CLASSIC DAD MOMENT, OR WHY IS EVERYTHING A PISSING CONTEST WITH MEN, EVEN WITH WOMEN?

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(Is it? I’m not so sure!)

9 FEB 2015: Dr. T’s just told me I have lung cancer and need surgery to remove the mass and 15% of my top left lung, the earnest young male resident standing behind him looking uncomfortable. I ask where to go to make the pre-operative procedures appointments. Dr. T kindly assures me his staff will schedule everything, including a consult with the best orthopedic surgeon in the mid-Atlantic region about my left shoulder (surgeon?). I think, wow, you get VIP treatment with lung cancer! Awesome. Then realize I sound stoked about a lung cancer diagnosis. I need to pee.

I do so. Not right then, in the restroom, but not ready to face the Foggy Bottom/GW crowd I sit again in the now empty waiting room. The only person I remember talking to is my dad. I call his cell phone. My voice quivers at first as I talk. He sounds surprised but not overly concerned. I’m not surprised. He always handles news like this calmly. His voice never quivers. It helps, at first.

He asks the requisite questions a parent asks, I guess, followed by what I take is his idea of solace. First he tells me a female friend a few years older than I (she’s sixty; and he’s the math guru of the family) whose memorial he and my stepmother attended recently. He explains that she had uterine cancer and “once you get uterine cancer there’s nothing you can do.” Like he knows. Plus, lung cancer kills more people than all other cancers combined. I don’t say this to him. Anyway, then he mentions another female friend with a family history of breast cancer who is diagnosed with it and undergoing chemo/radiation.

The man’s trying to one up me in the terminal cancer category! ISYN. I chuckle inwardly and remind myself to tell Mom. I do and she shares that when she told husband #3 about my lung cancer diagnosis, he said, “Did you tell her I had bladder cancer?” All cancer sucks and I don’t want to diminish anyone’s nightmare journey with whichever cancer. Still, these reactions warrant the question: “So?”

And an urge to hand both of them one of Peggy’s cards, suggesting they make an appointment ASAP.

2 thoughts on “CLASSIC DAD MOMENT, OR WHY IS EVERYTHING A PISSING CONTEST WITH MEN, EVEN WITH WOMEN?

    1. You’re so sweet. Women mess up plenty too. I didn’t mean to make it sound so serious; I’m so used to my dad’s unique handling of bad or important news, it got funnier the longer I thought about it, esp. when my mom’s husband did the same thing.

Lack of communication is unhealthy.

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