Hey, I found out I had the cancer in 2016 too! You definitely got way more media coverage than me, though. And to be fair, yours was probably scarier, even though mine might generated slightly more despair at a quick look because of my youngish age. The doctor people never fully got to the bottom of my tumour, where it came from and how it developed and all that, but I’m pretty sure I know it all.

You see, about 6 years ago, I lived in a house with some friends, and we had parties and fun, as you should and would. A few months in, an older woman rented the basement suite under us, and we actually got along pretty well. She baked me cookies, I helped her with the garbage – you get the point.

During one of our more meaningful encounters, she divulged a little juice that piqued my interest – she was a practicing Wiccan, a modern witch, if you will. You will? Good. We discussed at length what it meant to be a member of this pagan movement these days, and it didn’t seem so bad, not at all, overall.

Eventually, Hallowe’en rolls around, and we have a party, full of people and costumes and music and other things you’d expect on such a night. This Wiccan neighbour, she comes upstairs as the clock ticks and tocks its way into All Hallows’ Eve. She asks us to be quiet, to shut the party down even. Now obviously this doesn’t happen, because of all the fun and things I mentioned before, and I’m not in the right state to negotiate with her or anything, so I leave it as best I could. I agree to disagree with how she felt, while she continued to disagree with how I felt. Unfortunate, maybe, but what are ya gonna do.

A few days later, I’m under the impression that the previous weekend’s mess has blown over, so I say hi to her one morning. She informs me that she has cancer, and also that her roommate moved out because of how noisy we were the other day, and now she has to pay all the rent herself, which is made all the harder because she had to quit her job because of being sick and all.

Okay, now I feel half bad about the party, but what’s past is past and I resolve to keep it relatively quiet from now on. Things once again appear fine and some might even say dandy, with only brief but friendly interactions happening among neighbours.

Towards the end of the summer, I’m packing up the car up one sunny day, preparing to drive across the country to move to Vancouver. As we’re getting ready to take off, she comes outside and hands me an envelope, without saying anything more than a “Here you go,” almost in tears, she is. My ego considers how great a neighbour I must be to evoke such emotion on my day of departure, and I thank her for the letter as she turns and goes back into her place.

I open the envelope and read the note inside. It is three scrawly pages long and essentially massacres my character, informing me that I ruined her diseased life over the last few months, citing evidence that was never relayed to me until this point. The rambling includes how my essence will inevitably lead to self-destruction and there’s nothing I can do about it. Yeah, I know.

I tell no one else about this note and immediately trash it. Fortunately, I successfully convince myself to immediately forget about the letter, not allowing it to ruin my cross-country road trip.

So fast forward to 2016 again, when, as stated, I find out I am with cancer.

The next year is worst kind, like you’d expect, and at one point the doctor tells me it’s likely that my tumour had been growing quite slowly within me, over, I don’t know, around about FIVE YEARS! This hits me like a bunch of bricks as my memory gets refreshed and conjures up remnants of that spirited send-off letter. At this point, there is no doubt in my mind or yours – I got flat out hexed and filled with malignancy by a downstairs, party-hating, cancer-having witch, which is too much not to have a chuckle at, really.

November 7 – Chris Mortensen gets a tumour’s origin story
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