Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cancer Rebels Rule!

Good afternoon readers!  Well you may have noticed that I've been MIA for the last week or so.  The truth is my new chemotherapy regimen left me feeling like I was run-over by a pink cement truck and then backed over by a pink tractor just for good measure. 

It seems my white blood cell counts dropped precariously low which explains why I felt like pink roadkill this last couple of weeks.  As a result, I didn't get chemo this week which I thought was going to mean good news for my worn-out self, but then DrWW had to go and give me the white blood cell booster shoot.  "Oh don't worry there shouldn't be any side-effects; just a bit of bone ache and maybe some muscle weariness".  Really?  Well turns out I had quite a "rare-what's-new" reaction to the booster, and I spent a couple of days writhing in agony with the worst back pain I have ever encountered in my life.  Finally in the wee hours of Friday morning I remembered the little bottle of street valuable painkillers that I had stashed away in the back of the medicine cabinet walk-in closet, and was finally able to put an end to the misery.

After that very long-winded introduction I'm pleased to say that I'm almost feeling human again.  Another week off from chemo, and then we'll do it all over again.  I really can't wait !

So today I thought I would ease myself back into the blogosphere with a quick little post.

Yesterday Chemobabe and I happened to find ourselves on Twitter at the same time.  And by serendipity we also found ourselves in the same snarky frame of mind.  We started to amuse ourselves by Direct Messaging our favorite cancer rebel fantasies.  Unable to contain the hilarity to just ourselves we decided it would be a grand idea to see if we could get the topic to trend on Twitter.  To the Twitter Luddites amongst you, let's just say that if you can get a topic to trend on Twitter, this means you earn huge street cred with all the other Twitter nerds that you virtually hang out with. 

So we created a Twitter stream called #cancerrebel and asked people to tweet in their cancer rebel fantasies.

Here were some of my favorites (okay some of them were mine):

  • Bring a bottle of jack with you to your infusion. tell the nurses it helps you "take the edge off
  •  Whenever you use the word 'cancer' swear ... a lot
  •  When you go to chemo make the nurse chase you around the room before they can hook you up. Sing na na na na!!!  
  • Call up your insurance company and ask to go through every benefits statement line by line, then at end say " oh never mind"
  • Next time someone asks if you are "all better now," look them dead in the eye and say, "no. it was cancer, not the flu." 
  • Be a page three mastectomy model, no-one would be expecting that when they opened the newspaper
  •  When they phone you, put your doctor's office on hold with cloying music and cheesy voiceovers.
  •  Next time someone says "you look great" smile sweetly and say "thanks cancer has done wonders for my life"
  •  Explain to your friends that your "medical marijuana" is important for your ongoing recovery.
  •  Mine is emptying all the pink ribbon donation boxes at grocery checkouts & saying thanks, you shouldn't have.  
  •  Telling the nurse to go find her own vein after trying for the third time to find a good one 
  • When someone asks if there's anything they can do for you, put them to work cleaning out your gutters. 

Now this is the kind of cathartic cancer therapy I need !

So what's your cancer rebel fantasy?


  1. Glad to hear you're feeling more like yourself.

    I'm so glad I stumbled into this conversation... it was laugh out loud fun! I think we could be onto something here... so many people joined in. Totally cathartic - thanks!

  2. Hello, loved your post, I'm a new follower. Was just diagnosed and am waiting to find out what's what with my cancer. It's great to find others with the same feelings I have, i.e. most "awareness" products are totally lame, why don't they find a damned cure with the millions of $$ raised so far instead of holding meetings on how they can "market" more cancer products to the masses.

  3. I really enjoyed participating in the cancer rebel fantasy. I had so many, I realized, but I just listed one.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're feeling better lately. Cancer sucks.

  4. This is so funny.. damn wetting myself. Never say cancer knocks your humour. It maybe bloody frustrating on this tread mill, but sarcasm keeps you smiling.

  5. Anna, So glad you are feeling a bit better. A sense of humor is a marvelous thing! I think I have to start Twittering soon. I'm missing too much! Since my bilateral, I've been trying to think of a good comeback to the question, "So, did they take 'em both off?" So far, the best I've thought of is, "Yeh, I wanted a uniform look." I need something "snarkier!" Any suggestions??

  6. I gave myself a Neulasta white-blood cell booster shot after every chemo treatment. My chemo nurse told me to take a Claritin the day before, the day of and for two days following the shots and there would be no bone pain. It worked. I had zero pain. Give it a try! Apparently the pain is a histamine reaction in your bone marrow.

    Good luck!

  7. Thanks all for your comments, and welcome new followers!!! The #cancerrebel chat is ongoing on Twitter so keep your cancer rebel fantasies coming! We might have a new movement forming !!! And what an Rx for laughter it is !

    And Nancy, my cancer rebel would look them straight in the eye and say, "Take what off? What do you mean?"

  8. Love your writing, I am an ovarian cancer fighter, but you touch a point for all of us cancer fighters out there. I wish I had your snarky comeback abilities. I always think of a good response, but so much later, not in the moment.

    Recently, a relative said she could totally relate to my fight as she felt like she was fighting to keep her business going, every day she had to make that decision to get in there and fight for the health of her business. I just sat there stunned and listened. Later I thought of some really choice words, but it was too late. If she stopped fighting for her business, she loses her job, but if I stop fighting for my life, well, I lose my life!!

  9. Your post reminds me of Gilda Radner, who I think would have joined in with your cancer rebel tweets! In 1988, Radner guest-starred on It's Garry Shandling's Show. When Shandling asked her why she had not been seen for a while, she replied "Oh, I had cancer. What did you have?" Shandling's reply: "A very bad series of career moves... which, by the way, there's no cure for whatsoever."

  10. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am new to the blog and to breast cancer. Happy to hear you are feeling stronger. I have been hospitalized for 0 white cells. No fun at all! My doctor suggested Zertec for the bone pain, the day before, day of, and day after. I found that an advil did the trick for me, but would have sought stronger stuff if I felt like you did! I am done with my chemo and waiting to start radiation. My hips have a dull ache all the time now.

    Keep making those blood cells.....I look forward to reading more of your blog. Maureen

  11. Glad you're feeling better! The first time I had the Neulasta shot, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I was having a heart attack. My ribs hurt A LOT. I hit the pain meds too.

    You know what's in that damn shot? E COLI, to stimulate the production of white blood cells. Yeah, that's comforting.

  12. Anna, I'm happy you're feeling well enough to blog and rebel. I think you're voicing the thoughts of all of us and you're exactly right on so many levels. It's nice to know we're not crazy for not falling for the "pinkness" of the disease. Thanks, as always, for telling it like it really is.

  13. Thanks to all you cancer rebels for your lovely comments! Quite a few new names in the comments to this post, so again welcome and thanks for taking the time to write. And of course, the same to my regular readers! The Twitter #cancerrebel chat is still going, so if you haven't added your rebel fantasy yet, please do so. It can certainly be exhausting being a well-behaved little cancer patient all the time, so it feels great to be amongst other like-minded cancer rebels ! Rock on !

  14. My cancer rebel story: When the pharmacist-in-training came in to explain to me all of the possible side effects of my chemo, I looked at him in total shock and said "oh my god, you mean I'll never have any more children?" (I was 45 at the time).


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