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fuck cancer

If cancer were a person.

If cancer were a person.

If cancer were a person, they would be a sadistic sociopath with a vile heart. They would be cunning and sarcastic, laughing at your accomplishments and gloating about their own. They would be tasteless and tacky, cocky and offensive.

But cancer has another side. A Hyde to their Jekyll. They are brutally unbiased and non-judgmental; making no opinion on a person based on their race, age, gender, lifestyle. Cancer accepts everybody with no discrimination. It won’t stereotype you. It has an endearing work ethic, and doesn’t accept defeat readily. It’s productive and skilled at it’s craft. Cancer wants to be friends with everybody, no matter who you are.

Recently, a friend in our cancer community was given a devastating blow; it had returned. She had been in remission for a few years. Her hair grew back; enviously beautiful and long. She moved on, but cancer came back. It’s like an abusive ex-boyfriend, but worse. This news sent a shockwave through her community of followers and cancer survivors.

She is the epitome of health and hope. She did everything right and took every precaution to protect herself from cancer. If it came back for her, it will surely come back for me. But the ugly truth is that cancer doesn’t care. It’s not fair and it fucking sucks! It doesn’t care if you smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, or if you are a Vegan who drives a Prius. Sure, one of those two are statistically less likely to get cancer, but seriously who the hell knows anymore? If we all didn’t eat/drink/use the things that science claims cause cancer then we would all starve, smell, and be bored as fuck.

I’ve settled into a happy medium this past year, I try not to let cancer scare me. I do certain things to keep my cancer recurrence at bay… Tamoxifen, Tumeric, CBD, exercise, less sugar, less meat, less dairy, less alcohol (def not around the holidays though). But I also have my vices. I’m not giving up alcohol for good. I do, however, think that the years while I was drinking wine every single night and on birth control for like 10 years probably unleashed my genetic cancer mutation. But, again, who the hell knows. See previous post “Did wine give me cancer?” And occasionally when I’m a little drunk, I bum a cigarette from a friend. Bad, yes! But I am owning it. If you’d like to send me an email about how perfect YOU are, by all means do it. He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her. 

Blah blah sugar is bad and I need to try an alkaline vegan diet and start taking activated charcoal and smoking weed every day. **Sighhhh** Everything causes cancer and is bad. Pollution is bad, should we stop breathing? Stop driving cars? No. Well maybe if we could all ride unicorns instead.

We’re all doing our best and I think that’s enough. We are enough. We’re held hostage in a game of Russian roulette with cancer. We really don’t know. So go on and live your life as healthy as you can. We all have our little weaknesses, but we know our bodies. I truly think that the best defense against cancer is optimism. Visualize your future without cancer. Manifest your positive thoughts into existence. THAT shit actually works pretty good. Pray for your friends and family’s health. PRAY for my friend who had a recurrence. Send her your positive vibes, prayers, energy. She’s got this! We’re all behind her.

We’re all going to be okay. I know a lot of people are freaking out about a recurrence. I did too. I still do. But I am actively making a decision to stay positive and encouraging to all my cancer warriors. Be vigilant in your journey but stay calm and know that it’s really not in your control. Surrender your fear; free fall into the peaceful energy of the universe and let it catch you and take you where you’re meant to be. Namaste betches.

Advice to the newly diagnosed

Advice to the newly diagnosed

Recently, I had a close friend who was diagnosed with cancer. This was actually a first for me. This is a real life friend who has cancer – like, not a friend who I met on social media after my diagnosis. I have plenty of friends who have fought cancer, I just haven’t met 99.9% of them!

(Side note: My social media cancer friends — can we all get a cancer conference together? Or maybe we all just meet in one city and go out for a weekend where we drink cocktails and look hot AF and show the world that cancer doesn’t have shit on us?!? Seriously, I think this needs to happen.) (Update–We’re also burning our wigs in a giant bon fire.)

