d_man_without_a_face by huanghengdong


									                    MAN WITHOUT A FACE

I stayed up for most the night, performing this ritual of

going down to my laptop, typing what was on my mind, going

back up stairs to try and get some sleep, and then going

back down again, imagining what I want my writing achieve

other than a brief moment of sanity and rearrangement of my

current mental status….if that is possible. Stewing over

some criticism my husband shared about my writing and

frustrated by the fact he was kind of right, I drew a

complete blank about what else to type.   So there I sat, in

a daze, flipping through the memories in my mind, angered

about so many of the injustices that have occurred and

bursting into an uncontrollable laughter with remembrances

of some really great times.

But there in an instant, my mind flashed me to Good Morning

America where I was being interviewed about a book called

“The Best Cancer”, I was the author, it got such great

reviews, a New York Times best seller and better yet it

gave exposure to Thyroid Cancer.

As I stayed in that moment and wondered deeper into this

fantasy, I wondered if the producers knew about my stage
fright. I also was interested to know what my facial

profile looked like on TV and if the timing would be so

perfect that, “Ed”, my monthly chin zit, would be

accompanying me, or better yet if “Ed” decided to bring the

whole family.   Most of all, I wondered if the man without a

face was going to be there.   Because he was the one that

deserved the recognition, he is the one that inspired this

dream and I attribute my being alive today to everything

that he has done and helped me get through.

It was after my second…..well technically…..third surgery

that he arrived.   Confidently walking into my hospital

room, tall and slender with a dark suit, glasses of a sort

of octagonal shape and sandy blonde hair…. he was dressed

to the 9’s. With profound detail and a heavy Scottish

accent, he came to my side and explained what in the hell

happened to my neck the day before.   I tried hard to focus

my swollen eyes to get a glimpse through his, as by this

time my trust in the “MD” behind any name didn’t mean shit.

Whether or not gazing into the eyes is a reliable way to

find out how legitimate someone is, I am not certain.

However it seems to work for me and is, without fail,

supported only moments later by some act of unadulterated
ignorance or intellectual insight.    However, very rarely

the eye examination isn’t necessary, the presence alone

defines them.   The latter is what explained him.

So, back to my story…… he walks into my room with his deep

accent, introducing himself with the last name McIver.    It

was a name I would never forget simply because it was

pronounced like MacGyver, oh’ how I loved that show. He

started speaking in detail about the cancer that was taken

out, the cancer that was still left and the reason why I

looked like a war zone.    Through his words I tried so hard

to study his face, how his ear lobes were structured, which

way he parted his hair, if he had pointed eye teeth and the

color of his eyes. For those are the first things I study

about most everyone.   But, when the conversation ended just

words and a silhouette remained engrained in my mind.

It is so unlike me.    I am such a visual person, never

forgetting a face and always forgetting a name.     But its,

even more bizarre that this sort of fuzzy black out, if you

will, occurred for several visits over the course of at

least two years.
Time and time again, I would travel to his clinic, going

through the battery of tests he had waiting for me when I

arrived and lastly meeting with him to go over the results.

Time and time again, I could give exact details about the

new computer monitor, the upgraded prescription printer,

the corked tile that is lifting underneath the bench, the

newest scratch on his “clean linen” tag and the tiniest

piece of fuzz that remained in the corner from the previous

visit. But, for the life of me, I could never come back

home remembering the details of his face.

I don’t know if my mind was in such awe, for him being so

intelligent and forth right about my disease, that I became

entranced by his accented words and ability to communicate

with transparency. Maybe I didn’t care for whatever emerged

through his lips didn’t need eyes or a face to back it up.

Or maybe……. it’s another mental disorder I should place on

my “probably have” list.

