She looked at her arm and noticed the spot. It was a small spot, but darker than it should have been. Worth getting checked out. But before she even bothered to get it checked out, she knew what it was. It was cancer.

As soon as she had the diagnosis confirmed, she rushed home to look herself in the mirror in her new state, a cancer patient. But the only mirror she had had slowly transformed into a funhouse mirror. Its glass was warped by the passage of time. It was shattered in places, the result of a long journey, now shedding thousands of tiny reflections where there should be one. It was partially angled by careful bending to try to squeeze it into its imprecise location on the too-small wall in the bathroom.

And when she held up her arm to the reflection, it looked like nothing but cancer. The ominous dark mark was not a spot, not a lesion, but a whole arm’s worth of calcifying damage. No matter how she turned her arm in the pale glow of the funhouse mirror’s radiation, it shone back the clear and damning evidence that cancer had overtaken her arm.

She reacted in fear. She refused to look at her arm directly, turning away from even the slightest sidelong glance that wasn’t sealed in the protective shield of the glass. Her arm was Medusa, requiring the subtlest of subterfuge to yield evaluation. And every time she dared steal a peek, always in the undulating twists of the funhouse bathroom hanging, it only confirmed the worst of her suspicions.

Her doctors recommended emergency surgery, an attempt to repair the small lesion actually occupying a little swath of her true arm. But she put it off, made excuses, worried and fretted at the idea of losing the entire arm, that maybe it was too late to salvage anything since the arm was such an integral part of her whole being. She determined that she needed to consider more, take more stock in the dim glow of the funhouse mirror, look forward to a day when maybe a different mirror was available.

All the while, the cancer spread. Slowly, surely, much more slowly than it would ever seem in the reflection she saw. But it spread all the same.