I have created it to share my cancer experience and to reach out to others who have been affected by the disease. Please feel free to post your reactions to the blog or to post thoughts and feelings about your own experiences with cancer.
Why Frogs? 1) Because my mother collected them in every form possible – silly toys, elegant jewelry, realistic ceramics, transcendent fine art; I loved my mother, Shirley Faye Luckman Ogus (1918-2006); 2) Because frogs are more fun and easier to draw than humans; 3) Because I had endometrial cancer and knew I would feel more comfortable depicting exterior frog anatomy and interior human anatomy. Finally, because I wanted to combine humor and candor while writing and illustrating a very serious topic, and felt that the frog would allow me to express very raw emotions without appearing to be whining about the challenges of cancer.
The Cancer Frog Blog
It started out as an innocent day, a day like any other day when I go about my business, get dressed, brush teeth, work, answer the phone.
“Hello, this is Nurse K, can you come in today, as soon as possible? The doctor will make time for you.” This willingness to accommodate is unusual for an HMO. “Does this mean I have cancer?”
“I don’t know.” Nurse K is noncommittal, diplomatic. There had been symptoms, coinciding with the normal symptoms of menopause – hot flashes, intermittent spotting of blood. One week the bleeding lasts longer – the last hurrah of my ovaries? Friends of mine had had the same symptoms, all benign . . . “I can be there in an hour.”
I do not remember paying the co-payment. I do not remember walking to the waiting area. I remember drowning in a vat of mud-thick dread. For an instant I come up for air, look at the other waiting patients and wonder how grave their ailments are. I consider how cavalierly I had come to doctor’s appointments in the past, cock-sure that my body would not fail me with its consistent good health.
“There is good news and there is bad news,” says the obygyn, leaning toward me as though about to convey some confidence.
“You have endometrial cancer. Of all the cancer’s you could have, this is the one to have because it is one of the easiest to cure and has a great survival rate. You will have to have a hysterectomy and they will take everything out – uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries. That should take care of it. Usually in cases like these, the hysterectomy gets rid of the cancer. ” I am struck dumb. There it is, no maybe’s, if’s, and’s or but’s. But, could they have made a mistake? Could it be someone else’s tissue? My body has never failed me before!!! Before I can ask, WHY ME??? she says, “I have ordered your consultation with the surgeon. You should be hearing from his office within the week.”
I walk around in a bubble of cancer. Is this how people will see me now? Is this how I see myself? Who am I? Am I encased in Susan Sontag’s metaphor of illness? People cannot speak or even write the word C_A_N_C_E_R. When they find out I have it, they send me emails: “I heard about your health issues.” Should I read Susan Sontag again? It was so painful the first time.
Cancer Frog Blog by Judith Ogus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at cancerfrogblog.randomarts.biz