Back to the main topic – I told my friend “welcome to the club!” because he’s now my cancer buddy! Also, he’s the same age as me so he’s joining the young cancer club which is an elite few 🙂

So we pow-wowed a bit and talked about cancer. He told me that his diagnosis was very eye opening, because before it happens to you personally, you kind of tend to make broad generalizations about cancer. When I say personally, I mean either YOU have cancer or your close family/friend does. And when I say “broad generalizations” I mean that most people don’t know jack shit about cancer. The unknown is what causes panic, fear, anxiety. The panic causes us to Google. The googling causes us to panic more.

So in light of our realization that most people don’t know shit about what it’s like to have cancer, I wanted to share a few things. For the newly diagnosed (whether it’s you, a friend, or family member) 7 little tidbits of advice and what to expect — because I wish that I had somebody who told me these things.

  1. First of all, when you’re first diagnosed you’re fucking scared. (Duh, you know that) You basically start planning your own funeral.
    I want everybody to wear white, not black, drink vodka sodas, eat Royal Farms chicken, and have Elton John play Tiny Dancer. Oh, and blast my ashes into outer space in a pink sparkley rocket.
    As cool as your funeral plans may be, just stop it. You probably went on the internet and found the worst-of-the-worst cancer diagnosis scenario and are now convinced that you’re going to die. Stop it. Step away from the Google machine. Questions? Call a doctor, not WebMD. The internet is not your friend; the internet is the boy in 2nd grade who stole your Lunchable.
  1. Secondly, Cancer is (usually) more emotionally taxing on your loved ones than it is on you. Why? Because YOU (as the cancer patient) know that you’re inherently going to be fine. Sure you will freak out at first, but eventually, after you have sat with the doctors, after you know what a PET scan is, you know what your options are. You already threw those imaginary funeral plans in the invisible trash because – guess what— today more people are living from cancer than dying. But most people don’t really seem to grasp that. Especially your crazy [insert emotionally unstable relative here] who is so completely incapacitated with worrying about you that you find yourself always calming them. HELLO?!… This crazy relative doesn’t have cancer, but that doesn’t stop them from hyperventilating in Home Goods because they found napkins with pink breast cancer ribbons on them.

    So the neurotic relatives are one thing — but whoever your caretaker is during this time (husband/wife/mom/etc) — be extra nice to them. It’s the hardest on these people. They may not be the ones that are sick, but they see you at your worst. The burden that they carry as your lifeline during your darkest hour is heavier than they are ever obligated to endure. It’s an emotional crusade to stay strong, to be the rock, to tell white lies to family when they ask how you’re doing (Doing great!). When really… you spent the past two nights throwing up like you did in your high school/college party days after you drank enough “jungle juice” to drown an elephant. The caretakers are our unsung heroes.

  1. Third, prepare for a shitstorm of questions. You’re going to get questions and comments from anybody and everybody you’ve ever met (like that annoying girl you sat next to in freshman Poly Sci who now has enough babies to start her own little league team), and they are going to be so stupid/invasive/absurd that you’re going to whisper to yourself “whatttt the fuuucck” more times than you can count. Because they will ask things like: “Oh, so I guess now you can’t really have kids, because you can’t breastfeed right?” I’m not sure this person knows how a baby is born. Perhaps an anatomy lesson is due. “So what does cancer FEEL like? You could feel it right? It hurts?” If I could feel cancer… I would have been diagnosed a lot sooner, ya genius. I had a tumor, and yes I could feel that, but cancer doesn’t really have a feeling. Its symptoms are rarely noticeable which is why it goes undiagnosed in most people. “Oh you’re not going to die, the prognosis is good, right?” Just… never, ever ask a cancer patient about their life expectancy unless you are a doctor. Well, even if you are a doctor, you’re still running a high chance of getting crane kicked in the face because nobody wants to talk about an appraisal of their time left on Earth like we’re chit chatting about sports statistics. If they aren’t talking about it, don’t ask about it. Don’t mention dying. Ever.

