2019 Blog Hop Challenge Questions

OK Nancy, here ya go!

  1. Who are you? If applicable, share anything you want about your cancer (type, stage, when diagnosed, whatever.) Share something about yourself such as where you live, the name of your blog and it’s “mission”, a challenge you have faced or are facing now, or whatever you want.

My name is Wendi Dennis, aka Cancer Curmudgeon—a name I chose because I never had a nickname growing up, and well, you know my crappy attitude.

I was diagnosed on Oct 25, 2010 (a few days before my 39th birthday) with Stage 3B breast cancer, E/P negative, HER2 Positive. I didn’t really know what any of that meant. I do now.

I live in America’s Coolest Small Town (2014) Berlin, MD. You can see my town in movies Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting. I am a Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) native many generations back—but I am NOT much like others in my town. It’s very conservative and faux Southern. I am not.

My blog is called Another One With The Cancer, and I chose the handle Cancer Curmudgeon—at the time I was coming at blogging and general social media crap via Tumblr, where real, actual names were not a thing (still aren’t). I kept my real name hidden for a couple of years out of paranoia but I guess I’m over it now. See the about me section on my blog—explains the names and all.

When I began the blog I thought: if ONLY people knew what it was REALLY like to have breast cancer, all this pink fluffy shit would evaporate. I was an idiot. The blog evolved into just musings for the like-minded, so those who had similar views would not think of themselves as crazy/ungrateful/bitchy/etc. I’m just preaching to the choir, basically. 

  1. Have you ever participated in a blog hop before? 

Nope. 

  1. What’s your favorite sort of blog post to write and/or read – personal story, informational, how to, controversial, political, opinion, rant or other? 

At the risk of sounding lame, cannot say I have a favorite sort. Personal story and rant probably.   

  1. Describe yourself in three words. Yes, just three! 

Procrastinator, moody, introvert

  1. Name three of your favorite books from your youth (whatever age that means to you.) that had an impact on you. 

“To Kill a Mockingbird” – because, duh, faux Southern

Any of the Ramona books—because I love an agent of chaos

“Interview With the Vampire”—cliché, I know. But it made me realize I actually loved historical fiction best. If I had time to read books these days, that would be my genre of choice. I eventually grew frustrated with Rice’s florid style. But the book will always kindle a glow in my heart. 

  1. What are you reading right now, or what’s on your to-read list for when you have time?

Just the horrible news. I’m all podcasts all the time now—so I can absorb while driving, walking dogs, etc. It’s mostly news and politics. I have enjoyed American Hysteria tho’—which is more about stupid crap Americans believe.   

  1. What’s your favorite dessert of all time?

Cheesecake and brownie sundae; I refuse to choose between the two. 

  1. Tell us about a special pet you have, had, or would like to have. (Never wanted a pet, that’s okay too.)

Cats, cats, cats. My most recent cat was euthanized at the end of June and I am still not over it. She was never supposed to be a pet, she belong to a neighbor. But she chose me and I accepted. I hope her final 2 years with me were good. 

  1. What’s something people don’t know about you and might be surprised to learn?

Not sure I can surprise my readers—I’ve kinda put it all out there? 

  1. Do you believe healthcare is a privilege or a right?

A right. And even for those that believe it to be a privilege—with the costs so high that only a slice of America could possibly afford it—how is this fucking fair?! 

  1. What’s your favorite thing about blogging and/or reading blogs?

Connection with other regular people—not paid media 

  1. What’s something you really suck at?

Most things! Argh, next question! 

  1. What’s something you’re pretty good at?

Loving animals. 

  1. How do you escape from cancer (or life in general) worries?

I “escaped”—if I could call it that—from cancer right into politics which is also a nightmare. So escaping from worry? Hmm, YouTube and other curated social media. I was into pimple popping there for a bit (admit it, if any of you were too). Funny cats and other animals too of course (videos and memes). Tumblr was a big help when I was in my immediate post-treatment phase. I am forever grateful to members of the MCU fandom—it really helped. I even did some proofing of fan fiction—totally new for me back then! Those ladies will always hold a special place in my heart. These days it’s stupid K-pop/BTS crap. I formally apologize to all who follow me on Twitter, for all the ARMY crap I’ve been RTing lately. I need the break from reality so that’s what I’m amusing myself with for the time being.

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For the Millionth Time

I had a mini-meltdown a couple of months ago. I was so angry and frustrated that I was ready to give up on all the political activism/advocacy I’ve been doing the past 2 and half years. The evening before I’d explained for the millionth time (or so it seemed) what kind of help I needed in content creation and dissemination, and it just fell on deaf ears. I know this, because I am STILL struggling this evening.

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I angry-drove on back country roads in the very early morning hours, fuming and fussing to myself. I realized how much it was like life in CancerLand. One of the reasons I’m not as active here on this blog, on my FB page or @curmudgoe Twitter account is that I look at the conversations there and just think: “been there, done that”. I don’t have the energy to explain, for the millionth time, why warrior metaphors are harmful, that slapping pink on everything doesn’t cure breast cancer, that blaming victims flat out sucks. I just have a hard time getting angry that Facebook/Instagram once again censored a mastectomy patient’s image—didn’t Scorchy Barrington handle that back in 2013 or 14?

I took a few breaths and reminded myself of something I wrote a few years ago. It is up to us. I once was very motivated to keep explaining the shittiness of cancer, of letting the more recently diagnosed know that no, it isn’t all pink ribbons and beers for boobies parties. That it’s OK to hate it, because so many others of us who’ve gone before hate it too. Don’t have anything nice to say? Good, come sit with us (to paraphrase Dorothy Parker).

This isn’t a job exactly, this cancer advocacy, nor is my political volunteering. The newly diagnosed will come to realize some truly crappy insights, and it is my choice to support and help them expand. Their people around them might not be helpful, and I—along with other long-time bloggers—have a few tools to help with that. Same with my other activities. I must stand firm, and explain, for the millionth time, maybe in a different way, what they need to hear, so I can get what I need, so that change can actually happen. I still believe in that, as jaded and cynical as I am.

Now, if THAT isn’t a helluva cancer lesson, ha ha.