I’m Tired of Being “One out of X”

My sister, who I haven’t seen for about six years, is visiting this summer with her kids from overseas. They live in the Middle East and her oldest daughter is in her tweens. My sister asked that I order a swimsuit that they picked out on-line that consisted of a rash guard and board shorts. Conservative, but not nearly as conservative as the one she packed with her.

I ordered the suit and then in a bone-head move that could only be contributed to being the daughter of a woman who is slipping swiftly and surely into senility, I’ve lost the shopping bag with the suit in it.


I offered to take her shopping so we could find something else, but I was reminded it had to go to “here and here!” or else she’d have to wear the traditional swimsuit. My niece was rolling her eyes and giving me the neck-slashing signal behind her mother’s back, a “no way in hell am I wearing that!” move. I told her that she won’t feel too out-of-place. My swimsuit also went to “here and here!” on me, “because I can no longer be in the sun,” and Sparring Partner, hitch-hiking on the conversation corrected, “no, you don’t want to be in the sun.”

With guests in the house, I could only change the subject. But now I’m rerunning what he said in my mind and getting angry. Does he not realize I had skin cancer? Does he not realize that I will probably get it again, only sooner with sun exposure?? Does he not realize that after 40 years of exposing myself to the sun’s rays, I have to hope that I can spend the next 40 avoiding them?!

For the past several years, I’ve been dealing with shit statistics: “Infertility affects 1 in 6 couples,” and now I have this to contend with, “Malignant Melanoma kills 1 in 7 diagnosed with the cancer.” It was hard enough explaining to him how I felt being part of the first group. Am I going to be beating my head against a brick wall on the second one?

11 thoughts on “I’m Tired of Being “One out of X””

  1. You changed the subject? You are much, much nicer than I am, because I would have given him a big old malignant melanoma re-education session. At the top of my lungs. I’m so classy.

    My husband laughed when I told him that he should really stop trying to enrage me, since, at this point in my life, it could lead to a heart attack or stroke. I wasn’t kidding. He harps on my diet and weight gain, and sitting on my ass, but doesn’t extrapolate to the naturally following consequences.

  2. Sorry he’s being a douche… we all love you and are totally listening when you talk and hearing your every word and not at all sticking our heads in the …. oh wait… what is that? Something shiney…. Kidding… really….

    {{Hugs}} to you!! Hope you were able to find a good swim suit for your neice.

  3. UGH! Awful! You CAN’T be in the sun. I am sure you want to. I do hate that you have to deal with these kinds of statistics and scary stuff. You deserve sympathy not ignorance.

  4. I’m with Katrina on this – they don’t want to know stuff sometimes. My husband has a hard time “remembering” that I struggle with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I swear if I hear ‘snap out of it’ one more time… I hope you guys found a suitable outfit for her to swim in!

  5. I would agree that there is some form of avoidance going on, as the other posters have said. Maybe, and this is a total guess here, because it didn’t happen to him directly it hasn’t sunk in. You would think that after so many years of being married it would become second nature: what happens to one happens to both, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
    Hope your visit with your sister/family is fun!

  6. I don’t think he does see it that way, probably because he doesn’t want to. He knows full well that you had malignant melanoma but doesn’t want to admit that it could happen again—after all, the stats are scary and who wants to think about something so scary happening to the person they love? My FIL has had several very small melanomas removed, as well as had prostate cancer (also removed surgically), and yet when I mention to J that I worry about his dad’s health, he brushes it off like nothing has ever happened.

    I think you and I are similar—we’d rather be proactive about things (avoiding sun, body scans, etc.) but our men are prone to stick their heads in the sand, their fingers in their ears, and say “La la la” rather than face up to something like that.

  7. I honestly think men just don’t want to know stuff. Its much happier and safer place for them with their heads buried in the sand and leaving the rest to us. If they had to bear the weight of the worry, the fears, the testing, the procedures, the risks, and the consequences for either infertility or cancer, I think they would explode. I don’t speak man or I would help you phrase so he could understand the gravity of it.

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