30 Things Not to Say to Someone Who May Have Cancer (Which Have All Been Said to Me)

#17: “You no have cancer.”

1) Don’t worry! You don’t have cancer!

2) There’s no way you have cancer. Stop being such a tall baby.

3) Hey dickhead! It’s not your time yet, all right. I know this for a fact. So shut the fuck up already.**

4) You don’t have cancer. Yet.

5) You don’t have cancer, but your whining is giving me a headache.

6) I spoke to our dead mom and she said you don’t have cancer.

7) Don’t die please, Dad.

8) Wow Dad! That’s really fucking crazy!

9) If you had cancer, you would know you had cancer.

10) I know you don’t have cancer because I’m never wrong about these things.

11) How do I know that you don’t have cancer? I’m a witch!

12) My father and grandfather both had it. It’s really no big deal.

13) Hey, at least it’s giving you something interesting to write about.

14) Well, if you have to get cancer, at least this is a good one to get.

15) I’m choosing to believe that you don’t have cancer and that you have a fabulous sex life in front of you with stupendous boo-tay.

16) It’s 90% good! Don’t worry! No reason!

17) The Korean girl who does my nails said you don’t have cancer.

18) The good news is that cancer is an even better chick magnet than getting a dog.

19) What’s the worst-case scenario anyway? Um, nevermind.

20) Hey, man, diapers will be a good look for you!

21) Just think ­– this could be one of the last times we’ll ever be able to have sex together.

22) You’ve already had cancer! What are the chances of lightning striking twice?

23) How long is your lease?

24) I had a dream that you didn’t have cancer and that you slept with Penélope Cruz. It’s a sign!

25) It’s like you’re inside a Coen Brothers movie.

26) With global warming, chances are none of us are going to be around in ten years anyway.

27) It’s always You! You! You! What about me?

28) Hey, not having sex will be like when you were married.

29) Don’t worry, babe. You’ll be fine. Everything will be okay.

30) Can I have your iPad?

** (Update: Okay dickhead, so maybe you do have cancer. Happy now?)

A Literal Panic Attack

panic attack

Panic not at the disco.

I’m going to get that sonogram a week from today and have been praying to what’s-His-face, usually first thing in the morning and sometimes late at night when I can’t shut off the caffeinated monkey voices in my head. Here’s what I’ve been saying:

Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer! Please don’t let me have cancer!

After a few minutes, I start singing it to the tune of the old Animals song “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” It’s become my new mantra and the truth is, I’m not really even asking Him (and not even sure why I keep capitalizing the H either, although I’m told He’s kind of into it), I’m really just trying to convince myself that I’ll be okay.

By simply putting the words out there to the Universe (cap U intended), maybe whoever’s in charge or even some Twilight Zone-looking aliens or, you know, really anyone who is kind enough to listen will listen, and when I go for the sonogram next week, the doctor will tell me that I’m clean and I’ll start crying like a baby, you watch.

I didn’t plan to write this. I was working on another post about beginnings and endings, and as soon as I started to riff about how I’ve always hated all kinds of endings and how I usually handle (read: don’t handle) goodbyes, the “Please don’t let me have cancer” refrain came spewing out, and even as I write this now, I have no idea what’s coming next.

It’s the opposite of writer’s block — a literal panic attack — and the only way I know to calm myself down. I don’t know where it will lead but hope/pray that I arrive at a place where I feel like my old self (sans cancer), and that it’s not my time just yet.

That’s exactly what my friend Ralph said the other day and Ralph is never wrong and right now, that’s good enough for me. 

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