As I exited the neuro-oncology office last week I got a phone call from my dad. He had a test of his own: a biopsy on a thyroid nodule. His test didn't go as well as my neuro test; now he has a new reason to wear his yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet, which he often wore in support of me. He is officially a cancer survivor now, too.
Thyroid cancer (especially papillary carcinoma, which is his diagnosis) is very slow and very treatable. I couldn't help but feel a little jealous on my behalf, and also a little grateful on his behalf, that his diagnosis and prognosis are much less devastating than glioblastoma multiforme.
However, everything is relative. From my vantage point, it's an enviable situation in many ways. But from the vantage point of someone hearing "cancer" pronounced upon themselves for the first time, I don't think it matters where it falls on the spectrum of types and grades and stages and prognoses. There is still that feeling of violation, that a little saboteur has been working undetected inside your body. And cancer is something that happens to "someone else". It's hard to swallow (okay, a little thyroid pun there) the concept of "I have cancer."
Dad seems to be taking it in stride, and has even worked his sense of humor into the situation. Last night he was talking about his surgeon -- the big guy who is going to slit his throat. And we joke back about the whole thing being such a pain in the neck.
Dad has also seen the power of prayer on my behalf, and I'm hoping that he will experience it for himself.