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Walking in a Ziploc bag

Walking In A Ziploc Bag

Today  is the first day out of the house  since I found out cancer had been living on my leg.  The cancer had been there for months, uninvited, slowly growing and spreading on the back of my left calf, hidden in a brown mole.

Today, I feel like a person walking in a life size ziploc bag.  A  specimen stuck in a plastic bag,  with a  typewritten piece of paper in front of my face, that reads.  SHE HAS SKIN CANCER.

Today reminded me of the first time I went out two days after my first child was born in 1995. I had driven alone to the video store. I felt like I was apart from all the people, like I was in a  ziploc bag. The note in my ziplock bag said, SHE JUST HAD A BABY. I felt separate from the rest of the people in the store.  I wanted to walk up to everyone in the store then, and tell each of them, ” I just had a baby. Did you know, I just had a baby. Having a baby is wonderful.  Do you have children?  You should have children. I just had a daughter, and I am her mother.”

I didn’t say anything to anyone. I handed the cashier  money and walked out with my video.

Today I wanted to walk up to everyone  and say to them, ” I have skin cancer. Did you know I have skin cancer?   I just had a mole cut off and it was malignant melanoma.  Do you check your skin?  Did you know skin cancer is deadly.” My brain was filled with the word, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer. Like a tape player that was playing two tracks at the same time.

I didn’t say anything about my skin.  I politely talked about the weather, and asked, “How was your trip to Florida”, as the cancer medley sound track looped in my mind.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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  • Paul

    The ziploc bag and the looped soundtrack of the mind — vivid images that will stick in my mind. I’m inspired by your honesty and rawness and bravery. Thank you for writing this.

  • I completely understand about those unheard loops in your head. They have been there many times. At times I have wanted to scream, do you realize my son just died? There were times I wanted to scream, Do you realize what it is like to hold down my son during a laser treatment? Oh the loops that have gone on in my head while I politely smile and carry on “normal” conversations.