    So like I said earlier… please understand that most people are just misinformed, not malicious. Think about it… before your diagnosis, did you know that there were different combinations of chemo? Did you know that not everybody needs chemo, and that not every type of chemo makes your hair fall out? Did you even know what radiation is?

    I admit. I didn’t know any of this. In my stupid brain I thought that people who got cancer usually died, or else it must not have been that bad. I thought that there were “good kinds of cancer” that were easy and similar to getting a virus treated with a Z-pack. I thought that people got cancer as a result of living an unhealthy lifestyle. Wrong Wrong Wrong.

  1. Fourth — know that no matter what kind of cancer you have/had… the psychological effects remain the same whether its stage 1 or 5. Maybe you had stage 1 and the cancer was removed with minor surgery and no further treatment. Maybe you had stage 4 and cancer riddled your bones and the crevices of your insides. The self loathing and guilt that comes with a cancer diagnosis can be crippling. It fucks with your mind. Why did this happen to me? Was it because I [insert any bad vice/behavior here]? Did I cause this? Too much bacon? Not enough green tea?
     
    You will constantly ask yourself “Will it come back again?” With a cancer diagnosis, you also get the pleasure of the grim fucking reaper snagging a permeant home in your subconscious. This grim reaper visits in seasonal times. He’s lounging next to you at the pool or standing across from you at the bar waving — as a friendly reminder that  you could die. “Howdy ho neighbor! Just here to ruin your day!”
     
    The fear of cancer returning. The anxiety of it recklessly colonizing and disabling your body in an unexpected homecoming. It’s a paralyzing thought that can hit you at startling moments. Death stalks you.
  1. You don’t have to tell everybody. Refer to point 3. It’s up to you. I thought I had to tell everybody. You don’t, and not everybody needs to know you have cancer.
  1. Time will fly during this scary period in your life. Which is good. It’s not one of those times you really want to “stop and take in the moment” like they tell you at your wedding. Your diagnosis will be a flurry of appointments and treatments. You’re constantly looking towards the next date on the calendar, next doctor, next chemo, next follow up. Before you know it you’re sitting here 1.5 years later with actual hair on your head, eyelashes, and new boobs. If you had chemo like I did, you’ll probably not remember a lot of the specifics during the hectic times (chemo brain – see previous post). The memories will float in your brain like a clouded drunk memory. Pretty neat-o!
  1. You’re going to be okay. Cancer taught me that even if I do…die…someday from cancer… that will be ok too. I’m not afraid to die. It will make you brave in weird ways you can’t understand. It makes your family brave. It makes relationships stronger. It makes your faith stronger. You’re going to be fucking fine! Calm your tits.

If you’re newly diagnosed, or just have questions feel free to ask me. I have plenty more unsolicited advice! Even if your questions are weird and hopefully just mildly offensive that’s fine too. I want to educate people. There are too many things that we don’t ask or don’t say to each other because we’re afraid or embarrassed. Get over it, talk about it. Put an end to this stigma that cancer is a death sentence or that it’s contagious (oh yeah, forgot to mention I’ve heard that question too).

Be nice to each other, stay healthy. Ciao betches.

Eyelash extensions can go to Hell

It’s a love-hate relationship. Like, right now, I hate them. I got eyelash extensions the first week in April, when my eyelashes were presumably long enough to have extensions. The salon I went to was overjoyed to have me, and my $210. YES, that’s right: $175 plus I gave a $35 tip. Plus… I went back twice to get them “filled” for $80 each time. Round of applause for me. Again, I’ve found something stupid that I’ve wasted my money on. If you haven’t noticed, I am suffering from extreme buyers remorse at all the things I could have spent my money on instead of dead eyelashes.

