Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lessons Cancer has Taught Me

1.) It is super annoying to have cancer during that particular cancer's awareness month.  October is breast cancer awareness month, as most everyone knows.  All around me are pink ribbons and instructions on how I can help find a cure.  Yesterday, I received mailing labels from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and instructions on how I can prevent getting breast cancer.  All I could do was sigh at the irony or rather just unfortunate timing.  Pink, pink ribbons, boobies, tatas, feel your titties, you name it.  I am not saying do away with breast cancer awareness month or anything.  I just wish my particular cancer wasn't occurring in the month everyone is supposed to be aware about it.  Breast cancer is stalking me on the inside and outside.  I can't escape.

2.) People around me cannot control Sad Face or Oh Isn't She Brave Face (taken from my friend Jo, the Head Nurse).  I would not begin to speak for anyone else who has cancer, but Sad Face and OISB Face make me feel stabby stabby.  I understand that it's hard and awkward to converse with someone who has cancer, especially a cancer at an age considered to be very young.  When I'm on the receiving end of Sad Face or OISB Face, it makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable and then the stabby feelings take over.  

I don't know how to react when I receive Sad Face.  Do I say, "Thank you.  This is very difficult for me and my loved ones" and then we both have a good cry?  Do I ask, "Why do you look so sad?  Do you know something I don't?  Oh my God, am I dying?"?  So far, I have found telling the Sad Face giver that I want to stick my tongue out at them has been an appropriate response.  OISB Face is the worst.  When I receive OISB Face, I feel like I should be acting brave and valiant.  The only time I should be receiving OISB Face is when I'm about to mount a horse and go off to battle the Black Knight in a duel because then, I would be brave and valiant.     

3.) Joking about cancer is not considered funny.  Or maybe my delivery is just off?    

4.) I don't know shit about cancer.  Being diagnosed with breast cancer made me realize very quickly how little I knew about cancer.  Zilch, nada.  I had to get rid of distractions and start learning anything and everything I can about cancer.  

5.) This fight is mine alone but I'm not alone.  My support system is absolutely everything to me right now.  I'm scared a lot and more emotional than I have ever been in my entire life.  The fact that I know I can call so many people to talk things through or express my feelings to is amazing.   I'm currently looking for a support group I can join so being around other women with this can provide an additional level of comfort.

6.) Cancer eliminates the urge to be fake.  While I am not dying in the immediate future, I feel like life is too short to suffer assholes.  I won't be playing nice with people who treated me horribly beforehand, and I'm definitely not pretending to like someone I don't.  If you were a jerk before I had cancer, you are still a jerk.    

7.) Life goes on.  It really does.  Just because I have cancer, it does not mean that my life stopped and I'm now some invalid in a bed with a priest hovering over me.  My family's life didn't stop nor did my boyfriend's.  Everything is basically the same, except I have a disease that would like very well to kill me.  I get up.  I go to work.  My life is marching on.


  1. I got the same mailing from Komen yesterday. I'm sorry but I hate all those stupid pink ribbons and I also have issues with the undisguised commercialization that surrounds the Komen foundation. Maybe I'm just bitter because I found their website pretty useless when I was trying to find answers to "what should I do when my friend has cancer?" I think it's very weird that people would spend money to buy little pink ribbon breast cancer earrings or whatever.

    I will totally laugh at your cancer jokes. xo

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  3. I think your delivery is right on but then again, I have always appreciated your sense of humor. Feel free to continue to make me laugh about things I don't necessarily think are funny - that's really the best humor.

    I concur about the overabundance of pink during the month of October. Possibly the one highlight - the new Steelers caps with the wavy pink line. That hat + Mike Tomlin + aviator sunglasses = Makes pink looks bad-ass

    ps - love the change of your "about me" - case in point for said sense of humor. You rule.