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Im not on a "journey" and Im not a "warrior." Who is with me?

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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,151
    edited July 2021
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    runor, gal, you kick ass! Another great post! Love your description of me as a long hauler! And your comparison to the donkey is amazing, it really paints a picture that tells the story.



  • dutchiegirl
    dutchiegirl Member Posts: 76
    edited July 2021
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    Shetland, sarcasm is my middle name. And I do think it helped me to get through everything! I wrote a list of everything that happened to me during the whole cancer mess - four funerals, my husband lost his job, I had a suspected metastasis (found out on the same day my hubby lost his job), on and on it went. If I didn’t have a sense of humour I’d be curled up in a ball somewhere

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited July 2021
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    ShetlandPony, your sarcasm?? Why, I never realized.... 🤦🏻 Duh! It all makes so much more sense now. 😏

    runor, the starving, over-loaded, whipped donkey with saddle sores, who keeps slowly plodding forward and carrying the load... yup, that's about it. Perfect description.

    I think I've moved past the fingers of one hand and am well on to the fingers of the other hand, in terms of situations and life events where I blindly and innocently (i.e. stupidly) thought, "That happens to other people, that won't happen to me.". What I've learned (but it took me long enough) is that anything can happen to anyone. No one is immune. But some people are lucky. I look at people who have had blessed lives, with no health issues and no personal tragedies and personal & family harmony, and I think how damned lucky they are. The thing is, virtually none of those people have any clue that it's all luck and that life can turn on a dime. No, they are either oblivious to their good fortune, or they think that it's due to something they've done, in terms of how they've lived their lives or their faith, etc.. I try to avoid those people.

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
    edited July 2021
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    Shetland, you are one saucy pony!

    Beesie, I keep hearing The Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden,  in my head now. Ugh.

    Dutchie - finding a way to laugh is all you can do. Humour is life. This serious shit will weigh you down and drag you under if you can't buoy yourself up with some dark humour over the whole stupidity.  

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited July 2021
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    Yeah, that donkey description makes me so sad. Poor little things. A much more accurate picture than "unicorn" for a long-hauler/outlier cancer patient. Or any of us. This extending of life comes at a cost.

    (Considering the pitiful equine, maybe a phrase other than "kick ass" is needed to describe how awesome runor and Divine are!)

    Related to our discussion, people here might be interested in the podcast Everything Happens ("for a reason" is crossed out) with Kate Bowler. Her podcast intro, which includes the observation that the world loves you better when you are shiny and cheerful, is like poetry to me. She has a TED talk and book entitled "Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved". She is an associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America, and is living with stage iv cancer. More about her and her work here:

    https://divinity.duke.edu/faculty/kate-bowler

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,151
    edited July 2021
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    Moth, I think I prefer outlier and sometimes “exceptional responder". The phrase “long hauler" seems like something to describe a trucker, and to me, it sounds heavy and tedious. I guess I prefer a more upbeat description, but despise being compared to something that doesn't even exist!

    Beesie, I know a few of those “blessed" people. I will admit to a bit of jealousy towards them, even tho I've had a really good life. But I've had my share of struggles in addition to mbc. My sister in law, who is 8 years older than me, is one of those blessed people. Knowing I live with mbc, she tried to insist that if it was her time to go, as in meet her maker, she was ready. I was unable to reply and could only look at her. But I wish I'd said, “so you'd be okay with not being with your family at Christmas, not enjoying birthday parties and not celebrating milestones like graduations and weddings?" She's heavily involved with her adult children and grandchildren including the whole pack of them taking vacation trips together. Did she really think that through? Or the sadness they would experience because she's gone?

    Haha, Shetland, I get what you're saying in the kick ass department!

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,053
    edited July 2021
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    And the prize for the most interesting and entertaining non-medical post on BCO goes to:

    I'm not on a "journey" and I'm not a "warrior." Who is with me?

    Love this thread. I'm thinking humor must be central to many people's experience as a warrior battling their way on a breast cancer journey! So Im thinking of writing an article on humour as an aid to coping with a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

    Do people here think this is a thing? Does anyone have any examples of how humor has helped them at any stage? Or any examples of where humor has been used inappropriately? The latter are often both ironic and funny in themselves. I'd love to hear from the brain's trust here as so many of you, drawn to this thread like a moth :) to a flame, so eloquently and humorously put your cases on the topic we're debating.


  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,053
    edited July 2021
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    And the prize for the most interesting and entertaining non-medical post on BCO goes to:

    I'm not on a "journey" and I'm not a "warrior." Who is with me?

    Love this thread. I'm thinking humor must be central to many people's experience as a warrior battling their way on a breast cancer journey! So Im thinking of writing an article on humour as an aid to coping with a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

    Do people here think this is a thing? Does anyone have any examples of how humor has helped them at any stage? Or any examples of where humor has been used inappropriately? The latter are often both ironic and funny in themselves. I'd love to hear from the brain's trust here as so many of you, drawn to this thread like a moth :) to a flame, so eloquently and humorously put your cases on the topic we're debating.

