A local reoccurrence they call it. Same cancer. Same spot. I knew 4 years ago, even after the first doctor and the first surgery, there was a chance. A 30-50% chance, actually. Ocular Melanoma of the Conjunctiva is a rare cancer. It’s a shitty cancer. But it’s a pretty visible cancer. And it’s back.
A few weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and I saw a bit of a haze. Not just from lack of sleep. A different sort of haze in a familiar spot. The surgery didn’t get it. The chemo only knocked it down. The moment I got pregnant my body flooded itself with hormones to bring me my baby boy, and the cancer grew faster. The smudge in the mirror. The little bit of brown that’s only just out of place. It’s back.
Some people will question why I tried for another baby when I knew the risks. I can only tell you that if the cells were there, and they were, they would grow no matter what. Slower, most likely, but the monster was still under the bed. It was always coming back.
I’ll have surgery in November. I’ll start topical chemotherapy after that. My son will be 12 weeks old. My daughter will have just turned 5. And my cancer is back.
I cried in the parking lot. And little more on the way home. Because it’s cancer. Because it’s scary. Because I’ve got a lot to lose.
But for all cancer takes from us, it gives perspective.
This terrible little spot in my eye may be back–but I’ve done this before.
This monster may be back–but I know what I’m up against this time.
This cancer may be back–but I’m still here.
I. Am. Still. Here.
Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, teacher, mother, wife, blogger, and the owner of the eponymous Liza Dora Books. Her writing has been in publications around the world and her books have been featured in both media and print. She’s sold books in over ten different countries and her titles have been both Amazon Hot New Releases and Amazon Bestsellers in their respective categories.