Mom, Mom, wanna see something gross? I still remember that day. It was 1978, I was 15 and was adjusting the collar of my turtleneck, getting ready for another day in my sophomore year of school. Sure, I hated school and February in Maine is cold and icy, but finding a lump the size of the glass headers we used to play marbles with sitting just above my right collar bone was not my idea of an excuse to stay home. I didn't take it too seriously until I saw the look on my mother's face. I'd only seen that look of sheer terror and panic one other time,

 when we were kids on the ocean in our little motor boat and some bad weather rolled in. It began to pour, complete with thunder, lightning and building waves. We had been out in questionable weather before, but I knew it was bad when I saw that look on her face as she made us put on life preservers, which was a very rare event.  Little did I know that look would soon be justified.

My mom didn't waste any time in getting me in to see the doctor. He felt the lump and ordered some tests. I don't remember what tests exactly, but I'm pretty sure urine and blood were involved. He also scheduled a biopsy. Word to the wise, never have a biopsy under local anesthesia. I would learn this the hard way and then learn it again later when I forgot it from the first time. I was promised a local was enough and that it wouldn't hurt. Well, although I didn't feel much pain after the initial numbing, the agony of laying on the table with the bright lights shining down on me as they cut and tugged at the tumor, trying to remove it, is a sensation forever etched in my memory. It seemed to take forever and they wouldn't let my mother into the room. The nurse held my hand, but that was little consolation. I just wanted to sit up and slap someone for putting me through it.

I don't remember how long it was before my mom got a phone call from the doctor telling her the lab results came back positive for Hodgkin's lymphoma. That's right, phone call. You'd think that's something he would have wanted to tell us in person. *"Hi there. I'm just calling to tell you your 15 year old daughter has Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A rare form of cancer treatable with high doses of radiation and a cocktail of poisonous chemicals. She has a 50/50 chance of survival. So, anyway, have a great day!" (*sarcastic paraphrasing)

to be cont'd...... 

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