There, I said. Typing it makes it feel more real; like it can rip everything away from you in an instant. You feel this way because it can.
Some doctors use the word casually; like it's common. What is "cancer"? Well, Bing.com tells me that "cancer" is "a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body". Ok, so "cancer" doesn't seem that scary right now; but the look on your family member's face the moment they hear that six letter word shows how devastating this disease can be.
When I was around 10 years old, my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time I was young and the first thought that came into my mind was that "Holy shit. My Meemaw is going to die". I remember crying and not knowing how to process that information.
I remember talking to my dad about it and he told me that breast cancer is actually one of the more "common cancers". While this is the case, needless to say, it didn't make me feel better.
Thankfully, the surgery went well and so did the treatments after. Now, this was over ten years ago and nothing has come back; I even was so naïve to push the idea of cancer out of my mind. You know the saying "out of sight, out of mind"? Well, that was me. At least it was until last Wednesday.
For the past month of my life, my grandpa has been going to get tests done at the hospital. He turns 78 in March and this time last year he had suffered a minor stroke. So, you can only imagine how we all feel with these tests.
Last week after one of his tests the doctor came in and told my grandpa and dad that he has cancer and has had it for 10 years. Now, when they got home, my first thoughts were, "TEN YEARS?!? HOW DO THEY NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS????" I still feel that way actually. The whole time my dad was saying something my grandpa just kept looking at me and so I knew I had to watch my reaction.
I didn't let him see me cry. I didn't tell him how scared I am that the cancer could have possibly spread to his bone marrow or lymph nodes.
Instead, I gave him a hug and I told him everything would alright. That's all I can do is smile and have him live on the optimistic side of things. My stepmom told me to keep this up. To not let him know how I actually feel. How scared I truly am.
Even though I am now 21, I still feel like that little 10-year-old girl. While my grandpa is still getting tests done, and he has a procedure in March, I will remain the face of optimism. Cancer is scary, not only for the person who has it, but for everyone around them. While in today's age it is a more commonly used word, it doesn't mean that the meaning behind it has left.
For those of you who have family members with cancer, I want to tell you that I am sorry. Today is a tough day, but I promise a new dawn is on the horizon. Be strong, smile, and show your support to that person.
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