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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cancer Paranoia

I have a problem. I have this slight, but scary fear that I will get another kind of Cancer. I don't know why but from the beginning I have always felt that I would beat the Hodgkin's and be fine. I was honestly more concerned about the prospect of losing my hair than I was about the disease itself. I think its because Hodgkin's has such a high cure rate and all the doctors I spoke to seemed so confident that I would beat I just have this sense of calm that everything is going to be ok and I will get through this....not that it won't be hard (and it has!), but in the end it will be ok. It's similar to the way I felt before I heard my diagnosis, I knew something was wrong, I just felt it and I was so scared. But once I was diagnosed and had a method for fighting it I felt more confident.

However, I do have this fear that something else could happen. I know its not a healthy way to think, but it really disturbed me that I had no idea my cells were mutating and Cancer was forming in my body, so isn't it plausible it could happen somewhere else? I hate to even put those thoughts into the universe, but it seems like Cancer is everywhere I look. I work at a women's magazine and we constantly feature articles about knowing your risks for breast and cervical cancer. Especially now that its Breast Cancer Awareness month, I see pink and ribbons everywhere so its a constant reminder that my life is forever changed by this disease. And don't get me started on ovarian has become my biggest fear now because they call it the silent killer since the symptoms are hard to pinpoint and only 20% of women diagnose it early enough. And I've always been paranoid about skin cancer for some reason. I always felt so many black women thought they couldn't get it so they didn't wear sunscreen, but I always have lathered up with SPF 30 everyday and when my job gave free skin cancer screenings this past summer I was the only one with a darker skin tone that was there. So sometimes it feels like Cancer is on my mind 24/7.

I have this urge to write down all the symptoms to every kind of Cancer out there so I know them and can be aware of them and tell my friends and family about them too. But is that anyway to live?? No.

I'm sure I'm more aware of it now, but Cancer is in the media almost everyday. I cried a few weeks ago while reading a profile of Patrick Swayze and his struggle with pancreatic Cancer. And I was deeply troubled to read that one of the winners of the Survivor TV show, Ethan Zohn, who was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin's in May had relapsed. I read about Ethan right after he was first diagnosed (and before I was diagnosed) and when I read his story I felt chills, because it sounded so similar to me. Then while waiting for the results from my lymph node biopsy I read another story in a magazine about Ethan's journey during chemo. A month later I found out that I had Cancer too. And now his Cancer is back. I know these instances are pure coincidence, but I cried my eyes out when I read Ethan's Cancer was back. He was training for the New York Marathon and in remission and all of a sudden he was back in the Cancer trenches. It just sucks because stories like that are so devastating. He has a different form of Hodgkin's that I have but its still a scary reality of this disease. Life is funny that way, connecting you to people you don't even know.

I think I would be scared even if I didn't have Cancer, just seeing whats possible, but I'm even more scared now because I know its real. Anyone can get Cancer, you can be the healthiest person on earth, eat right, work out, don't smoke or drink and your cells could decide to mutate and the kicker is that the doctors just don't know why!! Yikes. What's a girl to do??


  1. Morgan, I am a friend of your mother's. I wanted to let you know that you are an inspiration. You are indeed FABULOUS!- LaRita Barber