38.5% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s about 2,926,000,000 people. Out of those people, 23,800 people will be diagnosed due to a tumor on their brain and/or spine.
My grandmother is currently among those 23,800 people.
It’s a lot to wrap your brain around at first, and to be completely honest with you all, I still don’t think I have yet.
Shortly after falling one night in her apartment, MawMaw had been complaining of pain in her neck and head. When she went to the doctor, they noticed she had ruptured her eardrum, so, naturally we thought the pain was stemming from that. Weeks later, she was still complaining about the pain, and no other doctor seemed to think anything was wrong. Mom took her to the emergency room, and they discovered she had fractured her neck (LITERALLY WHAT THE FUCK MAWMAW), and then noticed the tumor.
The ER doctor wasn’t 100% what it was, so he recommended she go to a neurologist to confirm or deny his suspicion.
Turns out all those years of medical school really paid off.
They put a brace on her neck for the fracture, which she hates, might I add. Her neck and head are ridiculously small, almost child-like; the brace is far too big for her and is uncomfortable, which she reminds us of daily.
But the more pressing matter doesn’t seem to have fully sunk in yet.
“I feel like I would know if I had cancer.”
How does one process this kind of information? How do you explain to someone, especially someone as stubborn as my grandma, that this is a huge deal and that it could very well kill her?
At the moment, they’re still in the early phases of trying to figure out where the tumor stemmed from, and what they can do to help. The doctors working with my grandma are incredibly patient and understanding, which I am eternally grateful for. But at the moment, there’s only one question still nagging at my brain-
How do I process this information myself?