Ok, i am middle aged and have never done a blog before but since i love to blab on and on, this should be right up my alley. When i got diagnosed with breast cancer, I started writing little articles with the idea that i would ultimately publish a book and turn the whole breast cancer experience into a positive one. Oh, and if I published a book, someone else would check the spelling and punctuation which i sort of suck at and apologise for in the blog.
I like it when people come up and tell me how brave i am for going through this. Frankly, I enjoy any and all compliments I get. Even insincere ones. Especially insincere ones. And I have met tons of people with cancer who are incredibly brave. But really, do we have a choice? If when I got diagnosed they said, "Well you can be brave and have a hard time, or there is a way to be chicken-shit about cancer and it will be easier..." I totally would have chosen the chicken-shit route. But there is no such option. And, no i am not particularly brave. I make jokes because that is how I deal with bad stuff. My heritage, i guess. Go to an Irish wake and it sounds like open mike night at the Comedy Connection. But i spend my fair share of time feeling sorry for myself- not so much about having cancer, which is a pretty curable thing at my stage, but about the practical aspects of it. The treatments that are a huge inconvenience and pain in the ass, the tiny amount of money i get paid when I am using my sick time. Really, there is nothing worse than having a lot of time off from work but really no money to speak of so that you can enjoy it. Even if i did have money, these oncologists are pretty hard ass when you mention that perhaps you might want to take a little trip. An airplane? On chemo? If they only knew I had been planning to tke the airplane to some third world country probably rampant with diseases that i am sure i would not get because, come on, i already have fucking cancer! Can you say fuck on a blog? (I think I mentioned i am old.)
So i have been trying to focus on the positive aspects. And there are some. Not enough that I recommend going out and trying to get cancer, because is is still better to not have it, than to have it with the perks. Double meaning there, they do you give you percs, the pills but i meant perks, the added bonuses. Breast cancer is very politically correct. Go grocery shopping (well if you have to, having cancer, i try to make other people do this for me, as I hate grocery shopping, and it is not good for my particular disease. Shoe shopping, on the other hand, is very good. But i digress.) and look at all the products with a little pink ribbon on them saying they support breast cancer. Toilet paper, frozen vegetables, cat food- my daughter said she saw a breast cancer beer but i couldn't fink it but if i did i would drink it all the time. If my oncologist said i could drink beer. Well, if i remembered to ask her. So there are walks and fund raisers, etc. which i think must mean i have a better illness than other people. You think there's an official potato chip for migraine headaches? I think not.
My best benefit of cancer will be that when all this is over, i will have big boobs. Well for me. i was always a bit on the under-endowed side, except when breast-feeding my kids, which was supposed to make you less at risk for breast cancer but go figure. Having to have a large amount of breast tissue removed, I get to have plastic surgery to make them bigger. many times in my life i had considered getting a boob job but insurance doesn't pay, and i always had to spend my money on other things like mortgages, food, kids and of course shoes. But get breast cancer, get a free boob job. just like that.
And there is free make-up and beauty tips for people going through treatment. Wigs covered by your insurance. I have had blonde, red and pink hair (My lady gaga look. Wore it to work on the weekend when there were no bosses. My psych patients loved it.) Plus there is the bald look which i reserve for doing things like going to the DMV to renew my registration- get right to the front of the line, you poor cancer-ridden person.
Cancer- also a good excuse to not do things you don't want to do anyway. Nobody will question you if you can't come to a boring cocktail party if you have cancer. Of course, i have noticed my friends using this, too. Cancer by osmosis, i guess. They are cancelling out of boring things because I have cancer. And my friend Cindy is not above working the cancer thing into a conversation with waiters and getting free appetizers. Another friend tried to use it to get me a free sticker for the dump. (Beverly, i have cancer. That does not mean i cannot afford $30.00 to dump my leaves and Christmas tree- in march)
I am a psych nurse. i know about denial. Until now, i didn't realize that it could be a good thing. I am sure that there will be times when I actually remember I have cancer and my life has changed forever. Luckily, the chemo i am on really enhances my baseline attention deficit disorder- oh look a pony!