Why It's Not Unfair That I Have Cancer

by Melissa Fuoss
Originally Published: 

Found a lump.

Wasn’t worried because I had a cyst last year in a similar spot that was totally benign.

Called doctor.

Made appointment.

Saw nurse practitioner at my OBGYN’s office. She said it felt like the same cyst, didn’t feel malignant, and that I could just wait and watch it for 3-6 months. I said, no. Asked for an ultrasound.

Thank God.

Ultrasound revealed two spots of concern.

Scheduled biopsy.

Had biopsy. (They struggled to get my boob numb, so I had the pleasure of feeling the needle.)

They said it looked benign. Reassured me that 90% of the lumps they biopsy in women my age are benign.

I felt relieved. Joel felt relieved.

Next day went shopping. Got home. Got phone call.

One spot was a benign fibroid. The other one invasive ductal carcinoma.

That was the day before Thanksgiving.

I will remember that phone call for the rest of my life. Joel had his face pressed against mine, and we listened together to the devastating news. I called my mom first and told her it was cancer. I remember telling her I was so sorry. Watching my family deal with the news has been so hard. I feel like I have stolen some of their happiness, too. My dad came to get the boys so they wouldn’t have to see us fall apart. Joel and I just held each other and cried. And vowed to him that I would not leave him.

That was one shitty day.

I’ve had a few moments of “this isn’t fair”. But really – it is. My life has been beyond blessed. I am always saying, “Something has to go wrong. This is just too good.”

I grew up with a loving family. With parents who have always put my brother and I first. Parents who are silly, generous, honest, open, and know just what I need right when I need it. Parents who make me feel like I am the center of their world, and a brother who is beyond loyal. I’ve never had one need that was not met. I went to great schools, got a fantastic education, and have been provided with every possible opportunity to learn, explore, and grow. I’ve traveled internationally, made connections with people from all different walks of life, and been loved by people who have never asked me to be anything more than me. I fell in love with my soul-mate. I have a job that I would probably do even if I wasn’t paid. I see God where some see darkness. I feel happy 98% of the time. I dream big, and don’t feel scared to risk. I’ve run great distances and written poems that make me proud. I live in a house that feels like a home. I have neighbors who drink wine with me in the middle of day and bring me meals for no reason. I have friends who are selfless and remind me how to be silly. Most importantly I have given birth to two boys who are so magical. They have changed me forever, and make me feel loved and special every single day. I have had an amazing life.

Working with at-risk youth shows you firsthand what unfair looks like. Unfair is being treated differently because of your skin color, dress, or sexual orientation. Unfair is being sexually abused by your mom’s boyfriends, being beaten by strangers, and not having food in your refrigerator. I know what unfair looks like.

I have cancer and it fucking sucks. It really fucking sucks. But it is not unfair. It is part of life. Part of my life. But I have everything I need to beat it: the best medical team, the most amazing support system, health insurance, and the will to get through it.

And I will.

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