Posts

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

I'm Radioactive - Laughing at Cancer - Magick Sandwich

I’m Radioactive – Laughing at Cancer

June 31, 2012: On Friday, I had a radioactive seed implanted to mark the exact site of my cancerous breast tumor. The isotope is Iodine 125 with a strength of .13 millicuries.  Though Marie Curie was a pioneer in radiation research, she died as a result of long-term exposure.  It’s silly, I know, but the use of her name in dosage measurements doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. She died in 1934 and even her cookbooks are still kept in lead-lined boxes and can’t be handled without protective clothing. It’s a shame, too, because I’ve been looking for a good banana bread recipe.

Before it was injected, it was checked with a Geiger counter. The meter looked the same as ones in old Civil Defense films during the duck-and-cover, build-a-bomb-shelter-in-your-backyard era. As if the contrast to the high-tech equipment in the room weren’t enough, the clicking noise sounded like the reading of radioactive coconuts on a show about Bikini Atoll I watched recently.

So I’m radioactive. Which reminds me of this song from the 80s:

The post-implantation instructions are interesting. I have to minimize contact with young children or pets where the seed is implanted. If the seed becomes dislodged, I need to use a piece of tape or tweezers to pick it up, store it in a remote location such as a cabinet or closet as far away from carbon-based life forms as possible, and call the Radiation Safety Office immediately. So, inside boob: good. Outside boob: call the hazmat team. Iodine 125 has a half-life of 59 days but it will be taken out tomorrow morning during surgery. Today, I had a contrast dye injected. This will help my surgeon locate the lymph nodes she wants to take out. The dye contains technetium 99. This stuff is a gamma-ray emitter. Woot! Bruce Banner time!

More technetium, with a blue dye added, will be injected during surgery. So I’ll have Smurf pee for a day or two. I know I sound like I’m freaking out but really, truly, I know that without all these things, the tests and dyes and machines and doctors who use them, my prognosis might not be so good. All these things have saved many people and undoubtedly will save many more. That said, I want to leave you with one factino I learned about technetium 99. It’s reported to be dose equivalent to 500 chest X-rays. And that reminded me of this quote from Repo Man.

“Radiation. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-boxed do-gooders telling everyone it’s bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too.”

That’s just how my brain works, people. See you on the other side!

Update – January 26, 2018: I’m still here. Five years have passed since my lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, with no cancer recurrence. So far, so good!

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

Mother Lode of Stupid Baby Names

The Mother Lode of Stupid Baby Names

Bad Baby Names

As we wait with bated breath to learn the name Kim Kardashian and Kanye West choose for North West’s little brother (because nothing else is going on in the world), let Magick Sandwich entertain you with its nearly comprehensive yet thoroughly incomprehensible list of stupid baby names and the sadists who came up with them.

Repeat Offenders

Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson named their daughter Maxwell Drew in honor of his dad’s middle name and Jessica’s mom’s middle name, respectively. Son Ace Knute was born 20 months later in 2013. He was named Knute after Eric’s grandfather and Ace after, what? A bandage? Frehley? The Red Baron?

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale named their youngest son Apollo Bowie Flynn after their mothers’ maiden names. Since their other sons, Zuma Nesta Rock and Kingston James McGregor, were named for Stefani and Rossdale’s favorite places, can we assume they took a secret trip to the moon between tours? (Maybe that’s what split them up–it sucked all the oxygen out of their relationship.)

Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg have a son, Lyric Sonny Roads, and two daughters, Poet Sienna Rose and Jagger Joseph Blue, names that remind us of ice cream, crayons and paint chips, not necessarily in that order.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their son Moses for a song he wrote for Coldplay and daughter Apple because it sounded “lovely and clean,” not because they were on a fruit cleanse or illegally downloading better music onto their iPods. If only their kids could consciously uncouple from their names.

Girls

Jay-Z and Beyoncé liked Blue Ivy, the name they chose for their daughter, so much that they tried to have it trademarked. It had already been taken by a Boston wedding planner. Isn’t there a site they could have checked first? Yes–Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), in case you ever need it.

Alicia Keys and Swiss Beatz named their daughter Egypt in honor of a life-changing trip. Thank goodness it wasn’t to Bayonne.

Holly Madison, previously one of “The Girls Next Door” known for letting Hugh Hefner play with her lady parts, named her daughter (with Pasquale Rotella, not Hef) Rainbow Aurora. Warm up the stripper pole. Was Inflamed Herpes Sore already taken?

According to Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, they decided to name their daughter Wyatt after coming up with it at a Lakers game. Anything would be preferable to actually watching a Lakers game.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard named their daughter Lincoln Bell and claimed it had nothing to do with our sixteenth president. Instead, she was named after Shepard’s first car. If so, it’s a good thing it wasn’t a Gremlin. Then they’d have to explain their kid had nothing to do with a certain beloved movie franchise from the 1980s.

