Coping with Cancer

I’m sick of cancer. I’m tired of hearing about it. I’m detest seeing companies sell pink products for an additional five dollars then donate the money to breast cancer research. I’m annoyed by breast cancer awareness month. For those who’ve been affected by it, isn’t every month cancer awareness month?

I have mixed feelings when I hear of someone’s recovery, happy for the person but still resentful. My mom had a miraculous recovery and a half and no suffering, and I’m sure she harbors no ill will towards anyone else’s health improving. In fact, when she was receiving her chemotherapy treatments she wondered why one woman did not show up the following week. Why did that young mom not make it as opposed to her, she asked. That woman’s kids need her more.

Through all of these feelings I neglect that my father made a nearly miraculous recovery from his mantle lymphoma. He had a stem cell transplant and was hospitalized for three weeks while his immune system rebuilt itself. As part of my coping mechanism, I did not grasp the severity of his disease. This was a reaction because I had recently lost my mother and did not want to listen to my dad whine…he was alive, and upon first diagnosis my dad made it clear that his cancer was about him and he expected everything to revolve around him. I saved the page with his notes because I was in disbelief of his narcissism that I had to digest it and get other people’s perspective. The conclusion was that he was completely self involved, but no different than how he has been in the past.

My dad’s cancer scared him. As it does. And he had his coping mechanisms which differed significantly than my mom’s and I had mine which was to let his woe’s roll off my shoulders.

So I was not eager to hear NPR’s story of the day about a woman battling cancer with T-shirts and Humor. I assumed it was some cliched account of a woman who survived cancer and blah blah blah. But when the story played on my podcast I immediately liked the subject, a three time cancer survivor. She made funny T-shirts helping patients cope with the awfulness of cancer and its treatments, donating profits to cancer research. I liked her coping mechanism and encourage you to check out her site.


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