Cancer……The word. Cancer. It kicks at the back of my throat when I say it. It is a hard sound. The word cancer doesn’t roll off my tongue like the word flower, for instance, or sunshine. Notice the difference in the way the words feel in your mouth? For me the word cancer has a punch. I have walked with Julie through her battle with Fourth Stage breast cancer. I was with her at the hospital when the radiologist said “It’s either Breast cancer or Lymphoma.” I saw terror in her eyes. I felt a sickening hollow in my stomach…….My mind raced. She is so young, she is so beautiful, this is so unfair, you ugly bastard, she has children to raise for Christ’s sake. I stayed with her that day in the hospital. She was exhausted by the end of the exams and as we readied to leave I was going to offer to drive but I realized Julie’s life was suddenly about to spiral out of control. Julie needed the control of driving her own car. She needed the control of stopping to get gas. She needed to sense the reality of the mundane every day things we do every day because very shortly her days would become dictated by someone else calling the shots. During the next eleven months I witnessed this ugly cancer diminish it’s hold on Julie. She fought like a soldier. Julie prepared herself to do battle and do battle she did. Julie saw her enemy and went after it with a vengeance. I am so fortunate to have been able to be part of Julie’s life while she went to war. Either tending to her kids… beloved “other son’s” Cord, and Caleb, and chatting sometimes two or three times a day with her, I watched this warrior beat cancer into the ground and then stomp on its ugly head. Now I am looking at my Dad. He has been diagnosed with cancer. I will do what I can, and what can I do? Right now I just don’t know. He is not preparing for battle in a way I am familiar with. This punches me again, it kicks at the back of my throat. I have decided I hate the word….cancer.


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