I didn't come up with the line "fuck cancer," but I wish I did. A good friend of mine from high school was diagnosed with bile duct cancer a month ago and one of her friends made her a necklace that displays this defiant message. I may not have thought of it, but it's definitely a message that I, and the rest of her friends and family, can get behind.
The cancer has compromised much of my friend's bile ducts and liver–so much so that removal of the tumor is not an option. Her treatment for now will be radiation and chemotherapy to stop the growth and shrink the tumor, with the possibility of a living donor liver transplant in the future. She is 40, has three wonderful kids, and a great husband.
Who hasn't heard a story like this before? They are everywhere, and every time I hear one like it I feel a pang of sympathy and then I move on to the very next thing–like what to write as my Facebook status or looking for knit patterns on Ravelry. Certainly I knew these stories could be filed in the "Sometimes Life Really Sucks" category. I just didn't know how much it could suck until I heard that someone I cared about had a life-threatening illness.
Not that I'm berating myself for the many superficial things I do every day. Life is to be lived, and a big part of life is the little things we do that give us pleasure. But aside from the obvious fear and pain that comes from learning about a diagnosis like this, there is the equally obvious reminder that life is short. Perhaps it's time to spend a little less time doing the little stuff and put some more effort into the things that really mean something to me. Ironically, these are feelings I've had a lot lately since I turned 40 this year–but it took this news for me to realize it was time to stop moaning and do something about it.
At this point, I'm feeling very optimistic that my friend will beat this cancer and resume her happy, healthy life. But her life, and the life of her family, has been rudely interrupted. I have a luxury she doesn't have at the moment–my health–and damn it, I am thankful for that luxury. I'm gonna milk it for all it's worth. This, more than anything, is what I have been taught by this. This cancer is not happening to me, but FUCK if I'm going to waste more precious time when I have the gift of living life uninterrupted. It is time to write. Eleven thousand words later and I'm finally feeling like I am the writer I've wanted to be since I was a child.
This is the way I will personally "fuck cancer."
In the mean time, I will also do everything I can to help support my friend during this interruption in her life. She, and all of her friends and family are standing together, fists in the air, shouting "FUCK CANCER!"