Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting Up to Speed

It's been almost 3 months since I was diagnosed with cancer, and it is time for me to start a just-for-cancer blog. I'm calling it "Nobody's Cancer" because I don't like the idea of cancer being mine (it isn't). And there are relatively few cases of vaginal cancer diagnosed each year the world over, so sometimes it feels like nobody has had this kind of cancer before. All of my doctors have told me how rare vaginal cancer is. They say that they are working with imperfect information about treatments, but that they are fairly confident that I will be cured. They compare it to cervical cancer, but they are cautious.

I realized when I was diagnosed that cancer is not something that terrifies me. I was shocked, confused, frustrated, angry, and resigned to do what it would take to be cancer-free. But I have not been afraid. Neither cancer nor cancer treatment are scary to me. I think cancer is often scary. I would feel differently if I had been diagnosed with another form of cancer - say brain cancer, or one of the more tenacious bone cancers that science is still baffled by. But I'm confident that I can get through this gigantic bummer. I'll be scarred, changed, and my future has morphed into something with benchmarks and fewer options than it used to offer. And that's the stuff I want to write about. My husband and I have been forced to make choices that are very difficult to make. We've been confronted by unexpected emotions. We are very fortunate and we are devastated.

This is all I'll write for now, because I have this whole life I need to keep living. But in the meantime, there's still the Other Blog, where I describe my initial reaction and the steps my husband and I took after I was diagnosed. If you haven't yet, check out the post from Feb 17th when I announced "The News" and the Page I created a week or so later with a bit more information, called "And Cancer" (which is also a Page on this site called "First Impressions").

Since those writings, my treatment plan has changed a bit again and I start low dose chemotherapy and high dose radiation next Monday. I have a lot to say and I'm gonna say it here. The hope is that my experience will help the people I love (and that love me) to understand all of what's going on. And maybe reading about my experiences will help other people with vaginal cancer (or any form of cancer) to deal with the loss of control and change of trajectory that cancer means for many people these days.

I'll be updating this blog again soon. There is a lot to share.


  1. First Impression, FUCK!!! Followed by an amount of tears I didn't know were in me.

    Second Impression, She's got this! Meaning there's no way in hell this has her!

    I'm sending a MILLION I love yous, and a BILLION wishes for this journey to be over quicker than it started.

    All my love, Moanie!!!

    Je T'aime ~Aderyn

  2. Ramona, we just got the tie for Jay today - he'll be wearing it at a wedding on Saturday! Love it.

    Cancer is such a heavy word, so laden with emotion.. but it's good to see you embrace it. I looked it up in a few other languages to see what it looks or sounds like outside my own associations; καρκίνος (greek) سرطان (persian) kræft (danish) ມະເຮັງ (lao) კიბოს (georgian) krabbamein (icelandic) புற்றுநோய் (tamil)

    Tamil maybe the most graceful, Krabbamein might be the most fun to say. I suggest you try making up your own word that feels right; I have a whole and secret personal language :)

    love from LA

  3. Ugh, yes cancer is still burdened by the past century (and more) of difficult attempts at treatment. It is now not unusual to survive cancer, and to make it through cancer treatment relatively unscathed. In German, it's Krebs (and the 'b' has an almost 'p' sound). It's easier to say 'ich habe Krebs' than it is to say 'I have cancer'. The persian looks pretty nice... wonder how that sounds. mmmm.