How I Got Cancer

Ok, I’m going to get into some really deep scientific stuff on how I got my rare cancer.

The truth is…

I have no stinkin’ clue.

Some cancers are genetic, inherited from our parents. You or someone you know may be in this situation. Perhaps breast cancer runs in your family and you’re on top of that and taking preventative action.

Other cancers are environmentally specific. Let’s say you’ve smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for twenty years. I can’t imagine you’d be too surprised if you get lung cancer. Maybe you lived near or worked at 3 Mile Island. OR you’ve enjoyed the sunshine a little too much without sun protection. It’s possible to develop skin cancer at some point. Make that dermatologist appointment!

Then other cancers are just plain old cells breaking down and rebuilding erroneously. And that was the case for me.

DNA mutations in soft tissue sarcoma are common. But they’re usually acquired during life rather than having been inherited before birth. Acquired mutations may result from exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals. In most sarcomas, they occur for no apparent reason.

During my first meeting with my sarcoma oncologist at Moffitt, I remember tearfully asking, “Why? Why did this happen?”

I think most newly diagnosed patients ask the same thing – especially us “younger folk.” We wonder what in the world we did to deserve this.

The doctor was adamant it was nothing I did (I asked a few times over the course of treatment). It was not a lifestyle thing. It wasn’t an environmental thing.

I do still wonder though. I keep wondering if there was one little moment in time that I could have somehow prevented. And that has both sucked and been a blessing. I’m way more aware of my health and what affects my functioning. But I’m also relaxed and appreciating every single moment I’m alive right now, knowing that it could change in a split second.

2 responses to “How I Got Cancer”

  1. I think I’m looking at how this cancer has , as you say, given me this absolute joy in every day I live , just a regular person doing nothing of note , just being alive. And how it’s enabled me to have a connection to the patients I’m so blessed to interact with , that I could absolutely not do any other way. The old “ it takes one to know one”. We have been given this opportunity, calling whatever and I see it as a gift. I see how you are using it in your life and I see that as a gift , a calling and you have grabbed that opportunity and run eagerly and energetically with it. I delight in reading your insight and entries and in seeing you in action.

    1. Last night, I was cooking and had a couple of timers going. Usually I’d be so focused on the food and checking on the chicken in the pan, but I reveled in a few moments of admiring and petting Toby. And last week when I fell out of a hammock – I just smiled and laughed. It really does change how you feel almost every time we take a God-given breath.

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: