Today at work joking with a friend, she said something like, "I can't wear my jacket (that I had Borrowed) now because it has cancer on it." A lot of the people i work with have senses of humor similar to (although not Quite as sick as) mine. I can see that we may have conversations on a regular basis that would upset or even horrify other people who don't know us. Erin makes fun of me because I had cancer and am still talking about it, I make fun of her because she is deaf (well she has a hearing loss in one ear, but whatever.) Also i am quite bad about making fun of another co-worker and friend who was so excited about her new grandchild. She was showing pictures to everyone and they were saying typical baby things, and I saaid, "Maria, that is kind of an ugly baby. You should try to pick up some overtime and start saving for plastic surgery. In reality, the three of us love each other and the baby is kind of cute. Maria is a former oncology nurse with a very sharp, sarcastic (in the good way) wit. She totally understands the concept of cancer jokes. And deaf jokes, too, I guess.
So Erin came up to me later and asked if it had bothered me that she calls me Cancer lady and makes jokes about it. Since i had just explained at length to everyone in the room that Erin was actually mentally retarded as well as deaf, it surprised me that she was wondering if SHE had offended ME. But someone else that I knew a little less well had said hey those cancer jokes might hurt her feelings. And though I was surprised, it does seem that a reasonable person could assume that someone would not enjoy being called cancerous, or retarded, etc. And somebody recently posted on my blog that she did not think cancer was funny, just that it sucked.
Of course, cancer is not funny. Of course, it sucks. I do not enjoy it. I would rather not have it, or rather not have had it if I don't have it anymore and am just being treated for it. But I can't ignore it. It does not ignore me. So I make fun of it. Because then i can take it less seriously and then I can deal with it. Turning cancer into a joke, and my experience with it into a funny (in a sick way) blog is one of my new COPING SKILLS! Yes, that it what it is. And you know what? It works. Pretty much, cancer is going to do whatever it's going to to do to me- or not do- regardless of whether I make jokes about it or I get offended by people making jokes about it. Sometimes, people treat me with kid gloves and really watch what they say around me. The other day, Laura wanted to get a haircut but before she mentioned it to me, she said "Will it bother you if I talk about hair?" How cute? Of course this is the same kid who, along with her sister, decided about three months ago that since there was no cancer left in my body after all the surgeries and chemo, I did not have cancer and was no longer allowed to be playing the cancer card. Well, with them at least. They don't have the power for me to not be able to use it with other people. But I use that cancer card less and less. I go to work and take care of patients, rather than being the patient someone else takes care of. New people I meet talk about my cool haircut- like in any scenario, I would have the balls to cut my hair to 1/2 inch all around- and the lst thing they would think of was that the "haircut" is really a hair-grow from a bald chemo head. I don't feel like i have cancer anymore. I feel happy, healthy, young active and really lucky to have what I have. Also I feel really really tired all of a sudden. It was a long day at work. Sometimes I am grateful that the "illness" I had was in my body not my mind. People understand that so much better. That will be a topic for later.