Friday, January 26, 2018

The Best Things About Cancer

Most people think of cancer as a devastating disease that shatters lives and scars families. Well, I guess it kind of is, but there’s always another side to everything. I want to put in a few words for the few (VERY few!) positive effects of cancer.

Easy way to lose weight.

You can drop pounds and tens of pounds without even trying. In fact, you’ll probably have to work at keeping your weight high enough, as chemotherapy and other treatments rob you of your appetite.

Friends and family seem willing to indulge you.

In their efforts to lighten your mood and lift your sprits, friends and family will offer to get you ice cream, cookies, cake … whatever you want. People genuinely want to improve your quality of life. If you tell them that means junk food, trashy movies or whatever, you’ll be surprised.

Legit use of Opioids.

Woooo. Woo-ooooo. Woooooooo. Wooo. Wooooooooooooooo. Woooo. Woo-ooooo. Woooooooo. Wooo.

People always tell you how great you look.

It’s true. You could be in the middle of chemotherapy, hair fallen out, skin turned grey, and people will make you feel like a prom queen (or king). Enjoy it! Hey, who are we to argue?

Treated with respect at the hospital.

Cancer still carries a certain mystique as an illness. It is “the emperor of all maladies,” in the words of Siddartha Mukherjee, who practically wrote the book on the subject.

Ok, he did write the book called The Emperor of All Maladies.

So in many hospitals, cancer patients are treated with special care and attention. Volunteers bake cookies, cakes and brownies for waiting areas. Sometimes volunteers make knit wool caps or scarves during colder weather. And there always seem to be people around to help you get a beverage, get in or out of a  wheelchair, etc.

The exception, of course, is the cancer hospital. There you’re just one of the gang.

Develop a deep love and appreciation for all humankind.

One consequence of facing your own death is the growing appreciation of how fragile and precious life is. We all have the same fate, whether we realize it or not, whether we resist it or not. All we can do is try to bond with each other, and to empathize and appreciate each other’s struggles … to hold each other up and acknowledge our common humanity.

And yes, that goes for the jerks too.

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