Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.


Cancer.  Nasty little word, isn’t it?  It might as well be a four-letter word, what with the intense emotional impact it carries.  I am willing to bet a buck that even reading it right now you had some sort of physical response, maybe a chill down your spine or an ache in your heart.  From the moment the word is uttered aloud, cancer begins its negative effect, so strong is its power.  It’s even worse when the word is spoken close to home.


My household first heard the word five weeks after my son was born in ‘96 and instead of attending to the bleary-eyed task of new daddy duty, my husband was instead forced to travel teary-eyed from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back again to take begin taking care of the first woman he ever loved with all his heart, his mother.  My mother-in-law was facing down the most unwelcome enemy of pancreatic cancer, a cancer that has historically been beaten back – but never down.


We had just moved into our new home and having never had a true baby’s room with my daughter (she shared her crib and changing table with a computer and filing cabinets) I had lovingly and painstakingly turned my newborn son’s room into my dream nursery.  I was looking forward to welcoming and cuddling my baby boy in the room but it instead we welcomed grandma and began nursing her back to health after her Whipple Procedure – a surgery to remove the head of the pancreas, most of the duodenum/small intestine, a portion of the bile duct and sometimes a portion of the stomach. It’s one of the most invasive surgeries doctors perform (perform — one of the oddest words used by the medical field, like we should applaud at the conclusion of the procedure?), but it gave my mother-in-law the best chance at having quality, and extended quantity, of life.


In the last decade, the word cancer has refused to go away as people we know and love have been forced to deal with the crap-disturber known as cancer in its many evil forms.  Lung.  Bone.  Bladder.  Breast.  Prostate.  Lymphatic.  Pretty harmless words, until you attach the curse word cancer to them.


Over the years, my husband and I have attended events and fundraisers to raise money and awareness to eradicate the disease in every form.  When the children came along, they began to accompany us to many of the events that occur throughout each year.  Cancer had always been on the periphery, but in the last decade it has touched our lives so deeply, that my daughter has decided to pursue a career in nursing (specializing in geriatrics) – I’m sure because all she has ever known is caregiving in one form or another.  Her compassionate nature astounds me, so deep is her feeling for mankind.


Cancer is once again in our hearts and line of vision as we gear up for battle, as one of my closest friends has begun her own fight against breast cancer.  Cancer.  When the word was first whispered in my ear, so as not to be overheard by loved ones who might (and eventually did) dissolve at the sound, I choked back whatever initial emotions I had in order to be strong for her.  I knew it would do no good to have both of us down and out, as one of us had to stand guard against the hostile forces hiding nearby.


Knowing from experience that laughter has always been the best medicine, I decided from the beginning to don not only armor, but the proverbial jester’s hat to distract my friend so that she could get down to the business of eradicating the nasty evil cells infiltrating her body.  One of my most favorite soothsayers, disguised as comedian, Bill Cosby, says that “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.  Sounds like a plan to me.  An excellent battle plan, to be sure.


Soon, my friend will begin her multiple-modality therapy against her form of cancer and the best thing about this story?  This is a battle that can and will be won.  Why?  Because early screening and treatment are the one-two punch needed to kick breast cancer’s worthless, sorry, hateful butt.  My friend will fight and she will win, but not without casualties, as the treatment can be tough on a body and soul.  Part of my strategy to help her is to be there every step of the way, wherever and whenever she wants and as much as she can tolerate (it has been said that I am a dish best served in small doses).  It breaks my heart that I can’t take the hits for her, but I vow to be there to prop her up, hold her hand and help her heal.


Before this month of “sweethearts and declarations of love” draws to a close, I’d like to encourage one more act of love, on behalf of those you care about.  Many men and women out there put the health of their families above their own – one of the things that cancer is counting on – so I want to encourage you to arm yourself and your loved ones with the knowledge necessary to keep cancer at bay or to obtain the tools to fight, if needed.  Some of the best information available can be found at, or  There you’ll find advice about healthy lifestyles and screening… two of the main strategies in the battle against any cancer. 


A great man who knew a thing or two about war, Winston Churchill, said, “When you’re going through hell … keep going.”  Take a left at laughter and as the war rages around you, know that you as your enemy retreats, s/he who laughs best — laughs last.  Take that CNCR < pardon my Klatchian >, you no good #&*%!

2 thoughts on “CNCR

  • cancer is the most risky disease that people experienced, treatment for it are undefined…but it will cure as soon as you know it early. So better to consult with doctor weekly about your health.

  • Ellen Fox says:

    I, like many other women I know, click on the Breast Cancer website for giving free mammograms to the underinsured/under privileged every day. I read the stories and I weep. Every story has a face and every face has someone who loves her (and occasionally the him). But coming away from these daily doses of reality I have taken my new favorite saying “Fight Like a Girl”. This has had such impact on me that I share it with anyone who will listen. Your message, T., just proves it – we will fight like girls and we will win this ugly battle. We will FIGHT LIKE A GIRL and do it together, with the support of our friends and family. May God Bless You and your friend, keep the spirit of hope alive. – Ellen Fox

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