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,701
    edited July 2021
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    Well with a lot medical issues (we've dealt with numerous ones in our household) we always felt laughter is the best medicine sometimes. Often the doctors are surprised because we are not freaking out about something that is life-threatening to one of us and one of us might die before long. We are are still kicking though and it gotten us through about 5 crisis now with my husband and several with me now. The medical staff thinks we are nuts but works for us.

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,025
    edited July 2021
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    Divine, you make a great point about unicorns. I was thinking the worst thing about them is that they are rare but you’ve reminded me that they don’t even exist! That’s not the goal or “role model” we want for long term MBC survival stats.


  • ceanna
    ceanna Member Posts: 3,120
    edited July 2021
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    traveltext, I can't wait to read your article about humor and BC!!! Personally, I try to look for "joy." Maybe that's a combination of happiness and laughter! And I try to use a sense of humor to see joy. I picture a child's joy at the smallest things! They are curious, they are not held back from expressing their feelings, and they burst forth with enthusiasm and that happy look I define as joy! How that fits with the process of BC, I've not thought that through, but I know I felt joy since my diagnosis after I got through surgery, clear margins, radiation, and after each annual mammogram results since! Now, unfortunately, that is not everyone's BC situation and it must be harder to experience joy at any point when the results are not good or they experience depression, anxiety, or other illnesses. I feel for those who seem to be knocked over again and again, and I'm no Pollyanna. Seeing and/or feeling even a tiny bit of joy helps me keep moving and living.

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 559
    edited July 2021
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    Ha, loving all this! Divine, I would like to see you wrestle some alligators, by the way.

    I, too, thought I would never get cancer - it's so strange now looking back on that firm belief, how did I arrive at that conclusion? And then when I was diagnosed with "kinda early stage but weird type" breast cancer, I believed I would never have a recurrence. Oh, hahahahaha...

    Now with MBC I want to believe I will be one of the exceptional responders, but I can't summon the same optimism? Hope? Fantasy? and believe that it could be possible. It might be possible. But I feel superstitious, or blasphemous, or just plain ridiculous to believe in it. I have good days, but the minimum whisper can easily become the maximum shout - "you're going to die from this" and then I see Meryl Streep's character from the movie One True Thing in my head, and facking shite, am I going to be putting pain meds in my tapioca soon?

    Regarding humor, I joke about myself with others, things like: "ooh, I probably shouldn't eat that, I might get cancer" and then laugh like a hyena while I consume, say, a nutella brioche. (Seriously, am I going to juice celery and beets when I may have a short amount of time left to enjoy food? Puh-leeze. My next treatment could have me puking my guts out, I AM EATING THAT PASTRY.) My optometrist and I were laughing so much recently that I told him we needed to refocus...and then we were nearly crying with laughter. He knows my diagnosis, we were also checking my eyes for, you know, cancer. My sweet radiation techs used to leave the room quickly after my treatment was over, to give me privacy to get changed back into my clothes, and I would yell after them, "hey dudes, my chest is completely bare for this whole procedure, it's not like you haven't seen everything, the one-breast-wonder here", and they'd be giggling in the outer room.

    I can't get through any of this without laughing. I cry on my own, when I do cry. And I cry way more often than I have at any other time in my life, but I also apparently have dry eyes so now I don't need the eye drops that Jennifer Aniston used to endorse in commercials - win-win!

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,403
    edited July 2021
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    SFCakes--I loved that post. LOVED it. Thanks.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited July 2021
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    Well, I live with a genetic condition of antihypochondria. Like, my family members could be collapsed on the floor gasping their last breath and still deny it. The most we do in emergencies is "Damn it, I told you not to bleed there! Drag yourself into the bathroom and clean up after yourself!" It's really warped me on admitting when I MIGHT have an issue. So I'm never a warrior (much too lazy) or on a journey (Haven't people heard of Covid? I'm staying put!) and unicorns? The ultimate phallic animal to signify getting screwed?

    Nope.

    image

  • nopink2019
    nopink2019 Member Posts: 384
    edited July 2021
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    When someone says "well you look good" I want to say "the tumors are growing on the inside".

  • Trporter124
    Trporter124 Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2021
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    I am with you! I am not a badass! I am a few months out of treatment. This is my 3rd time dealing with cancer, first time with breast cancer .


  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited July 2021
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    Trporter124

    Hi from another CancerMulti! I think we're special; it sounds so much better than freaks.

