I lost someone to cancer this week. Sucks. No other way to put it. Can’t understand it, don’t want to understand it, unable to process any understanding of it. It’s a terrible disease and I have lost far too many over the years to the abnormal cell growth that takes too many too soon.
It is inevitable when you lose someone to reflect on both your relationship with the now departed and to ponder your own mortality. I could not help my mind from tracking towards thoughts of what would happen if I was diagnosed with cancer.
First, how would I even tell everyone? And who is ‘everyone’ anyways? Would I get it put on the Jumobtron at a sporting event? Maybe I would let people know via a joke: “Knock, Knock”, “Who’s there?”, “Cancer”. Or maybe I would just get vanity license plates (CNCR GUY). Who knows, I am creative.
Evidently, there is no good cancer. It’s all bad. And it is scary to think that you might have cancer somewhere in your body at this very moment and not even be aware of its presence. You can get your colon checked, but you might have breast cancer. Get your testicles tickled by a medical professional but have undetected leukemia. Doctors can’t find everything the body has to hide and magazines that offer quiz questions such as “According to Paris Hilton, what type of cancer is ‘totally hot right now’?” won’t do you any good.
Worse still, the treatment for cancer is devastating to the body. I have researched enough and found out that Chuck Norris’ tears do indeed cure cancer. Too bad he’s never cried. So that leaves treatment, surgery or the all-dreaded chemotherapy. And who wouldn’t want chemotherapy? When you are not violently throwing up after treatment you are violently throwing up after treatment. Then there is the all the weight you end up losing due to your hair wanting jump off your body like crabs when submerged in a bathtub of tomato juice (“Hair of the dog?”, I asked my friend as I saw her looking rough one morning. The wig was a nice surprise after her chemotherapy).
Many people with cancer turn to religion. And why not? Jesus was an incredible guy that walked on water. I bet all those watching with incurable cancer were real impressed. And while my friend suffered with her cancer over Easter this year, 2015 years ago Jesus hid behind a rock trying not to laugh at those mourning him outside his tomb until he did his great Penn & Teller revival. Sorry, but you can keep your gods.
I love reading all the reports, news stories and articles about things that can cause cancer. “Eating bacon increases your risk to cancer by 19%”, “Excessive cell phone users are 24% more likely to get brain cancer”. All bullshit really. The one stat you can take to the bank is that living increases your chance of getting cancer by 100%.
In an effort to help raise funds for cancer there are telethons, marathons and collection plates that end up contributing hundreds of millions of dollars each year for cancer research. But no cure has been found. I’ve done my part. I can now publish my findings that conclude jerking-off, ice cream and Netflix do NOT cure cancer.
People even come to our door looking for donations for cancer research on occasion. Next time they knock, I will give them my pet rabbit. “Do all the research you want on him”, I’ll say. And I even once saw a Facebook group called “Kids vs. Cancer”. I’m betting on cancer every time. I hear of groups that to raise money to send kids with the disease to Florida but I have yet to find one fucking dolphin that can cure cancer.
Sometimes we try too hard to use humor to assist us in our individual coping with disease. My remark to my employee when her breast was removed that it would give her husband more room on his side of the bed was taken lightly and affectionately even if she went home to throw another pin in her Greg-voodoo doll. But laughing can only mask the pain and inevitability that cancer brings.
Yet, for all the doom and gloom that my ramblings have explored there are some good stories out there. I saw a woman last week with a “Cancer Survivor” t-shirt and although I do think that reality television has gone too far – good for her. People can and have survived the disease if caught early enough. That is why I regularly see my doctor for a prostate exam (why does he have to kiss the back of my neck and make it all awkward though?).
We have lost some stars to cancer over the years – Steve McQueen, Steve Jobs for example. But there are survivor stories to counter each death such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Maura Tierney.
As for this very moment, there is no true cure for cancer (although medication comes in a range of sizes including .22, .30, 5.56 and 7.62 caliber). It is a fight that will affect everyone in some way. We all know someone who has or had cancer and I give a resounding “Fuck you cancer!” response to the ailment.
R.I.P. my friend. R.I.P.