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6 things you should never tell cancer patient

6 Things You Should Never Tell a Cancer Patient

6 things you should never tell cancer patientFive years ago, on June 1, 2012, I found out that, like one in eight women in America, I had breast cancer. Within a two-week period, one of our cats died, my husband lost his job, his aunt passed away and, while he was in Illinois attending her funeral, I got the news by phone.

It was caught early by an eagle-eyed radiologist who saw a small spot on my digital mammogram. Insurance companies often won’t cover this more sensitive test because it costs more. In January of 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force raised the recommended age at which women should begin mammography screening from 40 to 50. (The medical community had opposed the change since it was first proposed in 2009.) Had I waited that long, I might be dead now.

I had a lumpectomy on July 3rd, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, which finished up at the end of January 2013. Five years later, I’m still cancer-free.

I bonded with several women going through the same thing. We’d pass our time in the waiting room joking about how none of us had lost weight from chemo despite what movies show, and how easy it is to forget where your eyebrows were after they fall out: Sometimes you draw them on and look angry or surprised, or angry on one side and surprised on the other.

We also talked about the comments well-meaning people said to us when they found out we had cancer. I related my friend’s story of how strangers touched her belly when she was pregnant, then got offended when she told them to stop. With cancer, too, people feel entitled to weigh in, assuming a level of familiarity that may not exist.

Here is my list, gleaned from my experience, of things you should never tell a cancer patient:

1. Everything happens for a reason. Yes, the reason is cancer. Is it because I paid the gas bill late or didn’t send a Christmas card? Think this through, please. Even if there is some cosmic plan, is that supposed to cheer me up? (“Your death will provide a valuable life lesson for your family.”)

2. [She] is fighting a battle with cancer. My chest is not a war zone. I prefer to say I’m having a slap fight with cancer. Sounds less ominous and it’s a nice visual, too. I’ve rarely heard anyone say, “She just gave up. What a wuss!”

3. Check out this email from Johns Hopkins about what really causes cancer. This is a hoax that’s been circulating since 2008. Johns Hopkins has repeatedly refuted it, but it still terrifies people. Whoever who wrote this should be flogged.

4. This [alternative therapy] really works. Ever meet someone who cured cancer by drinking his own pee? Probably not. Want to talk to Steve Jobs about the miracle macrobiotic cure he did for months before agreeing to conventional treatment? Oh, that’s right, you can’t: he’s dead.

5. Cheese causes cancer. I blame some Internet sub-genius for starting the Big-Dairy-doesn’t-want-you-to-know-this-is-killing-you panic about casein, what Alex Jones likes to call an excitotoxin. (Funny, that’s what I call him.) Casein is a protein found in mammalian milk, including human milk. So…breastfeeding causes cancer? Milk is murder?

I’m not saying I’m an expert. Having cancer doesn’t make you an expert any more than sitting on an airplane makes you a pilot. I understand that sickness scares people; it’s only human to want to define it and reassure themselves it won’t happen to them. Bullshit artists like Louise Hay have made a lot of money blaming people for their own illnesses. Which brings me to:

6. Negativity causes cancer. If that’s true, the person who says this must be riddled with it.

You know how they say a stranger is just a friend with an unsolicited opinion you haven’t heard yet? (Okay, nobody says that, but I’m trying to start a trend.) Everyone from my cat’s veterinarian to a city’s worth of taxi drivers felt compelled to share their wisdom. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say, “Oh, this isn’t from chemo. I shaved my head to commemorate that time I killed someone for sticking his nose in my business.”

Sometimes a little negativity can be fun, no?

Related posts:
I’m Radioactive – Laughing at Cancer
Tales from the Waiting Room – Laughing at Cancer

Copyright Notice 2018 Magick Sandwich

World Play-Doh Day

Happy World Play-Doh Day

Magick Sandwich Play-Doh DaySeptember 16 is World Play-Doh Day. After writing about it on Worldwide Weird Holidays, I found that some of the prose was a bit inappropriate for that site—in other words, perfect for Magick Sandwich. Call it WWWH After Dark, if you will. (I’m pretty sure you won’t.)

Fun Facts about Play-Doh: The compound was created in 1933 to clean coal soot off wallpaper. The inventor ripped off the formula homemakers and servants had used for decades.

By 1956, homes didn’t use coal anymore. No soot, no need for the cleaner. The company was tanking when the sister-in-law of an employee suggested repurposing it as a toy and came up with the name. Of course, she received no credit or payment.

The employee convinced Bob Keeshan, a.k.a. Captain Kangaroo, to feature it on his show once a week in exchange for a percentage of the sales. Similar to payola schemes run by radio disc jockeys, this was truly a case of “pay to play” or “pay to play-doh,” if you’re feeling punny.

Bonus Fun Fact: A tell-all book by longtime stage manager Daniel B. Morgan alleges that Keeshan liked to expose himself before the show, sticking a pencil under his little captain and waving it at Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum, who played Mr. Green Jeans. Per Morgan:

“Then the Captain would come through the door, greet everyone, and hang the keys on the key hook. On with the show! So now, at the end of the program (which probably included credits), Bob was backstage reading the final voice-over…(and) during Bob’s final read, Lumpy pulled out his penis and began to pee on Bob’s leg.”

Captain Kangaroo liked to pull out his dick before greeting his fan base of millions of small children. Doesn’t everybody? (I need to Purell my childhood memories. Can someone find out if that’s possible?)

*****

Do you long for the simple charms of shaping and smushing, but can’t figure out how to integrate Play-Doh into your daily work routine without attracting undue attention? How awkward would a trip to Human Resources be? Even the most exhaustive employee handbook has no listing for “Play-Doh, abuse of.” There are no talking points, no rehab to recommend.

On second thought, there could be a highly-specialized treatment center somewhere in, say, Malibu. Right now, someone is getting equine therapy to break the cycle of Play-Doh addiction. In case you’re unfamiliar with the modality, the Equine Psychotherapy website explains: “It is the discipline of using horses as a means to provide metaphoric experiences in order to promote emotional growth.” It sounds a lot like getting a horse to babysit so the human can go grab a cocktail. (Horse-sit: say it three times fast.)

Now you can avoid the humiliation of being narced on by coworkers—and the deceptively pleasant-sounding shame spiral which follows—while enjoying the essence of Play-Doh every moment of every day with no risk of sanctions. Demeter Fragrance Library, the maker of such classic scents as Lobster and Funeral Home, offers PlayDoh cologne.

Don’t be surprised if the scent inspires an admirer to pull on your pigtails. (Apparently, little boys used to do that to little girls they liked, but we can’t find anyone who’s seen or done it.) Guys, it’s unisex, so if you spritz it on, don’t be surprised if someone pulls on your man-bun.

On the subject of male grooming, why is practiced, casual vanity so often inversely proportional to a man’s personal hygiene habits? I’m thinking of a 1980s TV star who claims to have no interest in fashion but festoons himself every day with at least ten necklaces and as many rings as his fingers can hold. (We have no problem with male adornment, just hypocrisy.) Coincidentally, he looks like he hasn’t taken a shower since the 1980s. Surely there’s a circus nearby where the elephants can wait a moment so he can be hosed down.

Back to the hairdo: A man-bun says, “I write poetry, I love to cuddle, I’m sensitive and attentive and I smell like a week-old, bloated goat carcass.” Happy World Play-Doh Day, everybody!

Copyright Magick Sandwich

peeve smelly facial tissue

A Peeve

peeve smelly facial tissue
Facial tissue that smells bad: Why?

The manufacturer has to have some idea that you’re going to be using it under your nose.

Why not make sure it smells okay? How hard can that be?