It was cancer, but did I ever “have cancer?”

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I came back from the post-op with the surgeon.  After I got back in the car, I asked my mom, “So, does this mean I can tell people I have cancer?”  She said, “Well, you had cancer.  You don’t have it anymore.”  I answered, “So I went from ‘I might have cancer’ to ‘I had cancer?’  Then when did I ‘have cancer?'” 

I know it doesn’t make any sense, but I feel as if I missed a whole stage, and I don’t like it.  It’s crazy, but I wish that I could say, “I have cancer.”

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8 Responses to It was cancer, but did I ever “have cancer?”

  1. Arienna Lee says:

    Hm, I think I can understand what you’re saying, Emma. Being able to label your ordeal “cancer” would automatically communicate to people the depth/seriousness of the experience. But despite the uncertainty of the C-word, you definitely went through the fire. I hope you never have to come into direct contact with cancer again!

    • I certainly hope so as well. Yeah, there is something about the label/name “cancer” that has a gravitas that few other words or phrases do. And it’s weird, because instead of accepting that “I have cancer,” I have to accept “I had cancer.” I have to accept a past event rather than a present reality, which is strange.

  2. exiledtyke says:

    Really glad to hear your news. I would never have been glad to hear that you “have” cancer but to hear that you “had” it is great.
    All the best for a future in which you never have to say “I have cancer”.

  3. mariposaxprs says:

    I think it’s such a major relief you made the right decision to go forward with the surgery. But I can see how it’s difficult to share with those around you just how much worrying/fretting you had to do prior to the surgery. One of my friends (a bit of a princess-type hypochondriac ;)) recently took issue with her chin and wanted to have cosmetic surgery on it. It was a bit tough for me to hear her talk repeatedly about how it was the worst thing to go through, given how so many others have to undergo non-elective serious treatments/surgeries everyday. In that sense, I can really see why you might feel frustrated.

    I hope you feel better and that sharing your thoughts here also helps to clear your mind. Thanks for being open with the process too!

  4. Bebe says:

    Checking in here to see how you’re doing. Will wait for the next post! I shall assume no news is good news!!
    You know, what you bring up about the technicality of saying you “have cancer” or “had cancer” reminds me of an experience that I had when I had a miscarriage. Like, I couldn’t say, “I was pregnant” because it was so brief, so then I had to just say “I had a miscarriage.” And that made me feel like I was forced to skip a step of grieving. Maybe that’s what you felt?? Just wondering…If so, then I understand completely!

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