  • dutchiegirl
    dutchiegirl Member Posts: 76
    edited July 2021
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    Traveltext, that article was very timely. Just last night a friend of mine who has Stage 4 BC said she wished people would stop calling it a battle. If it was a battle, she’d win because she’s strong. In her words, “it’s a tricky disease with imperfect treatments”. I sent her the article.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,151
    edited July 2021
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    Traveltxt, what an excellent article! I bookmarked it because I know I will refer to it and share it from time to time as it made many, many good points, including this one:

    >>> As breast cancer blogger, Nancy Stordahl, writes in What Does Beating Cancer Mean Anyway? "Struggling to live up to some gold standard of what beating cancer means, adds to the already exhausting burden. We need to stop patronizing and judging cancer patients based on misguided battle talk analogies. Cancer isn't an opponent in some war game you can stomp out by mindset or determination."


    SFCakes, reading your post was a great way to start my day, it had me laughing! I love the humor you use as in, “maybe I shouldn't eat that; might give me cancer".

    And I'm with you 110% about this: “Seriously, am I going to juice celery and beets when I may have a short amount of time left to enjoy food? Puh-leeze. My next treatment could have me puking my guts out, I AM EATING THAT PASTRY." — I have been there several times with treatment adversely affecting my enjoyment of food, one of life's simplest pleasures, so I am eating that pastry, too! Which, coincidentally, a couple blocks from me is a small pastry shop that sells the most divinely delicious cherry turnovers I've ever eaten, and being a slightly snobby food critic, I do not say that lightly. I go so far as to say it's actually exciting to taste those turnovers. Naw, man, not turning down that turn-over!!


    Ohmyword, Alice! The description of how your family responds to trouble, that t-shirt photo and your “journey" and unicorn comments also have me laughing this morning!



  • dtad
    dtad Member Posts: 771
    edited July 2021
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    Mochiepie...I've always hated the term lost the battle. As if it was a weakness and something that can be controlled. Now that I have breast cancer it bothers me even more! Great thread. Good luck to all

  • mochipie
    mochipie Member Posts: 45
    edited July 2021
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    Traveltext, thank you for the compliment! I was new here when I posted that and I was a bit cautious, but it really was and is how I feel.

    As for your thoughts on humor, I have always been drawn to dark/black humor and gallows humor. It's a wonderful coping mechanism. I am not on Facebook and I hate the idea of caringbridge (for me), so I started sending email updates to a large group of friends and family.

    The emails were humorous and farcical from the start. It was a way for me to communicate and avoid having people bombard me with inquiries about how I was doing, but it was a way to chronicle my life during treatment, and a fun creative writing exercise. If you'd like some examples or highlights, DM me.

  • moissy
    moissy Member Posts: 371
    edited July 2021
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    SF-Cakes, Thanks for the laughs today! My endorphins are smiling, too.

    Traveltext, thanks for posting that excellent article! Hope those thoughts catch on

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,151
    edited July 2021
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    I have a couple sisters who love to whisper to each other in front of me when they find out another person they know has cancer. They're being passive-aggressive because they act like they're trying to shield me from terrible news but they whisper so loudly, I know they want me to hear so they can see if I react by getting "scared". I will refrain from using the f-word again, but, seriously? They have no clue how many women I've gotten to know on this forum who are no longer with us. I'm well aware of the reality of it all. Beside, learning of someone who has a terrible diagnosis makes me feel sad for the person, but it doesn't affect how I feel about what I live with.

    Anyway, somehow I came across this old clip from St. Elmo's Fire and it made me laugh about the situation:



  • voraciousreader
    voraciousreader Member Posts: 3,696
    edited July 2021
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    talk about humor…gotta also talk about perspective….yesterday, visited Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgery with the DH. Doctor told the poor DH that it is common once you reach a certain age to have all kinds of orthopedic issues…I thought that was so refreshing to hear because more than 25 years ago, the DH was diagnosed in his early 40s with a very rare orphan illness and also has had heart stents and bypass surgery and more stents and there was this expectation that he would never make it to old age….kind of like the jar is half empty or half full….my jar? His jar? It is spilling over….yeah….sometimes things spill on the floor and get slippery…but we just mop things up and we have the wet /dry vac in the garage…just in case! Also have armor hanging in the closet….


    now….as far as A**holes are concerned, for sure there are many….so what to do about them? my INNER compass, also wrapped in armor, steers clear of them. Period. I don’t care what A**holes think of me. i care about what I think of them…it is all about framing…I would rather drink with others who enjoy drinking from half full glasses…those sips from the half full glass coat my heart’s armor so that when I have to go into battle I am fully prepared… or…at least I would like to think I am fully prepared….


    and Devine…yep…those folks ARE passive aggressive…the worst of the worst, IMHO. When around them, I recommend wearing sun glasses…even indoors. Sun glasses are also great armor…people are off kilter when they can’t see your eyes…. That’s a great way for YOU to be the passive aggressive one! Touche!


    and finally…a muzzle. That is great armor too! I just refuse to engage with morons. They say something stupid, I just give them the silent treatment. That makes their brain cells fire up and then they will sometimes wonder what they said that was so inappropriate.


    so there you have it…perspective…often works like a charm

  • sadiesservant
    sadiesservant Member Posts: 1,875
    edited July 2021
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    Hi All,

    So glad to see this thread active again. It's good for a laugh and I know we can all identify with the comments and situations.

