Posted by Lanea on Sunday, June 26th, 2011
I finally read this book. I bought it ages ago, when everyone bought it. I left it on the shelf, because it got too much hipster attention, but also because it’s about something very hard, and seemed to come too close to some painful situations in my own family, and sometimes it’s nice to avoid difficult things.
I finally read it in May. I liked a lot of things about it, and I was annoyed by a few aspects of the book. I avoided discussing all of that here because sometimes it’s hard for me to honestly critique books that skirt things I’ve intended to write about, like cancer and caretaking and the responsibilities kids are burdened with before they can handle them.
And then I started writing a review and stalled because I got word last week that there’s a good chance my Mom’s cancer has reared its ugly head again. There’s not an official diagnosis yet, but the mammogram was pretty telling. I have a tiny little hope that what looks like a tumor is really just scar tissue. Hope . . . hope hasn’t stood by me much over the years. You wouldn’t have guessed that, would you? I’m good at sunny and light, with a side of sarcasm.
I mentioned Mom’s cancer several times here, but I tended to focus on all of the good outcomes. I do that. I don’t want to burden you. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. I do that here, and I do it even more in my day to day life. I carry things no one knows about, and I soothe and I smile and I convince everyone I can possibly convince that everything is ok, whether or not it is, and that I can carry everything I’m holding and most of what you’re holding too.
The book is hard to read.
Life can be hard to live.
My Mom probably has breast cancer again, so soon after finishing treatment. My Aunt’s cancer resurfaced as metastatic bone cancer this winter, and she’s being treated and will probably be fine, but it’s hard on her, and it’s all hard on all of us, and we’re all terrible about asking for help.
I will probably develop breast cancer, and there’s not much I can do to prevent that. I get screened, I’m trying to work on the only risk factor I have any control over–my own fitness. But I have little control over rogue cells, and I know it. My Aunt and Mom had no control over their biggest risk factor–their own parents’ smoking. I spent a lot of time in that same smoky house as a kid. It’s too late to change anything my grandparents did, and I’m so happy that my nieces and nephew grow up in smoke free homes. I am officially shrill and irrational about smoking. I don’t think I care anymore if that offends anyone. I’m sick of people I love hurting themselves and other with such idiotic behavior, addiction or no.