Cancer Fakers

I’ll never understand them. I came to the internet/world of social media, specifically starting on Tumblr, to connect with others who have my cranky views on cancer. Very early on I began interacting with someone who wound up being exposed as a fake. I was not particularly hurt by the incident, just kind of saddened.

Luckily, I did not interact with this most recent faker. I followed her for a time, but quit because her numerous inspirational posts were just not for me. So I am fortunate to not have the very hurt feelings I am seeing expressed by other cancer patients on Tumblr.

As my name, Cancer Curmudgeon, suggests, I am a cranky, socially awkward type who does not easily make friends—even on the interwebs. So the few I have met and love and call “friend”—both in CancerLand and in other areas in the wonderfully weird world of online fandoms—I value deeply. For me it is the best of this thing so derided and lauded: the internet; the way I can connect with others I would never have met IRL, because of distance. Having a faker mess that up, well, it just sucks.

It’s not that it is impossible to talk to people who do not have cancer, it’s just nice to connect with fellow patients who know exactly what I mean, who’ve been there. As much as I hate to say that those who’ve never had cancer don’t “get it”—because I think sometimes as a blogger it is my job to make others “get it”—sometimes it is true, and it’s nice to be with those who “get it”, without having to explain it. So at the risk of sounding exclusionary, to have a cancer faker run around in the midst, it just makes me want to retreat back into my shell. Naturally suspicious of others, I become even less trustful, less willing to share thoughts, to reach out.

I’ll never understand Munchausen’s, if that is the actual case with this faker, seegirllive. I do not even care to try. Why someone would pretend to have cancer when I’d give anything to not have had it, just baffles me and it is not worth my time to ponder it. I just hope this whole incident dies down, goes away. I need to get back to the business of keeping the beast of my upcoming scanxiety down, of my continued physical recovery, and trying to…well, I’ll never make sense or get around that WTF just happened feeling that happens when treatment ends, but at least I’m getting better at living with that feeling. So, forget about that cancer faker, and I hope all other fakers just stop it. I’ve got healing to do, so do others, get out of our way.

Ouch That Still Hurts

This happened a few days ago. Just a couple of hours after I commented on another cancer blogger’s recent post that I am now less irked by the clichés people say to me, I got a message via Facebook from someone I had not spoken with in years, urging me to let go of all this cancer stuff.

Well I was a little more than irked. In fact I was quite hurt.

While the message was more personal than the trite “you’re so brave/ a warrior”, or “aren’t you a better person now”, it was still in the aren’t-you-over-it-now territory. There was a little bit of magical, fairy tale thinking to it. And it came from a person who’d had cancer many years ago, along with other personal tragedies, including a family member who died of breast cancer. So it was one cancer patient telling another how to “do” cancer.

I know the intention was one of goodness, this person truly wishes me well. But not having had an actual conversation with me in over five years, she has no clue where I am emotionally on anything, especially cancer. She managed to hit nearly every sore spot.

I blog for many reasons: to connect to others whose view or experience of cancer is not the sanitized TV version; to sort out the emotional fall-out; to express my rather cranky take on cancer so others, who feel the same way, don’t feel bad about it; to create a space for myself where I could vent without the lectures I’d received implying I was doing cancer wrong. I went back to Facebook earlier this year solely to create a page for my blog, in order to expand and strengthen connections to others with cancer. I use it as a source of news too, but that’s about it. I rarely post things about my life—I just hit like on the wacky things I like, at random. And oh yeah, this is why—as I’ve written often enough before, sometimes it’s just better to never discuss cancer with family or friends (I Can Pretend, My Reality and Your Fairy Tale, I’m Allowed).

I thought the stupid shit people said to cancer patients didn’t bother me as much as it did in the raw days during and after treatment. Nope, still does. Ouch, that unwanted advice still hurt me.

Heeeere’s Cancer!

I cannot take a break from cancer. It pops up even in my escape plans.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about watching “60 Minutes” specifically to see Anderson Cooper interview someone much cooler than himself—Dave Grohl. Before the Grohl segment came on, I sat through a segment on embryo manipulation—removing the faulty BRCA mutation to end breast cancer. My little respite from cancer was invaded. Then a few days ago, I tuned into “The Daily Show” to see Grohl discuss his awesome History of American Music Cities again. And whaddya know, before his Royal Grohliness was interviewed, more breast cancer!

