F___ You If You Have Never Had Cancer!


(Since Friday is Good Friday, I am using Thursday as my liberal expression day)

That's right. I just said, "F*&k you if you have never had cancer!"

  • If your world has never stopped;
  • you have never had to immediately face the reality of your immortality;
  • never witnessed the shame of your invincibility being brought down before you;
  • never interacted with all the well wishers that just make things worse by telling you about their friend/family member/or loved one that DIED of the same cancer you are fighting;
  • never received intravenously a chemical brought in by nurses wearing rubber gowns, in a bright yellow bucket with a covering warning of the dangers of exposure, WTF!;
  • never gotten high off of Benadryl given intravenously; and
  • never lost your hair as a result of those highly cautionary chemicals brought in by the nurse in the rubber gown or by a machine that applies radiation directly to your head.

In keeping with the theme of this week's National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week, I thought I would share the thoughts of a young cancer survivor, aka me.Therefore, I will tell it from my generation's diction.

"Be still, and know that I am God." That passage has stuck with me a long time as a result of my whole world stopping on or about June 17, 1995 at Lexington Medical Center when they informed me that my white blood cell count was over 160,000 (normal range 4,000-10,000). The following days of needle insertions, Hickman line insertions and reinsertions, chemotherapy, spinal taps, radiation to the head, constant monitoring and loss of privacy, and bone marrow aspirations were not that delightful.

Funny story. I got so sick, weak, and delirious on the first round of chemo that I believed I could still stand and operate my body. It had only been 1 day for heaven's sake. My parents finally decided to let my aunt and uncle watch over me, while they ran home to take showers and get clothes for a longer stay. When I tried to get out of bed, I had so many damn tubes going in me and I was so weak, I stumbled and stepped on some of those tubes.  Those tubes were connected to the Hickman line that was surgically inserted in my jugular vein. My 180lbs of downward momentum ripped that tube right out of my chest and the rest is kind of a blur. I remember a loud noises, lots of nurses in my room throwing sand bags on my chest to stop the bleeding, a shot of morphine, and an extended stay in the ICU.  That was just the first few days. I guess that wasn't too fucking funny was it?

Or how about one of the nights in ICU the first week when all the chemicals started really fucking with my head and .....


for some reason I thought I was on one of the aircraft carriers getting bombed during Pearl Harbor and there was an air raid so I jumped out of bed and ran for the hills (towards the window). Thank goodness my dad tackled me to the ground before I ripped all my tubes out again and jumped out the window because I had that crazy look to me. (I will save the priapism story for another day).

The "rubber hitting the road part" was when I had gone through my summer of hell and was actually trying to complete my senior year of high school at Mid Carolina High School in Prosperity, SC. On the first day of classes, my parents had left for work and I was trying to return to some form of normalcy (that's hilarious sitting here writing now, considering how abnormal I still am).  For whatever reason, while I was getting dressed I couldn't catch my breathe and ended up falling down and almost suffocating. I remember thinking this is how I was going to die. Putting on my clothes to go to school after battling all summer in the hospital. I was going to die tying my shoes. Perfect! I eventually caught my breathe and made it into school that day and for many days after that until I got my law degree.

I didn't write this to strictly vent. I also wrote it because we need to start considering more of what is really important and less of what isn't really important. Bad shit happens and will continue to happen to people until the end of times. Sometimes it comes in the form of illness, murder, economic woes, broken hearts/marriages, or injury.

Regardless of your personal woes embrace that anger and energy that can be predominately negative. Only you can harness that energy and try and reproduce positive out of the negative. Yes, it sounds like fucking bullshit, but if I would have continued on my path of self-pity, anger, and apathy I would have died as a result of my own choices, not because of some earlier mentioned woe.

Who gives a shit about the 24 hour stock market updates telling us the worse is yet to come? The housing market will never be the same. Unemployment is at staggering rates and we are going to be in such an inflationary period we will never get out of this hole.

Shut your computer down. Stop watching 24 hour CNN or FOX. Walk outside and smell the air. Go grab a leaf off of a tree and try and see the life running it's course in such a simple thing. Look at your right arm and then look at your left arm. Ever wonder how in the hell you are able to do that? See. Hear. Talk. Touch. Move.

More importanly LIVE! 


You are a Superstar. Start living like one.

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Bobby Rettew - April 9, 2009 9:05 AM

Thank you for being REAL! My wife suffered the tragic lose of her best friend, her teacher...her mother. My wife, even though she did not experience cancer physically, she experienced cancer emotionally over the last year of her mother's life. She woke-up one day and said, life is too short...why am I working for a boss that makes me dread coming to work. Her words became so real, vivid, and honest just like those you used. But she learned, life is too short and she became honest with herself and her "core group" and surrounded herself with the people who truely cared about her. She now is starting to smell the "breath of life" and I so thankful that I found this post to see others have shared this similar experience and thoughts. I commend you for your honesty. I could write for hours just saying thankyou...so thankyou!

Eve Kneece - April 9, 2009 9:06 AM

This is very true. I too am a cancer survivor. I remember talking with your mom when she was sick, that was before I had cancer.Only we know the battle you have to fight all others don't understand.
Eve Kneece

ken - April 9, 2009 11:46 AM

I have cancer too,I been taking chemo 9 months finished 2 weeks ago. Waiting to have a pet scan to see if the cancer gone or not.Even if it is in remission,this kind of cancer comes back.I cry for loss of life from cancer,for every one that cancer has touch their lives.Some how we go forward. THANK YOU, KEN

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