Thursday, August 28, 2008

The cancer Cup

I was sitting in an 8:30 AM meeting, the one we have every Tuesday. This is a meeting where it seems as if everyone has an "assigned" seat. I always sit in different spots, just to "shake" things loose. But I like to beat Michael to "his" spot. So I sat next to Sheri. No Michael. Next time. (I just broke the world record for "quote marks" around words in a paragraph.)

As I'm sitting next to Sheri, she pushes her coffee cup towards me and motions with her eyes to look at it. The Way I See It # 295. Can we laugh at cancer? That was all I got to read. Until Sheri got another # 295 coffee cup. Can we laugh at cancer? Is it funny to lose your breasts? Am I crazy to have humor when I lose my hair? Should I ignore the giggles while receiving chemo? What if I nudge someone and sneak a smile, even though I have no eyebrows? Is it inappropriate? Don't be offended, it beats waxing! ––Judy Wade, Starbucks customer and cancer survivor from Seattle, Washington. Judy, ya nailed. Thanks.

I thought I was crazy, laughing privately at some of the things I went through during my treatment. I woke up one day and my face was covered with pimples. More than I ever had as a teenager. Shit, 10 times worse. It was the Erbotux, the chemo. And it was a good sign that they were all over my face. Dr. Felice said it "shows it's working." So I had to laugh. Laugh at wanting to have zits. I laughed when I would be in the shower and look down––easy now––and see a blue tube sticking out of my stomach and dangling 10" down my body. Can I get cable with this thing?

I laughed when it took Nurses and Doctors and more Nurses and Doctors almost two months to find the right fitting for my feeding tube so I could EAT through it. It was comical. You gotta laugh 'cause you can't cry.

Hell yes, Judy, we can laugh at cancer. cancer isn't funny, but we can laugh at it. Ridicule it. Make fun of it. Because it makes you feel good.  Gives it a face. A persona. A target.

As I sit here, Barack Obama is on the biggest stage in the history of the United States. He just announced he accepts the nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Change. Yes, we can change things for the better. For our families. For our friends. For our family at work. We can change the course of cancer.

So the only time we see cancer, it's on a coffee cup.

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