Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The upside to Cancer

Warning: the following post could be interpreted as quite macabre. It's really intended to be funny. When your kid has cancer, things that really didn't used to be funny are funny. So try not to groan to much. This is lighthearted.

Free diapers and wipes. Every time we get admitted to the hospital we come home with loads of diapers. The hospital is not allowed to keep any that have been opened, so we haven't bought any in three months.

Insurance co-pays suddenly look like a bargain. $40 for a course of Zithromax: have to admit I have grumbled before. $20 co-pay for a $11,000 hospital bill: fabulous!

Save money on son's haircuts!

Effortless weight loss program. Turns out that I can't eat when I'm emotionally distraught, dropped 10# in the first month.

Easy out for any social obligation that you really don't want to go to. "My son is going to be on chemotherapy that week" pretty much gets you out of anything.

But of course, the best silver lining is learning to appreciate everything you've got. Every day.

C'mon, people, laugh with me. It's laugh or cry. Let's laugh!


Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Unlimited access to anything caloric that you find appealing/can keep down. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are small, salty, calorie-rich and loaded with medium-chain triglycerides, an important energy source. Who cares if it's breakfast time?

Avoiding birthday parties for kids you don't really like but feel an obligation to the parents - "I'm sorry, I just can't risk it - all those little germ carriers". Works for recitals, school pageants and virtually anything else with a bunch of tiny disease vectors.

If you're getting radiation, it's a good excuse to load up on luxurious skin potions and elixirs. "It's to protect my skin". Never let 'em know that the radiated skin is only around the tumor - they don't need to know that your face is unaffected by leg radiation, and you deserve that pot of Creme de la Mer for what you're going through. Also a good excuse for new high-thread-count sheets (oooh, soft), cashmere sweaters (ooh, soft and warm), etc. Note that it can take *MONTHS* to heal after radiation. ;0)

Cancer sucks - letting it metastasize to your sense of humor, especially for the absurd, is a tragedy. Mom and I cope, in part, through bad humor. We have a couple of jokes that can make the most jaded oncology nurses look horrified, then laugh hysterically. Laughter may not be the best medicine (in mom's case, that would be Faslodex), but the only bad side effect is when beverages shoot out your nose, and quite frankly, that can be funny and healing to those around you.


Dr. Smak said...

Exactly!! Thanks Eric, for understanding.

JeanMac said...

Laugh or cry is right on - my husband has Alzheimer's and I probably say that once a day! Have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I knew I really liked you when I first read your comments on circs at #1 Dinosaur months ago.

Very funny post (and you can work thru your life however you want, of course). Love to Henry!

The Country Doctor said...

There's nothing wrong with a little gallos humor. Katie Watson, a medical ethicist, once gave an interview on NPR where she said something along the lines of laughing at tragedy not out of disrespect for today's tragedy, but out of respect for the work that will need to be done tomorrow.

rlbates said...

I'm glad you can still laugh. Love the post and all the comments.

Anonymous said...

humor is healing. you gotta laugh somehow.

Anonymous said...

True - every word.

My own personal favorite was that everyone had to be nice to me. I worked full time most of the way through cancer treatment, and on the few occasions when I wanted to blow off an assignment, I just told my supervisor I was feeling really tired. He backed off quickly, every single time.

I can't use the "cancer card" anymore, but at the time it was quite handy - even when I didn't really need it. ;)

Oh yeah, and I saved so much money on hair care. Think about it - no hair spray or mousse or styling lotion, no extra electricity to run the hair dryer. Such a deal!

I think my sense of humor went into overdrive with my cancer dx. Of course there were moments when I felt angry and despairing, but I knew that as long as I was still able to laugh, I was doing OK.

All the best to you and Henry and your family.

Anonymous said...

Check our Chemo Angels:

I volunteered with their organization for over a year. I bet your son would love the weekly cards and care packages!

~*~Snappz~*~ said...

Hey ...
If you know about the Caringbridge sites, a good one to check out is ... Kendrie's mum, Kristie, wrote the journal while Kendrie was going through chemotherapy, and the one thing that they managed to keep through the cancer ordeal was a sense of humour :-) I have a feeling you might like it.
Hope that you're having a good day today :-)