    Family Physician #1:

    Description: male, has a face, has a name and he

                 should never of received his license to

                  practice anything medically related.
When I came to you feeling a tiny lump in my neck you

said “it is a goiter.” You looked at me like I was

crazy for even being in your office to begin with. I

thought goiters were nutritional issues, I even

questioned you on that. One thing you did was a blood

test which turned out okay. But, did you know that

people, in the United States “specifically my age”

with lumps on their neck, and normal blood draws

generally don’t have goiters? It’s usually cancer

“dumb ass!” It’s usually treatable right now. You

could of done the right thing, referred me on, given

me an ultrasound or something more than what you did

by just sending me home. You could of changed the

course of my history right then and there in your

office. You, you could have been “it”, but decided to

make the executive decision of a goiter.

I often wonder if you knew what happened to me just

several months later, you were my family physician,

surely they sent you the surgical notes, I wonder if

you ever regretted it.
ENT Surgeon #1:

Description: male, has a face, has a name and

            neither of them are worth mentioning.

You called yourself a health professional. Your ego

was the only thing satiating you! Coming at me with a

banded mirrored contraption haloing your albino

colored hair, a needle in one hand and grabbing my

tumor with your other, “90% chance its cancer” is what

you said. My throat immediately closed up, tears welt

in my eyes, I couldn’t catch my breath…..you took that

as your opportunity to jab your needle deeper into my

esophagus. I could feel the cells sucking up into your

syringe. Did you know that most people do ultrasound

guided biopsies these days?   Yes, AND they even numb

up the area so it doesn’t hurt so damn bad. I guess

that kind of technology doesn’t exist in Missouri.

Heaving a sigh directly at me and throwing your hands

into the air while saying that I needed to “pull it

together” you did one good thing by handing me a

tissue and coldly walking away.
At that moment, my heart told me to run and never

return, my mind told me to trust the symbols behind

your name. It took over two weeks for the swelling to

go down. However, the memory of your forceful grabbing

of my tumor and biopsy methods you used will never


Every moment you spent with me, talking about the

upcoming surgery you kept bringing up Club Med. Making

sure I could “walk the beach with a bikini and little

to no scar.”

I kept telling you I didn’t care about my scar, let

alone Club Med. I told you I was a single mother with

a baby girl to raise. I told you I wanted it gone and

the job done right. You were only concerned with Club


I daily feel the pain from that surgery almost a

decade ago.    You were in way over your head, yet your

ego didn’t allow you to back down.   Instead you took

on a 10 hour surgery all by yourself. Someone should

of given you a sticker for a job well done…or was it?
White as your wiry hair you arrived in the recovery

room when I told the nurse I couldn’t move my arm. I

told you it was all forgivable as long as the cancer

was gone. You kept assuring me you removed all of the

thyroid and the lymph tissue that was suspicious. You

knew what you left behind, reason or not, you couldn’t

even tell me the truth.

Ignorant people: Too many to count too many to

                   describe many of them family, many of

                   them friends

So this is what you are talking about….”the best

cancer” huh? I suppose in a way I can see where you

are coming from.   After a decade of having it, it

hasn’t killed me yet.     Or has it?

Funny how when you asked me what happened to my neck

and I told you, you said that your “cousin had

that”…”it’s the “best cancer”, then immediately

started in about your fake nails. I smiled and went

along with it. But, do you know what I was really
thinking? It was acknowledgement that you were another

one of them.

Sad how when I called you, audibly sobbing about

having to go in for another surgery, completely

shocked by their findings, you had to call me

back……you know, “business”, and when you did…..the

most comforting words came from your lips “honey, life

is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

I, gathered myself, smiled and went along with it.

But, do you know what I was really thinking? It was

acknowledgement that you were another one of them.

Interesting on how you called me about the

“painstaking” research you did, coming to the

conclusion that it was “the best cancer” so you didn’t

need to make the hour long drive to be there for me.

