Monday, 6 August 2007

Destination: Cancer

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My six-year-old Joey noticed my sister's wedding ring at lunch the other day. "Is that your ring from when you married Jack?" he asked. "Yep," replied my sister. And then Joey told her, "My mom took her ring off when she went to cancer because she couldn't wear it there. And then she never put it back on."

It's true. I took my ring off prior to my treatment for breast cancer. I guess I was worried about swelling in my fingers or worse yet, lymphedema. I became so comfortable without the ring, I never put it back on. Do I still fear swelling, almost three years later? No, not really. But that's what I say when my husband and I joke about his symbol of wedded bliss and my lack of one. Joey has heard the conversation many times and today, he shared his very own version.

Just as I think Joey has a grasp on the whole cancer thing, I'm reminded that this disease is such a foreign concept for such a young boy. It's clear cancer messed up our lives for awhile, took my hair, made me sick, and forever changed our outlook on the color pink. But what is cancer really, for a six-year-old? It's a noun sometimes -- "My mommy had cancer," Joey might announce. And sometimes, like today, it's a location.

Yes, I had cancer. I guess I went to cancer too. Whatever is it, I sure am glad to have gotten rid of it -- and to have departed the whole vicinity of such a disease.
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