Hero: Someone who saves lives, a comic book character or a sandwich. I am none of the above.

hero_sandwich_by_stanlydan-d39c77b

I am NOT and I repeat NOT a hero… Neither the sandwich kind with pickles and mayo nor the kind that that saves lives. I am not even the kind of hero that runs around in a costume doing great deeds while brooding about it (although I think I could rock a pair of tights and a sparkly mask). Ok not the tights so much these days. Damn you cancer cankles!!!! Damn you! My once really great legs were taken hostage by the evil Cancer Cankle! Oh Cancer Cankle…my arch nemesis!!! Wait! This is quickly getting sidetracked my vivid imagination. Let us get back on that proverbial track. Which of course I can never really find, even with a GPS. =)

Like any other fangirl/comic geek I love superman (and Optimus Prime but that is weird, slightly disturbing quirk to be discussed in another blog). But Superman is the epitome of a super hero. He is good and just. Smart and kind. Stubborn and loyal. Ahh so many great qualities. He sacrifices his life and his happiness for others. He is also in my humble opinion beautiful…in every incarnation he has been conceived in…comics, movies…Smallville. Ahhh. Sorry! Oh yes, back to my current topic. Superman is a hero. An imaginary hero.

But there are many, many real heroes in life and my life in particular. I happen to not be one. My husband is one of them; he saves my life every day. Literally. My family members are heroes even many of my friends are. BUT, I repeat, I am not a hero.

I am a cancer patient. That makes me unfortunate, not a hero.

I have stage IV pancreatic cancer. At age 37. That makes me double-damned-with-a cherry-on-top unfortunate. No heroics to see here folks.

Recently I met a man and for the sake of blogging anonymity we shall call him Joe Grey. He had pancreatic cancer but is one of the rare survivors. For some crazy, completely ridiculous reason he now thinks he is a superhero or better yet a celebrity.

He is neither. He is a twit.

This man walks around with a chip on his shoulder acting as if we all should be worshipping at the altar of his gigantic ego. I could think of a million other things to worship…including but not limited to: the regal elegance of a preying mantis…or a gently floating mote of dust. But HIM? Oh please! Just because you survived a potentially terminal illness makes you fortunate. Not famous. Scumpuppy!

I know another pancreatic survivor which we shall call Robert Braveguy. He is a hero…Why? Because he is a war veteran who fought for our country and his cancer probably stemmed from Agent Orange exposure. But if you ask him if he would do it all again knowing he would develop cancer, his answer is “YES. Of course he would.” See the difference? He is a hero. Not for having cancer or surviving it but because he risked his life for our country. His saved lives. And he would do it all over again no matter what the cost.

But you know who is really truly my hero? Other than my husband? And Optimus Prime (gosh I love Optimus)

MY DOCTOR!!!!

He is the guy who invented the chemotherapy regime I was on before and the chemo I am on now.

He is the guy who does not sleep at night because of this heavy weight of trying to find a cure to one of the most deadly cancers around.  He is the man who looks at me with sadness in his eyes every time I mention beating this cancer. Because as much as he wishes he could believe in my remission he has seen this cancer kill thousands before me and will continue to kill thousands more after me.

Of course I will beat it. I just need to prove it to him first. (Well I need to prove it to the tumors first because they are not yet aware of who is boss yet. They need to be reminded. ) I will make him proud and I will see that look of sadness leave his face whenever we speak of my future. And he will, in his glorious fuzzy slippers, dance a jig when I do.

But this Doctor, which we will call Dr. Oh so Amazing, is a real true, honest to God, hero. It is because of this man that I have lived past the 6 month mark. It is because of this man that I can still have a life of quality in which I can raise my kids, laugh with my husband and dream of pushing my employer out the window.

So maybe I won’t have that golden dream of living til my 90s with my husband by my side. It does not really matter, because the gift of every day is mine. BECAUSE OF MY HERO! My doctor. Who does not get the credit he deserves. He is the unsung hero who lives in the shadows. With him it is not just about the “cure” it is about the patient. It is about making the best kind of life for the patients who are struck down by this disease. He wants to provide an amazing quality of life for all his patients. In that he succeeds every day.

Not to be overlooked are the members of his staff. They are heroes too! They make what could be the worst and most painful process easy. Livable. Laughable. They answer my call no matter the day, time, hour or minute. They care…they also think I am a few nuggets short of a happy meal but that is ok, because I am missing some fries too.

His nurse, ummm we will call her “Sunny” she truly cares.  She gives a damn all the time not just when it is convenient for her.  Let’s be honest people in the medical field are not paid for caring. She is just as knowledgeable sometimes even more so, about my particular condition than the doctor. She keeps him in line and in check. Gosh I love them all so much. I wish I could take them into my pocket and take them home.

So Mr. Joe Greydouche is not a HERO. He is a fortunate cancer survivor who used his illness to achieve a sort of notoriety.

I am not a hero because I have cancer. Sure, a positive outlook is all kinds of great to have. When I do beat this thing 25 % of my survival will be because of my positivity and refusal to give up. (See and my husband thinks being stubborn is a flaw. Ha.) Sure it helps get me through this, but I would be nothing if not for all the real heroes in my life.

But mostly…mostly it will be because of a true hero….Dr. Oh so Amazing and his Calvary of compassionate completely cool clinical compatriots in chemotherapy.
How is that for a name for a superhero and his trusty sidekicks? Now all I need to do is convince him to wear tights.

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