Parts of this blog have been excerpted from a book that I'm writing called Cancer, With a Twist and a one-act play by the same name).
Being a young adult cancer survivor you're faced with many unique situations and questions. I chose to see the silver lining while going through treatment. I tried to find the humor, even if it was dark, wherever I could while going through one of the worst times of my life. I think that getting through life, and especially scary diseases, requires a sense of humor.
Now obviously there's nothing funny about cancer or its various treatments. But I felt that my options were either laugh at most of it or just crawl under my covers into the fetal position and stay there. Assuming the fetal position was certainly appealing some days, but thankfully humor won out most of the time.
One of the things that I found humor in were the redundant questions that you have to answer while going through treatment. As a female still in my childbearing years one of my all time favorite questions during testing was and still is, "Is there any possibility that you might be pregnant?" Here's what I would have liked to have answered: Well let's see, I have an IUD for birth control and cancer, so unless God has a really sick sense of humor, no I'm not pregnant. But you put the word possibility in there. So let me think about this, is there any possibility that I might be pregnant? Well hell anything's possible! Now you have me wanting to run home and take a pregnancy test! Do I think I'm pregnant? No, but I didn't think I was going to have cancer either. We've cloned a sheep for God's sake -- anything is possible! And maybe just maybe God does have a sick sense of humor. I can see God up in Heaven saying, "Ooh I'm going to give her cancer and just for a real kick in the ass, let's knock her up too! Damn it if the stress of that situation doesn't kill her before the cancer does, now that is a knee slapper! Hey Moses want to take bets on what's going to kill her first, 100 bucks says it's the stress."
Another one of my favorite questions isn't unique to the young adult community but it's one of the best: "Did the doctor order this test?" That one's a real gem. Now let me say that I understand that the person asking the question is just doing their job. I know they didn't make up these questions and it's not their fault that they have to ask them. I also understand that they need prior approval from the insurance companies who rake us over the coals and raise our premiums and don't want to cover us for preexisting conditions, but I digress. Let me consider this question in regard to a PET/CT scan. This is a full body scan that helps them detect where the cancer is in your body and is part of the process of staging the cancer. Well here's what I would have liked to have answered to that one: No, the doctor didn't order this test. I just wanted to waste two and a half hours of my day, spend the prior twenty four hours on the lovely low carb, high protein diet with no sugar allowed whatsoever because I have nothing better to do with my time. And I love drinking the barium "smoothies" and being injected with radioactive dye because I'm hoping to develop some other type of cancer years from now from all of the radiation exposure. I live close to a power plant but I don't think I'm getting my daily intake of radiation exposure. While I'm at it I didn't get prior authorization from my insurance company because I want to shell out at least four thousand dollars out of pocket for this test because I'm not in enough credit card debt and was hoping to claim bankruptcy before the end of the year. Really? Are you kidding? But here's what I really said: Yes the doctor ordered this test (big sigh).
So just remember, if you're having a bad day and feel like crawling under the covers and assuming that fetal position, go ahead, you're allowed to have those moments. To deny those feelings isn't healthy. Just don't let yourself stay in that space for too long. Make sure you surround yourself with people who will allow you that space but who will also pull those covers off of you, take you by the hand and help you find that silver lining again.