It’s not that I disliked the piece mocking the Komen-fracking-pink drill bits, indeed I loved it. I’m just fussing because every time I want to take a break from cancer and indulge in other interests, it pops up.

Grrrr.

I’ve discussed in older posts the concept of “getting over cancer”, how friends and family expect patients to just be “done”, they think that after treatment, things like recurrence, lingering side effects don’t matter. I’ve read many other bloggers discuss this topic. People ask, “aren’t you tired of talking about breast cancer?” Duh, yeah! But not talking about it does nothing to reduce risk for recurrence or a new cancer. Writing about it is the only thing helping me recover emotionally. Furthermore, look how unsuccessful I am when I do try to forget about it. Watching TV, escaping into music or whatever, cancer creeps in. I hardly ever get to the movies anymore, but the one I managed to take in, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, don’t ya know, opens with a scene of the hero as a child, his bald and weak mother in a hospital bed, dying right before the hero is whisked off into space to become this Guardian. I loved the film, but was very upset for those first few minutes.

Take a break from cancer? Yeah, I’d like to. Doubt it will ever happen tho’.

here cancer

You’re A Mean One….

My fave piece of holiday wear.
My fave piece of holiday wear.

I have not been able to write and post lately. The final two months of the year are busy for a pet sitter, what with all the client travel. I’m so tired, when I sit down at any point and get online, the only thing I want to do is find Vines of animals mewing or barking, to entertain the pets I’m sitting. I really need to start making Vines of my own of my pets reacting to the sounds emanating from my devices.

The other reason is of course, I’m a Cancer Curmudgeon. This time of year CancerLand blogs are filled with posts about gratitude and joy, still alive in the face of cancer. I AM grateful to be alive after cancer, and grateful to be super busy right now—for the money, and the distraction that keeps me from focusing on my anxiety. 2014 has been my year of fear, and if I just keep moving, I don’t think too much. So I move.

It’s just that my blog is mostly an outlet for my rants, complaints, gripes, etc., and this time of year does not seem to be a good time to post such things. So I don’t. But that does not mean I have not found things that annoy the hell out of me.

I worry my curmudgeon-y-ness has made me incapable of seeing the good in anything. My ability to grouse even in the season of good cheer makes me think, oh man, what if I’m The Grinch?

I’ve found myself at odds with so many articles I’ve read about cancer lately. News tidbits that so many folks seem to rally around just piss me off. I do not like anything anyone says about breast cancer at all—whether they support the rah rah Pink stuff or criticize it. I don’t like Pink’s message, but I cannot seem to even agree with those trying to counter it! I don’t like anything—what is the matter with me?!! I am the worst breast cancer patient ever!

OK, maybe not. I’ve been doing some soul searching, thinking about why I blog, what I hope to achieve, etc., lately. I know I cannot offer counsel or advice, only a testimony of cancer as I see it, with the idea that if anyone sees cancer in some of the same way, they are comforted they are not alone in their views that are not exactly the “norm”. Because during and after treatment, I often thought, “am I the only one that thinks…”, I sought out blogs and began one of my own. I am the Cancer Curmudgeon, no more, no less. I notice whenever I tend to gain a few followers on social media, I lose a few. Guess I should post warnings about the nature of this blog and my attitudes more frequently. My only message is: if you think this, I thought so too. There are times I disagree with everyone, and everyone will disagree with me. “Oh well, whatever, never mind” (do I really need to list the source of that quote?). I hope that is enough for some.

Lovers of Dr. Seuss’s “Grinch” (the book and the 1966 cartoon, not that horrible Jim Carrey/Ron Howard film) know The Grinch finally learns the power/magic of Christmas, joins hands with the citizens of Whoville, sings that silly song, and carves the roast beast. So maybe being The Grinch is not all bad. I’ll likely never start holding hands and such in CancerLand, but I am capable of growing my heart—I hope that comes through in all of my grousing.

Maybe this post is just a roundabout way of saying: look out, more grousing to continue in 2015!