I am going to refrain from listing the salon’s name, because truthfully I don’t think it was THEIR fault. I don’t think that the lash technician had actually ever put eyelash extensions on a chemo patient, so I don’t think they knew what to expect. I think that they just hoped for the best and swiped that credit card faster than a vegan at Whole Foods.

The first time was great, she placed small, thin individual lashes on my lashes. It basically just made them longer, which is what I wanted! Four weeks later, I had them filled and there was a new lady… she put on larger cluster lashes because she wanted to give me a “cat eye” look. I didn’t ask for this cat-eye look, but when she said “all finished!” in her upbeat Ukrainian accent and popped a mirror infront of my face, I couldn’t help but be impressed. Hot damn, momma’s lashes looked good!

Those lasted about a week before they started rapidly falling out and taking out my real lashes with them. Soon, I had large gaps and awkward chunks missing in my lash line. Hot damn, momma looks like a HOT MESS.

I went back in to get them filled by the same girl who originally did my lashes. She explained that the reason they were all falling out is because eyelash extensions are basically “like putting a really heavy backpack on a really small kid… the weight is too much for him to carry and he can’t grow if he’s carrying so much weight.”

**Sighhhhh**

Well since I was already there, I figured I’d try it one more time. So she tried to help me out. She put on really small, thin lashes very sparingly and tried to just make them look normal again. I barely lasted three days before over half of them had fallen back out. My lashes had clearly had enough. They were exhausted from carrying these heavy fake spears of vanity and gave up on life.

**Moment of silence for all of my fallen lashes**

By day 6, the extensions were all gone. Every. Single. Lash…. was now somewhere in my Dyson vacuum laying solemnly in a grave of gray dust and pet hair.

The point of my sad sob story isn’t to make you feel sorry for me and my stupid fleeting eyelashes_before_afterattempts at vanity. I actually just wanted to send out a warning signal out there into the cancer community to anybody considering doing this as well. I really didn’t know this could happen. I thought I did enough research prior to my decision to get the extensions… but I didn’t look hard enough or talk to enough people. So heed my warning betches considering the pros and cons of these fluttery felons!

Yesterday, I told my plastic surgeon about my sad eyelash story. Without sympathy or regard, he told me to take Latisse like he had prior advised. OK I get it, nobody feels sorry for me. I impatiently sabotaged my normal, healthy growing eyelashes with these fake lash-slaying harpoons on my lids. Whatevsssss. LIVE and LEARN people. Live and learn.

My next plan of action is that I am trying castor oil on my lashes… which has been advised by numerous other cancer patients… and I’m going to suck it up and buy the Latisse. Which actually costs less than the extensions. For those wondering… castor oil is not motor oil! It’s from some sort of bean… a …castor bean? I assume. Yes. I Googled and it’s a bean. Also, my Google search revealed that these beans are also commonly used by children in Brazil as slingshots. Soooo there’s that.

If anybody has any other things you advise, please let me know! I am open to LITERALLY ANYTHING. I am even rubbing slingshot bean oil on my eyes for fuck’s sake!

I just wanted to end this post on a side note about hair. I’m really missing my long hair lately. Many of you who know me, know that I also like to “twirl” my hair while I’m working or thinking. Can’t do that now, and it’s driving me bananas So if you’re having a bad hair day, or think you hate your long hair and want to “pull a Britney Spears” and shave it all … Kindly shut the fuck up and go rub some oil in your eyes. HA! Ok ciao betches.

Buy my Fuck Cancer bracelets!

www.etsy.com/shop/BetchesGuidetoCancer

By popular demand, I’m selling my bracelets on Etsy! I also can do custom bracelets. Want something crazy? Is Pizza your BAE and you want everyone to know it? I can make you a “I <3 Pizza” bracelet to show your love. Or maybe you hate everyone and want one that says “I hate everyone.”  Whatever your sweet little heart desires, my darling! I got you betch!

I’m also in the process of getting some fun tank tops and t-shirts made. They will be available soon!

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