with making me feel better. I don’t know. I only know I had the chance to say I’m glad I met you and I hope we meet again.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Glen. I truly appreciate them. I hope we meet again too... Say, got any gigs for my daughter's band? ;)

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  2. Oh Tanya, I'm so so sorry. There was no warning?
    renate kinscheck

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    1. Thanks for your concern, Renate. Very little warning. With esophageal cancer, the first symptoms typically don't appear until stage three or four.

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  3. I feel like I should say something, but I got nothing. Nothing you haven't heard before. Except that you seem to be taking this better than I would. That's admirable, inspiring even. So, for what it's worth, thank you and know that my thoughts are prayers are with you and your family.

    Sincerely,

    James M. Adams of Writers in Paradise.

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    1. Thank you, James. Nice to meet another WiP alumni.

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  4. Fight till you can't no more, then put up your dukes and fight some more.

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  5. Hello Tanya,

    I was given your blog from my friend Andrew Davis who tells me you are a great writer. Naturally I had to check out your blog! I look forward to reading more about your journey and trying to figure out where you get so much strength from to be able to fight this battle. I send many blessings your way and hope to read more about you!
    Ryan

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    1. Thanks Ryan. My strength comes, primarily, from the fact that I don't want to miss a second more of my children than I have to. I'll fight to continue to be their mom.

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  6. TANYA! I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I hope you know you are never alone. I am happy to help you figure out how to navigate thru this chapter of life. And I hope you know its only a chapter, it doesnt have to be the last chapter. I sent you a text, call or text when you are ready to chat. Also, I start chemo at Moffitt next week. Sounds sick to say this, but lets meet for coffee at Moffitt if we are there same time. God, life is crazy! But you are going to figure this out. I am praying for you girlie.
    Jen Pace

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    1. My beautiful friend, I'd love to sit and have chemo with you. Let's try to coordinate, okay. I've been wanting to come to you, but you have so much on your plate I didn't want to heap my plate on top.

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  7. Tanya! I hate you are dealing with this! I hope you know you have a lot of support. I find that is invaluable! You have been such a blessing to me thru my cancer treatments. You set up the fundraiser so I could continue treatments when insurance failed me. You have the biggest heart, and we all know that. I hope you will now allow me to be there for you. Maybe I can help you navigate through this insane new world of cancer. My tip is Dont allow Cancer to diagnose you. Soubds crazy, but its true! Dont give this disease that power. Please read Kris Carrs book Crazy,sexy,cancer. Shes the most inspiring person ive ever seen. She, too, was stage 4( like us) - and shes in full remission many years later. Anyway, I texted you. Call or text anytime you feel up to it. My br cancer came back so im starting treatment at moffitt on 27th. So sick to say but perhaps we can havecoffee if we are there same day?
    Sending love..Jen

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    1. You texted me? I didn't get it. I'll ping you.
      Crazy. Sexy. Cancer? I'll check it out. I have a treatment on the Wednesday, then I have to be back again on Friday. See you soon, sweets.

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