Sunday, January 24, 2010

- Cancer Perks (Anna Nalick)

Yes, I know - a title like "Cancer Perks" is just . . . well, wrong. Cancer is horrible and ugly and yukky-poo-poo and all that stuff, but hey - once ya got it, ya might as well flaunt it, right? I mean, it's not like it's gonna go away if I'm always slamming it, right?

So while I'm not exactly going to embrace it, I might as well look for the silver lining. Assuming cancer is a cloud, that is. Which it is. A cloud. A big, ugly, dark, black cloud.

Ah, but there are perks!

Okay, let me get started proving this . . .

Cancer Perks   by Wendy Farha
Some of the perks of having cancer are:

1. People are nicer to you. They look at you sympathetically. Sometimes they make cooing noises. They speak in softer tones. If they were accustomed to passing you by, now they feel too guilty to do so, and so they start talking to you. 

If they used to totally dis you (that's "show disrespect for", for all you less "with it" folks), now they come right up to you and hug you. Sometimes they look at you sympathetically, make cooing noises, speak in softer tones, talk to you, and hug you all at the same time!

2. They buy you stuff. Like chocolate.

3. They bring you stuff. Like chicken soup, which is clinically proven to cure things (cancer, for example). Stuffed little doggies & bunnies. Get Well Soon cards. Money (ok, that last one is wishful thinking, perhaps).

4. When you tell people you're too tired to come to their events they, like, believe you.

5. You get to sleep in all the time and nobody calls you slothful.

6. You can go for days without washing and nobody calls you a piggy.

7. You can go for days without getting dressed and nobody calls you a slob.

8. You can decide not to look for work and nobody calls you lazy.

9. If you laugh and joke around, everybody says you're brave.

10. If you smile, everybody says you're brave.

11. If you show up at an event, everybody says you're brave.

12. You get to try on lots of different kinds of wigs and nobody says you're so vain.

13. At the hospital, you get to have lots of people fussing over you and asking you how you are (as they poke and prod you . . . okay, maybe erase this one).

14. You get to meet tons of truly brave men and women who are facing their adversity with courage, stamina and dignity. You also get to meet ordinary people whom others may not call "brave", but who are doing the best they can with a disease they never asked for and hope they never get again.

There are probably other perks, but I just can't think of them right now. Okay, now on to the next category:

Chemo Perks   by Wendy Farha

Some of the perks of getting chemo are:

1. You don't have to shave anymore. For a swarthy woman like myself with Middle Eastern roots, this means I save, oh, I don't know, around 20 hours per week in hair removal. 

All of that shaving and tweezing and plucking and waxing . . . how delicious it is to have 20 extra hours per week to devote to causes more worthy than de-moustaching myself! (by the way, there are some women who do still have to shave their legs, but so far, mine are lookin' pretty bare!)

2. You save SO much money on things like shampoo and conditioner and hairspray and molding putty and mousse and hot oil treatments. No hair, no care! 

3. Chemo kicks you into menopause, so no expensive monthly products! (There are male readers here, so I won't do the list.)

4. Chemo kicks you into menopause, which eliminates the monthly visitor, which means . . . no PMS!!! How's THAT for a perk? (No, men, "chemo shots" are not available for your wife or significant other. Suffer.)

5. You get to meet all kinds of other cool people who are also getting chemo. It's like one big happy chemo family!

6. When you're getting chemo (at the Jewish General Hospital, anyways), you get a nice Lazy Boy chair to sit in plus a color TV that's attached to the wall, so you can watch all kinds of cool programs (if you're not too busy talking to all kinds of other cool people who are also getting chemo).

7. You get a free lunch! The nice Jewish General Hospital volunteers come around and give you a sandwich, a drink and a Jello (plus there are always lots of plain cookies kicking around the chemo ward). Plus the person accompanying you gets a free lunch, also! So when people say, "there's no free lunch", it's probably because they've never been treated for cancer before at the Jewish General Hospital.

Well, I could go on, but I guess that's enough for now. I'm feeling pretty good! Last night I sang at Westview Bible Church's Talent Show, and guess what? I won first prize! Whoop-de-doo! There were 10 acts in all, I think, including some spiffy line dancers, a pianist, a poet, and some other singers. There was some real talent in that place last night!

There were 3 amazing judges whom I was able to bribe before the show began so that they would say nice things about me and influence the crowd, and sure enough, when the votes were in, they crowd had picked ME! Hope they weren't pity votes just because I've been sick, although I'd be just fine with that, too.

Tonight should be really interesting! Liliana, the Film Crew and I plus some other folks are going to "Cancer Can't Dance Like This", a one-man play written and performed by Daniel Stolfi, a young man in the midst of his own battle with cancer. 

Liliana and her crew will be filming the entire show and then afterward, they'll be filming Daniel and I chatting about his wonderful project. 

So it should be great! I'm resting up all day so I'll have enough energy for this evening . . . that's the way it works lately. If I pace myself and try not to do too much, my body seems willing to co-operate with me. Thank you, Body.

Here's a neato song for you to listen to. See you next time!

"Breathe (2 AM)"   Anna Nalick

2 AM and she calls me 'cause I'm still awake
"Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?
I don't love him. Winter just wasn't my season"
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize
Hypocrites. You're all here for the very same reason

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe

In May he turned 21 on the base at Fort Bliss
"Just a day" he said down to the flask in his fist
"Ain't been sober, since maybe October of last year."
Here in town you can tell he's been down for a while
But, my God, it's so beautiful when the boy smiles
Wanna hold him. Maybe I'll just sing about it

Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, boys
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe

There's a light at each end of this tunnel
You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand

And breathe, just breathe
Breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe


  1. Speaking of perks: I remember my friend Diane getting all excited when she got a disabled parking permit, so she could park close to the entrance when she went shopping.

  2. How do you come up with these things? You're brilliant, Wendy.