Little white lies. I feel I have to tell them. Why? Mostly for the sake of the Bean, my little girl.
Frequently in the neighbourhood, at school, or this week at the dentist, people ask me why I am using a cane. I explain that I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it has spread to my liver and bones. God bless them, they usually say something like "but the cancer is all gone now?" Uh, well, no. "But you'll be alright, won't you?" That's when I tell a modified version of the truth. I say that the doctors treat it as a chronic disease, like diabetes. If I mention that there is no cure, I do it in my sweetest, most hopeful voice. Why? BECAUSE MY DAUGHTER IS STANDING RIGHT THERE!
Yes, the doctor really is treating it like a chronic disease... because there is no cure. Trust me, it's not like diabetes. With all due respect to my dear friends with diabetes, it's not the same. They wouldn't want to trade diagnoses with me.
In front of the Bean, do you think I am going to mention that breast cancer is likely to kill me before she grows up? Come on, nobody wants to hear that. Especially me.
I really wish there was meaningful awareness of breast cancer. I wish people understood how common it is, that there is no cure. Damn Lance Armstrong and the Pink Police for convincing everyone that cancer is easy to fight. It isn't. It is an insidious demon attacking me daily. I fight it with handfuls of pills, IVs and radiation. I fight it with every stubborn breath I take. But it isn't easy. Unless you ask me in front of my girl, in which case I'll say, "I am fine, really. The doctors have it under control."