Cancer is not the “big C”. Cancer is not any other generically employed euphemism.
No! Cancer is a bastard.
Cancer lays an ambush, quietly and often concealed. Cancer is patient and is known to take years before it springs its trap and then, depending on the variation you’re unlucky enough to be assaulted by, either launches into the medical equivalency of hyper-drive and claims a life in very short order after diagnosis, or it almost casually goes about its ugly business, taking its time, doing its malicious worst on its own schedule.
Sometimes cancer loses. Sometimes medical science can stop the thug in its tracks and what a cheer that deserves. Sometimes cancer meanders so casually the patient dies of another health issue entirely.
Too often though the ambush is successful. Ultimately.
Or, as in my wife’s case, cancer appears to be halted and while not entirely vanquished becomes invisible to the best investigative medical tools yet invented. Remission has been achieved. What a glorious day when that announcement is delivered. As it was to Lyana and me in the summer of last year.
For Lyana remission proved to be medical fool’s gold.
We were alerted my wife’s cancer was known to not allow itself to be completely destroyed. It was sneaky and almost always hid a few cells somewhere in the body, ready to replicate with a vengeance and then, having learned its lesson, morphed (my word) into a variation immune to the chemo and radiation therapies which appeared to have proven successful so recently.
So it was for Lyana. The cancer returned with incredible rapidity, ignored an initial assault by the very chemotherapy formula which had not long ago forced it into the first steps of retreat and caused oncologists to speak about palliative care and quality of life. Treatment of the cancer, i.e. attacking the cancer was now impossible. The bastard had won.
Cancer wins nasty victories even when it’s forced into retreat and too infrequently is defeated entirely. Side effects of the drugs designed to take the battle to cancer can be so virulently debilitating that life becomes a perpetual struggle. A struggle against pain. A struggle to retain mobility, weight, and/or enough white cells to successfully fight off other usually fairly benign viral or bacterial assaults.
I fought my battle with coronary artery disease in 2000 and CAD will remain a daily threat for the rest of my life. It too is sneaky and expert in the technique of deadly ambush. However, as my fellow heart patients have often said, “at least it’s usually quick in doing its dirty business.”
Lyana fought her attacker with determination, courage, grace and humour. Far more of all of those qualities than one might logically expect someone under such assault to be able to muster.
She fought her unbidden attacker until literally her final breath.
I only hope I live long enough to see the bastard utterly and completely destroyed.
I know I’m not alone.