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2016 is not going to be a good year.

I had an inkling that it wasn't when my stepdad told me, at five-thirty in the morning, that David Bowie had died. I did not take it well (then again, I don't take anything well before I have my coffee.) He was right up there as one of my favorite musicians, along with Garbage, Green Day, the Beatles, and Depeche Mode. And then it was solidified when Alan Rickman, my favorite actor and biggest personal and creative inspiration, died just three days later.

Cancer can go suck a ten-gallon barrel of chemo-filled dicks. It runs in my family, too: My great-grandmother died from pancreatic cancer (the same kind that Rickman died from) in 1993. My great-aunt died from breast cancer in 1996. My paternal grandfather died from lung cancer in 2005. My great-uncle died from leukemia in 2009. My grandfather was treated for prostate cancer in 2001, and when he died from a heart attack last August, he had an early stage of leukemia. My grandmother had skin cancer removed from her face in 2004. I hate cancer, I really fucking hate cancer, and I'm scared knowing that it runs in my family. My mother has been feeling tired and sick lately, and all I can think is, "Not my mom. NOT MY MOM." (She and I have a fractious relationship, to put it lightly, but she's still my mom, and I don't want to think of my mom having cancer.)

I also --and this is the first time I've told anyone except my mother-- had a cancer scare in 2011. I was being treated for HPV, and the day after one of my last six-month cervical exams, my gynecologist called and told me, "Those abnormal cells on your cervix haven't reduced at all in size. It's been eighteen months, so this is a little worrying. Come in next week so I can biopsy them, and we'll take it from there."

So there I was, sitting on my bed with my candybar phone next to me, thinking, "This is it. I'm twenty-two and I have cancer." I'm sure that getting that kind of news is terrifying at any age, but at 22, it seemed unspeakably unfair. I hadn't even lived yet, and now I was going to have fucking cancer?! Which would probably end up with part of my cervix removed, taking away my choice to have kids or not? I wasn't the best kid in the world (massive understatement), but I couldn't think of anything I'd done that was terrible enough to get this kind of karmic justice.

I was lucky: The biopsy came back non-cancerous, but goddamn, that was one stubborn case of HPV. Even my gyno couldn't believe how difficult it was to treat, as benign as it was. But I still harbor a fear that someday, in the future, I'll go in for my exam and two days later get a call saying, "You'd better come in; your Pap came back abnormal," only to find I wasn't out of the woods, not by a long shot. The virus that causes cervical cancer could still be in me, and what if it's in my DNA now, just waiting to fuck up some other part of my body? My uterus, my ovaries, my lungs or kidneys or pancreas? My blood cells?

Yeah, cancer scares me. Not as much as dementia (and I'd rather die from cancer, with my brain and personality intact, than from dementia, reduced to a barely-functioning drain on the people around me), but still badly.

On the other hand, I've never been the type to sit around and mope. Since Alan Rickman's death, I've registered for Purple Stride at IUPUI in June, and I'm going to use this weekend to find out about any "couch to 5k" programs I can start at the Y. I'm really out of shape (pretty much at the right weight, but I've got no stamina) and I've never been much of a runner, but I registered to do an untimed 5k, so we'll see how that goes. And who knows, maybe I'll make a runner out of me yet.



To end on a slightly funny note: Today's Question of the Day is "how do you feel about Donald Trump as President?" This may or may not be common knowledge, but I'm a raging liberal/socialist, so whenever I think of that racist motherfucker with his piss-colored toupee as the head of the so-called "free world", I have the following reactions:







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