Chemo and Vino: The Virgin EntryJuly 7, 2008
Cancer lit sucks. I’ve tried to read several “inspiring” memoirs and I just can’t seem to finish one. Once I get to the “poor me” stuff, I just chuck the damn thing across the room. Now, I’m sure there are exceptions. Several well meaning pals have given me copies of Lance Armstrong’s book and assured me “it’s different.” I can’t bring myself to read it because I’m convinced it will make me feel both fat and guilty. I hate exercise and I don’t imagine I’ll like reading about it, even as a side note. I’m stubborn that way. I picked up a cheesy chick lit book on display at Borders to distract me, only to find that the main character gets cancer at about page 120. (Spoiler alert) So – if you have The Big C, you may NOT want to pick up Friday Night Knitting Club. It’s a big downer and the cancer thing comes out of nowhere.
Next, I surfed the blogosphere, survivor chat rooms and other corners of the internet for inspiration or an ounce of humor about this crappy disease and found nothing. Zilch. Mostly “you are in our prayers” and “keep the faith” type stuff. Nothing that spoke my language. Nothing practical. So, this is not a blog for people who love Jesus. I am not a religious or particularly spiritual person. In fact, people that say things like, “I’m not into organized religion, but I’m very spiritual” really irritate me. I have enough respect for religion and spirituality to know that there’s more to it than wishing for things while you’re smoking pot. But the Church route just isn’t for me.
I wanted to know if anyone else giggled when their doctor mentioned 5 FU. (It’s a chemo drug). Do I have permission to scream “FU!” five times while I’m on it? I had questions like, “Will my chemo port set off airport security?” I wasn’t planning a trip, mind you; I just didn’t like the idea of telling a complete stranger that I had a big fat scary disease. Was there any way I would be able to deal with my diagnosis and treatment as a sassy, youngish gal with no patience for looks of pity?
Slowly, I found some kindred spirits. A terrific woman who organized “Colonpalooza”. (It’s an annual trip where survivors of colorectal cancers get together to kvetch and drink.) A professional from Gilda’s Club that assured me the support groups didn’t suck. (One group had a craft project where they made T-shirts that said “Don’t fuck with me. I have cancer.”) And finally, my Mom-in-Law bestowed me with Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr. A book with chapters like, “Holy shit! I have cancer. Now what?” and “Go ahead. Use the cancer card.” Finally, I was inspired. I had hope. You should buy a copy for every young woman and gay man you know with cancer. In fact, buy eight. The author is a former actress, now filmmaker and I’ll bet she would really appreciate the cash.
What follows, I hope, will be a blog that shares some down and dirty on treatment without all the freakin severity. A forum to discuss the best flavors of barium “smoothies”. A judgment-free zone for folks who combine chemo and vino on the same day. A place for fabulous cancer patients. Like me.