Why did Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik name their daughter Elsie Otter? Zoey explained on the Today Show, “We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters. They’re very sweet, and they’re also smart.”

Otters are vicious carnivores. Narwhals are cute. Everybody knows that.

At least Elsie is a recognizable name. Blake Anderson named his daughter Mars Ilah. Mars. Ilah. Lorenzo Lamas named his daughter Press. That isn’t even a proper name, is it? Garlic, cider, permanent: those are presses.

Rob Morrow named his daughter Tu. Tu Morrow. What a dick.

Other questionable girl’s names include Arlo Lemoyne Yoko (Johnny Knoxville); Romy Hero (Sam Taylor-Wood); Royal Reign (L’il Kim); Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee); Moxie Crimefighter (Penn Jillette); Maxwell Lue (Lindsay Sloane); Autumn James (Jennifer Love Hewitt); Harper (Tiffani Amber-Thiessen); Harper Seven (Victoria Beckham); and James (Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds).

Boys

Musicians Ciara and Future named their son Future. It’s too bad his dad’s given name is Nayvadius Wilburn. Otherwise, he could be called Future II and that would put us in mind of another beloved movie franchise of the 1980s.

It should come as no shock that Jenelle Evans of “16 and Pregnant” gave birth to son Jace Vahn when she was sixteen. Last year, she had another son and named him Kaiser Orion.

Kaiser joins Banjo (Rachel Griffiths); Kal-El (Nicolas Cage); Bodhi Ransom (Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green); Kase Townes (Jewel and Ty Murray); Meredith Daniel (Jay Mohr), Sundance (Kerri Walsh); Bear Blaze (Kate Winslet); Bear Blu (Alicia Silverstone); Axl Jack (Fergie); Kroy (Kim Zolciak); Zolten (Jillette again); Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz (Beckham again).

Double Winners

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon occupy a category unto themselves: first-timers guilty of multiple offenses after the birth of their twins. They named their girl Monroe after Mariah’s idol, Marilyn Monroe. What inspired them to name their son Moroccan? He’s named after the décor in one of Mariah’s favorite rooms of her $9 million penthouse in New York.

It gets weirder. Cannon bragged that Mariah insisted her Madison Square Garden performance of Fantasy be played during labor, so the twins emerged to the sound of applause.

The Stupid Baby Name Award goes to…

Jeremy Sisto and Addie Layne, who named their daughter Charlie-Ballerina in 2009. They wanted to call her Charlie Kyd, but David Duchovny had already used Kyd for his son. So when their son was born in 2012, they named him Bastian Kick. They reasoned that Kick was close to Kyd and, according to Sisto, “He felt like a ‘B’ somehow … and we went for the B’s,” What, he didn’t deserve a hyphen?

Congratulations,  Moms and Dads! You suck. Luckily, you can afford the therapy your children will require for the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder they will experience after suffering through their childhoods saddled with names so stupid, fruit flies would kill themselves to avoid a lifetime of embarrassment…and they only live a few weeks.

Kids, you can change your name! If you want to mess with your parents’ heads, switch to something even crazier. May we suggest Glyph, Magma, Subvert, Irony, Periodic Table or ellemenopee?

More crazy names:
Stupid Baby Names Generator, or Zuma Nesta Rock Paper Scissors: Home Edition
Stupid Baby Names, Part Duh
Still More Stupid Baby Names

Copyright Magick Sandwich

Dump 'n' Trump

Dump ‘n’ Trump

Dump ‘n’ Trump

Dump 'n' Trump
One ends up a worthless piece of sh*t. 
The other was born that way.
Vagina Repo Gwyneth Edition

Vagina Repo: Gwyneth Edition

The real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam; You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.

 Gwyneth Paltrow, GOOP.com

Gwyneth dear, clearly you never got the owner’s manual. How else to explain your ignorance of something that is only a couple feet from your face at all times? Though I’m sure you are so flexible from your spiritual yoga practice that you’re one plow pose away from direct nose-to-labia confrontation, I feel that you need a visual aid. To wit:

Have one of your servants fetch a hand mirror and position it so that you can see your pudendum in all its undoubtedly depilated glory. Note the geography. (Remember, it’s that class you took while perfecting your Blue Steel facial pose.) If you can see your uterus from here, then you won’t need a doula to massage your perineum with sacred oils during childbirth. You can just shoot them out like they’re on a waterslide at Six Flags.

In fact, short of borrowing a pressure washer from your local car wash, steam will most assuredly not reach your uterus. (Note: Steam Douche: excellent band name.) The mini-throne is essentially a chair with a hole in it through which the spa taps your Iron Man residuals. As for the “energetic release,” it’s possible…if your vagina is pulling a very tiny train.

I do have to thank you for the information on how steam affects hormone levels. It explains that weird day at the gym when I spent too much time in the sauna and turned into a man.

