I am generally possessed of a mighty thick skin. Not a quality I was born with but rather one acquired through repeated injury. I don’t say this with any drama—it’s simply a fact. And I, being a scrappy survivor, have developed tools/personality traits to effectively protect myself.
However every once in a while something gets under my skin. When I logged onto Facebook this morning, another cancer survivor had characterized my cancer as ‘amazingly slow growing.’ I should have just let it go but I responded by saying that I wished my cancer did grow more slowly, before listing for her all the modalities of treatment that I have undergone since my diagnosis. And then I counseled her to be more sensitive when describing another’s cancer as amazingly slow growing.
For those who wonder what the fuss is all about, here is the synopsis from my most recent radiology report:
Surveillance for lung cancer status post left lower lobectomy. Sub-solid mass like opacities in the left upper lobe have increased in size and attenuation since the prior study as described.
Persistent and slightly increased groundglass and interlobular septal thickening in the basilar left lung, suggestive of lymphangitic carcinomatosis.
Additional subsolid nodules in the left lung are stable or slightly increased in size compared with the prior exam.
Slightly increased small loculated left pleural effusion.
First of all, the possibility of lymphangitic carcinomatosis. Now you don’t want to let those horses out of the barn.
Secondly, just for scale, the largest of my masses is now 4.4 by 2.1 centimeters. No small potato when one is talking about cancer.
So yes, I am darn fortunate that I have been able to survive for as long as I have. But I haven’t exactly been sitting around and eating bonbons as I’ve fought (yes, fought) rather tirelessly to stay alive.
There. Got that off my chest. Now if I could just get this other shit out of my chest I could get back to that box of candy.