Beware the Saber Tooth Tiger

I have brought a long list of questions to the consultation with the surgeon  “Will I have to have Chemo?” “Yes.” “Will I have to have radiation?” “Yes.” “Will all my hair fall out?” “Yes.” “What’s an omentum?” “It’s a layer of fat the covers your abdomen. It might have been useful back in the day when you might have been clawed by a saber tooth tiger. The omentum would move to the point of the puncture wound and seal it up.” Later I read that sometimes when people have an appendicitis, the omentum will wrap itself around the inflammation.

I am so shocked by the dire news, by all the organs I will lose, that I forget the list with more questions in my right hand, ready as a reference. I feel like I am falling off of a high cliff – into the chasm of my own fate and I can no longer speak. “Is there any thing else you want to tell me about yourself, anything else I should know about you?” I can’t imagine what else he needs or wants to know. I want to run away, to escape. I am no longer rational. “I guess I’ll be okay, unless I run into a saber tooth tiger.”

Saber Tooth Tiger

Everyone laughs, though we are mostly miserable.

“Fine then, your surgery is next Tuesday.” It is Thursday. I’m glad. I want it as soon as possible. Yet I hesitate. “What if I change my mind at the last minute?” “Then you will deprive someone else of that surgery slot, and you don’t want to do that.” As isolated and terrified as I feel, I must acknowledge the scope of the cancer community. There are so many of us who want to get rid of the disease. Any act of selfishness is unthinkable.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 42,160 new cases of cancer of the uterine corpus (body of the uterus) will be diagnosed in the US during 2009, but more than 95% of these will be endometrial cancers. An estimated 7,780 women in the US will die from cancer of the uterine corpus during 2009 (ACS Cancer Facts & Figures, 2009)

And of course there are so many kinds of cancer . . .

As we are leaving, my best friend says to the surgeon, “Take good care of her. We want to keep her around.”

“That’s my job,” he answers, smiling, reassuring. And suddenly I feel myself shift into a state of hope and trust. I decide he is my white knight. He will rescue me as long as I keep a cheerful attitude.

My friends suggest that I seek alternative therapies. One medical professional suggests that I envision what my cancer cells look like and what it will take to rid my body of them. Some people see them as something to conquer. Others see them as something to send on vacation. “Do what ever feels right to you,” she says.

I see them as miserable creatures with feet but no hands, colored crazily and frowning. They aren’t happy and together make an ominous foe. I imagine my white knight, a member of the Kaiser Clan, attacking them on a mighty steed, with airborne help.


Creative Commons License
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

2 thoughts on “Beware the Saber Tooth Tiger

Comments are closed.