Doc, You’re a Downer. Let Me Revel in My 5-Year Mark

Doc, You’re a Downer. Let Me Revel in My 5-Year Mark
I met a guy at a party. At first, he was quite the charmer, one of those middle-aged guys who was the most popular guy in high school. Standing within his orbit, I felt like I’d been invited to join the cool kids' cafeteria table and everyone there thought I was funny and cute. Mr. Charm refilled my wine glass while kids ran around like wild animals and the sun painted our local mountain range a rosy shade of purple. My husband joined our conversation just in time to hear Mr. Charm say that he’s actually Dr. Charm, an oncologist. “My wife’s in treatment for triple-negative breast cancer,” Gary says. Whenever my husband has an opportunity to talk with an oncologist, he jumps on it, and even though it can be embarrassing, the information he gleans often comes in handy. I reminded myself that my cancer story is actually our cancer story and tried to stop cringing while Gary yammered on and on about my many brushes with death. Generally, I don’t like talking about cancer, which I know is odd since I write about it regularly and strangers email me questions all the time. But at a party — or anywhere else, really — I don’t want to be “cancer lady.” I just want to be myself. “I’m nearly done with treatment,” I say, trying to wrap up this topic and move on. Maybe someone has a cockroach problem or an obnoxious teenager we could talk about. “I’m going to hit my five-year ma
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