The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The "C" word
I've gotten to a point in my life, where I finally know more cancer survivors than cancer victims. This is good news for all of us, but especially for my family, as my son Stephen may have oral cancer.

My son smokes and has since he rebelled as an adolescent. When cigarettes got to $6 a pack, he switched to chewing tobacco (dip) to get his nicotine fix at a price he could afford. So much for the cost of cigarettes motivating people to kick the habit. Nicotine addicts just feed their habit in increasingly dangerous ways.

Stephen noticed a lump in his mouth and made an appointment with a dentist to have his teeth cleaned and the lump checked out. The dentist spotted precancerous cells and told Stephen that he'd have to have a biopsy on the lump to determine its nature. Stephen went in last week to have it done. It will probably be a few days before we know the results of the tests.

When Stephen mentioned the dentist's findings to his friends, they all pooh-poohed them. In their opinion, no one my son's age can develop oral cancer. I guess no one told them about Sean Marsee, who died at age 19 from dipping snuff.

Of course, I am worried sick about what the results of the biopsy might be... but I'm hopeful because I know several cancer survivors. I wouldn't have been as hopeful 30 years ago when my father died from cancer. When you become a parent, you sign up for hazard duty (although no one ever tells you this.) There's really nothing in life that can prepare you for this sort of thing.

I work with someone whose infant son was just diagnosed with retinoblastoma. His son may lose his eye to save his life. It's been a month of sadness all around - so I try to think of all the people I know who are cancer survivors, and I say thank you to them for sharing their stories. It makes the "C" word a little less scary.

Update: Stephen's first biopsy (a cheek swab) has come back clear, so now he just has to have a needle biopsy of the lump. Keep your fingers crossed!


posted by Melanie O. at 11:43 AM -
  • At 8:16 AM, Blogger Brabarella said…

    Hi Melanie,
    Have you heard any more? It must be stressful waiting it out. Your son is in my prayers.

  • At 7:08 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Hi Marty - no word yet on the second biopsy. Stephen has put if off - I think he's in a state of denial, so I am turning into the proverbial nag. Hopefully, I'll hear soon that he's had it done.

  • At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi sweetheart.

    I just read this. So sorry to hear this. I hope your son is doing okay now.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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