    Traveltxt, yes, humor as a coping mechanism is a thing, at least it certainly is for me. I suspect more than one person thinks I'm crazy with my openness and tendency to crack jokes. In reality, there is a certain ludicrous element to everything we go through and certainly many good stories, several from my first go around with BC. (It reminds me of Lita and her "Shittin Pants" - I miss her humour.) I think (hope) my MO gets it and laughs with me. Ultimately, I have always felt that I could laugh or cry and since crying won't do any bloody good...

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 559
    edited July 2021
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    Nopink, yes yes yes to this response you said: "the tumors are growing on the inside". I may end up saying that to someone when they tell me I look great. And also possibly, "ooh, but you should see my scans, actually do you want to see them? I can pull them up for you on my phone, I have the mobile app for my doctor! No? How about my lab numbers, c'mon, don't you want to check out my white blood cell count? It's not in normal range at all but it's considered good for me! Let's look!! Wait, why are you running away?"

    Also, the great thing about wearing masks is I can mouth curses at people and they can't see my mouth moving. I'm going to have to be careful of that when I'm no longer wearing a mask.

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,644
    edited July 2021
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    Great additions to this thread. Thank you, everyone! Traveltext, thank you for the article. I emailed a copy to myself.

    The funny (or maybe not) thing about the comments we get is that I don't mind them from some people, and from others, it annoys the hell out of me. I especially "love" the look I get from someone when they see me and act surprised that I'm still walking around and not dead yet.

    My/our latest thing my husband and I do when we're out for a walk and run into someone who seems surprised that I'm not dead yet is to pull back the hair from my forehead and ask my husband if he can read the expiration date on my forehead. He'll respond, "Nope, I think we're good to go for at least a few more weeks." Some people looked shocked, others just don't know what to say. Oh well. It amuses us!

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,151
    edited July 2021
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    SFCakes and NoPink, those are great replies to the “yer lookin' good' comments.

    Sunshine, yes, somehow it’s satisfying to throw people off guard.. Awhile ago, I had a rather rough year on a new treatment and word got around in my small town. I guess many of them thought I was a goner, because I, too, experienced a few surprised looks when I ran in to people who hadn't seen me in awhile. They'd heard the rumors so seeing me in a place like the frozen food aisle of the grocery store looking perfectly fine, doing something perfectly normal like buying ice cream shocked their system. I secretly enjoyed the reactions. (Not sure what that says about me.)


  • gr4c1e
    gr4c1e Member Posts: 124
    edited July 2021
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    I'm not a warrior. I am however, an a$$hole with MBC. Yeah, you read that right. I have embraced my inner a$$hole. I'm not gonna lie, SHE'S AWESOME!

    She says what she thinks. She feels all the feels. She tolerates nothing and no one. She doesn't apologize for anything, ever. I wish I met her sooner.

    When I was first diagnosed in 2011, I tried so hard to play the part of "early stage cancer patient/warrior/survivor" but learned the hard way that I was doing it for other people, so they wouldn't feel uncomfortable around me. Always the fake smile, pretending I wasn't feeling like crap or in pain or afraid. Worrying about losing my job, my hair and my friends, only to find out that cancer is the big illuminator of everything good and bad in my life. My real ride-or-die besties stuck around and the only-in-it-for-what-I-can-take-from-you jerks went away.

    After my MBC diagnosis, I realized that I had accidentally let some leeches back into my inner circle. I recognized them immediately. My besties said; "Whatever you need, whenever you need it, call me, I'll be there." The others went straight into cheerleader mode: "You can beat this! You're so strong! Rah, Rah, Rah!" (translation - If you die who's gonna lend me money or give me a ride somewhere) THEN my inner a$$hole said out loud: "You know what? I really don't like you, so I'd prefer if you stay out of this, okay? Thanks."

    OMG, SHE has told so many people to kick rocks! It feels so good!

    THEM: Will yo.....

    HER: NOPE!

    THEM: I wasn't finished.

    HER: Doesn't matter, unless you were about to ask me what you could do for me today or if I needed anything?

    THEM: Well, I was just..........

    HER: Yeah, I didn't think so. (walks away)


    It turns out SHE is also a connoisseur of the f-bomb, working it into a rejection like and insult-savant! I love her so much!

    The other day my BFF said: "When did you get so obnoxious?" I said; "Well, I was going for a$$hole." My BFF said: "Nailed it!Happy"