This has been bugging me more and more since it happened, to the point where now I feel like documenting it (since it seems all I ever do in this lj anymore is complain XD)
My dad gets these cysts on his skin that have to be surgically removed; it’s been going on for a few years now. In the last couple of days, there’s been this paper sitting on the kitchen counter with pre- and post-op instructions. I glanced at it when it first appeared, saw some of that, assumed it was related to one of these cysts, and didn’t read the rest. Last night my brother looked at it, and he must have read it more thoroughly than I did, since he said to my mom, “So who has skin cancer?”
She replied, “Your dad.” And then more quietly, “Did you not know that?” And the tone she used sounded so condescendingly disappointed, she might as well have been saying, “You horrible child, how could you possibly not know that your father has cancer?”
I was so irritated by the way she said it that I immediately jumped in with, “I didn’t know either; I knew about the cysts, but not that it was cancer.” To which my mother did not reply.
How the fuck were we supposed to know he had cancer when nobody told us? It’s not like I start conversations, “Hi, dad, how are you? Hey, you don’t happen to have cancer, do you?” I mean, maybe, given the presence of the cysts, we should have started a conversation that way at some point, or just made an assumption, but, seriously, who does that?
It wasn’t a surprise to learn that it’s skin cancer; as I said, I’ve known about the cysts for years. And honestly it’s not terribly out of character for my dad never to have mentioned that there’s been a diagnosis; he’s a suffer-in-silence type of guy. What does bother me is my mom’s passive-aggressive bullshit (which is also not out of character, unfortunately). Because it might have been a surprise, and I don’t think the best way to tell your children that their father has any cancer is with a sneering, “Did you not know that?”
And I know that she may have been reacting more sharply than she otherwise would have because she’s concerned for him; obviously it sucks when your husband has cancer, and some unpleasant behaviors born of tenseness and unhappiness are to be expected. But when she’s like this about everything, it lessens my sympathy perhaps more than it should.
So, yeah. My dad has skin cancer. And given that his dad has prostate cancer, there’s a pretty good chance I’ve inherited some manner of horrible thing from him that will manifest eventually. Honestly I’m more worried about what I’ve probably inherited from my mom.