More like this:
Pimp Your Vajajay for Valentine’s Day!
4 New Products to Try on Valentine’s Day
Crazy Beauty Treatments for Valentine’s Day

Copyright Magick Sandwich

 

Pink Ribbon Products bagel

Pink Ribbon Products from Car Horns to Handguns

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products bagel

This is a bagel. (What did you think it was?)

What would Breast Cancer Month (aka October) be without a smorgasbord of pink-tastic breast cancer awareness-themed treats from cookies, mints, hard lemonade, jelly beans, popcorn and  PEZ to ribbon-shaped cakes, chocolates, cupcake sprinkles, lollipops, pasta and bagels? Rarely has life-threatening illness tasted so delicious.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget the memorial pink ribbon products not meant to pass through the alimentary canal: perfume, knee socks, beer koozies, curling irons, chewing gum, flip flops, beach balls, tote bags, vegetable peelers, bathrobes, fishing rods,chip clips, aprons, emery boards, tiaras (tiari?), golf tees, teddy bears, car fresheners, tablecloths, tambourines, mailbox covers, guns, gnomes, cowbells and vibrators.

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon ProductsPuns are a perennial favorite and seem to grow more tortured with each passing year. Suit up in a pink ribbon Speedo from Breaststroke 4 Hope, “designed to inspire the aquatic community to dive in and make a difference. Let’s fight breast cancer together, one lap at a time.” (That last bit would make a good strip club promotion, too.) While I’m sure this is an earnest, worthwhile endeavor, with its website listed as Coming Soon and 12 likes to date on Facebook, someone needs to get out of the pool and get to work.
Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products
The Keep A Breast Foundation appeals to youth culture with “i❤boobies!” wristbands and makes early detection cool with its #checkyourselfie Twitter campaign. I’m happy that, aside from a few confused bird lovers, its site reaches hip youngsters who won’t pay attention to important things with boring or yucky names. Though its moniker is catchy, I wish KAB had found a different play on words to suggest we keep both breasts. Perhaps the bracelet should say “i❤booby!”, though it seems wrong to play favorites with one’s breasts…or fun bags, for any young people reading this.

Baker Hughes, an oilfield service company, painted 1,000 of its drill bits pink, apparently to raise awareness miles underground where they will hydraulically fracture rock to free patches of oil. It then donated $100,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and adopted the slogan “Doing Our Bit for the Cure.” The company reported $5,700,000,000 in revenue with a net profit of $336,000,000 in the first quarter of 2014. Projected annually, Baker Hughes has given .007% of its profits to the charity. In this instance, it would seem that the “bit” has a third meaning, as in “Giving a Little Bit for the Cure.”

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products

The Komen foundation, which licensed the use of its signature pink hue, has come under fire for partnering with a company that pumps toxic chemicals into the earth, potentially poisoning drinking water and off-gassing pollutants that accelerate climate change (if you believe in that sort of thing). Perhaps Komen could use a new motto for its tees, hats and gloves: Frack Cancer. It’s a tad naughty but still appropriate for a church picnic.That idea is free of charge but if you use it, can I claim it on my taxes?

*****

I began my journey into the heart of pinkness innocently enough, intending only to write about JC Penney’s ads, in which pennies (get it?) are held over women’s breasts. Critics complain they devalue women but I say kudos to them for sexualizing small change. Lincoln would be so proud. At least they tell us to save them, not pinch them. That would be disrespectful.

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products JC Penney
Once I started looking into the subject, I couldn’t help but notice that there are an awful lot of products associated with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have catalogued some of the more memorable ones here. It is by no means an exhaustive list but I can tell you it has exhausted me.
*****
Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products
Gear for the sportswoman or man who’s comfortable in his masculinity.
*****
Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products
No matter how you choose to adorn your garden and car or wildly overestimate the resale value of commemorative coins, please do not ever do this to your dog.
*****
Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products
At least two of these items make bath time lots of fun. Getting drunk and needing more cowbell is up to you. Unfortunately, researching the be-ribboned vibrator has negatively impacted my Amazon recommendation list.
Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products
*****
Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Products Pedi Egg
Perhaps my favorite product tie-in is this special, limited edition of the PediEgg, a cheese grater-like callus remover, which makes sense because, as we all know, feet are the boobs of the legs.
*****

Of the above products, gun, alcohol and vibrator sales benefit cancer research. The National Football League is the real hero here, donating 8% of profits from sales—this month only—of its half dollar coins. (Why not give them directly to charity? They are money, right?) Since October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the NFL will do its part to raise awareness by continuing to beat women with impunity and children where indicated. You’re welcome.

More like this:
I’m Radioactive – Laughing at Cancer
Good News. Really.
More Louise Hay Garbage
Tales from the Waiting Room
I See Your Breast and Raise You a Penis: A Word Game

Copyright Magick Sandwich