Overwhelming disappointment stumbled across my chest

my heart ached in grief. But, I managed to push it

aside, smile and go along with it.   But, do you know

what I was really thinking? It was acknowledgement

that you were another one of them.
Coming into your office with my arm completely

paralyzed and a fresh scar on my neck, out of the

blue, you decided that now would be the “best” time to

tell me that my daughter has a syndrome but can’t put

your finger on it.   Like one big blow wasn’t enough to

a single mother and something like that couldn’t of

waited for a week or two. I mean, we waited 18 months

before this grand statement occurred! But, I guess

that is what happens when you have the “best cancer”

you aren’t privy to such accommodations. So I smiled

and pushed it aside then went along with it.   But, do

you know what I was really thinking? It was

acknowledgement that you were another one of them.

Shocking it was for you to tell me that I didn’t

qualify.   A person who actually contributes to this

society who is asking for nothing other than some help

with insurance as I went through this.   I made too

much money you said. My comment about quitting my job

and bilking the government for every piece of aid that

I could get seemed to be an acceptable option for your

ultimate approval. I rolled my eyes and scoffed at the

thought.   But, do you know what I was really thinking?
It was acknowledgement that you were another one of


Devastating on how this “best cancer” led me back to

you. Your abuse, your manipulation, your gambling

problem and your psychotic mind games, getting away

from you the first time was hard enough.   Your

stalking, intimidating and threats of killing yourself

if I ever left was horrible enough.   How very

depressing it was for me to realize that this “best

cancer” gave me no other choice but to go back to you

so our daughter had a roof over her head, some food to

eat and gave me an opportunity to heal and afford


After trying to make the best of our relationship for

another two years I knew if the cancer didn’t kill me

that you eventually would.   From leaving a hanging

noose in the garage for me to see every time we

exchanged visitations to taking two full bottles of

antidepressants and xanax, you were determined to keep

your control on me. As you unconsciously called me on

your way out of this world, I knew what you had done.
    I toggled with the idea of just hanging up and going

    to bed.   Your life at that very moment was in my

    hands.    There are days I wish I hadn’t saved your

    life. I knew you weren’t going to change. I knew you

    would continue spewing your hell at me.   Even so, I

    pushed it aside and went along with it.   But, do you

    know what I was really thinking when you did this? It

    was acknowledgement that you were another one of them.

    Many days, I come across you, your different faces,

    your different names but one thing remains. Your

    twisted opinion on how this is “the best cancer”.

    Never giving a second thought to all that it has taken

    from me or made me put up with, never acknowledging

    that my pain runs deeper than your research, deeper

    than your “suck it up” approach, deeper than your

    psychotic manipulations, deeper than your needles and

    deeper than your manicured nails.

I kept praying that someday there would be someone who

would “get it”, someone who would understand what having

the “best cancer” feels like, what it does to your thoughts

and how it influences your life’s path.   I desperately
yearned for someone who realized that I didn’t need

sympathy.   One person who felt that ignorance was not an


Grocery stores, business meetings, neighbors, friends,

family, conferences, hospitals, doctors, vacations it

didn’t matter.    Time and time again I came across them

studying their eyes, their hair part, their ear lobe

structure and pointed eye teeth.   Taking a deep gaze into

their legitimacy, categorizing their intelligence, time and

time again they would be placed on “another one of them”


Methodically searching, emotionally stuck, feelings of

insanity, moments of rage, fearful of speaking my truth,

pacing my soul searching for peace, gritting down upon my

teeth, forcing smiles out of my face, my mind frequented

thoughts of settling, my heart completely enraged by the

idea of it all.

Then, the day came when my prayer was answered.    He walked

into my hospital room dressed to the 9’s, octagonal glasses

and a deep accent. I couldn’t see his eyes, I couldn’t
study his features, his spirit corroborated that his words

were genuine.

My whole body came to a screeching halt from the desperate

search of someone who “gets it” my heart smiled and entire

body exhaled. I laid my head back, took in the moment,

listened to his words and embraced his much anticipated


No wonder why I couldn’t remember his face. He is not

another one of them.

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