It’s not cancer!

Thankfully, it's not cancer. It's still horrible and painful, but it's not cancer, it's now menopause. But for another friend, it is indeed cancer.

Mentor just called me up to say that it’s not cancer.

I thought you should read the good news first.

She’s doing better, as well as someone who’s been on constant meds for two weeks can be. She’s sounding better as well, which is really nice. I think I’m still a little disturbed about the ‘Yay! Jello!’ conversation she and I had almost three weeks ago. At the very least, she’s feeling well enough to make a couple bad jokes about how it hurts to move around in bed, and ‘is nothing sacred?’

I bet you can tell why I like her so much.

The bad news is that now Mentor will be walking into meopause, many years too soon.

This has my head wandering about the problems of cancer and menopause.

Personally, I like the word ‘menopause.’ I like the etymology behind it, which has to do with the Latin geek in me (yes, I know this is Greek). Now, I’ll start where it’s easiest. If you have no idea what ‘menstruation’ is, go get a dictionary, you’ll need it. Assuming you do, let’s take it from the top.

  • Men – Greek for ‘month’
  • Pause – Latin pausa, Greek pausis, from pauein ‘to stop’

This has to be one of the simplist words to research like that. Mind you, ‘struation’ isn’t a word and neither is ‘truation’, but given the context, one can construe that it’s root meaning is ‘to flow.’ But menopause is a deliciously simple word. Month-pause. And damned if that isn’t exactly what it does. It pauses the monthly ‘occurance.’ It doesn’t even need to mean the cessation of menstruation, but really an end to anything that happens monthly. For example, if the moon was destroyed, we’d have a menopause of the moon. Which would be freaky.

Cancer, though, I do not like as a word. It sounds and feels scary and dangerous. A malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis. Freaky ass shit. So many people use the term to mean evil that it’s hard to get past that group thought. We all think (or know) that Cancer is evil and wrong. We all fear it.

For most of my life, my father’s best friend has been stricken with cancer. As far back as I can remember, he’s been in pretty good spirits about it. It’s been years since he was diagnosed, and years since he started treatment. Last week, my father told me that he has only months to live. While one friend manages to escape the grasp of cancer, I have to turn and look at another who will be likely succumbing to it by the end of the year, if not sooner.

The worst thing about it, for me, is that there’s very little I can do. I’d like to be able to help, but I can’t do more than make them feel loved, and hope it helps. I’m not a doctor, blood from a living being disturbs me. I’m not a scientist, I can’t pull a Salk and get a cure out of thin air. All I can do is talk to them and let them know that I care. Which is really all anyone can do. Even doctors can’t defeat cancer 100-percent of the time.

I don’t know which I’d rather have: early menopause or cancer. Neither are easy to bounce back from, neither are exactly cureable. When I look at how far science has come and how far we have left to go, both sides are staggering. We’ve come so far. We have so far left to go and the end isn’t in site, nor will it ever be so.

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