Sunday, October 23, 2005
Sometimes it is hard to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as it were. The last two weeks I have felt in many ways that the words are trapped inside and I can't let them out for fear of what I might say and in turn might feel. Somehow it feels as though if I don't write the words, then I won't have to feel them, believe them. I can hide them away and pretend.

Those of us who have had and are dealing with cancer know all too well how much we wish we could take back the words, "you have cancer." We remember the time, place, the tone of the doctor's voice, and every detail of the exact moment we heard the words. I remember what I did, how I reacted, what I felt, where I went, and what I didn't feel. The odd combination of sorrow and determination swirled in my head with no direction, not yet knowing its purpose, causing me to ask questions even though I never heard the answers. Saving the onset of a memory-robbing disease, I will take that moment with me to my grave instantly feeling that twinge of pain like a knife through the heart every time that page of the calendar is turned.

Until recently, I never thought any words would make me feel more helpless, angry, and yet even more determined. I remember the exact time of day, the sound of her voice, where I was, how I reacted, what I felt, and what I didn't feel when my mother bravely said to me, as she said it for the first time, "I don't want you to be shocked, but I have cancer."

Years ago my mother began having nosebleeds thought to be brought on by blood thinning medications prescribed to reduce the chance of stroke. Even with minimal medication, the nosebleeds persisted. They tried cauterizing the veins and even letting specialists take a look. Finally at our persistence, a new specialist took a more thorough look and spotted a polyp that needed a closer look. After a painful biopsy procedure, it was confirmed that it was a nasal adenocarcinoma. After more tests and consultation we will determine a course of treatment. These aren't very common, but luckily this one is slow growing and low grade. For this I am grateful. For its existence alone I am devastated.

I could list story after story about the loving, generous, selfless, faithful woman that is my mother. One would think that somewhere out there in the cosmos, the balance of the universe might tilt a little in her favor just once and not send cancer to her or her family one more time. One might also think that since she has had her fair share of crap already, that perhaps she might be spared dealing with this at this stage in her life. It doesn't seem fair, but nothing about cancer is fair. If there was a way I could take this from her, without hesitation I would volunteer in a heartbeat. The thought of my mother having just one moment of discomfort, sadness, worry, or pain hurts in way I cannot describe. More than words could ever express.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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