The Almost Serious Guide To Having a Parent With Cancer

I got some terrible news today. My dad’s good friend from childhood lost her long battle with breast cancer.
Holy hell, cancer! What the fuck are you doing with all these good people!
Anyhow, although I often like to feel like I’m out of the norm and special, the truth is, everyone knows someone with cancer. And I’m realizing now how I cherish hearing how other people dealt with their parent’s diagnosis. It truly makes me feel a teeny bit less scared about it all. I guess I just feel less lonely about it. Anyhow, with my mom’s battle with cancer, and now my dad’s, I’ve created a little guide for you people out there who’s parent was diagnosed.
Disclaimer: Sarcasm is my middle name, I’m not mocking cancer but laughter is the best medicine and way less toxic then chemo

  • Try to find the good things about chemo and bring them up. Like, maybe being able to paint a little beard on your dad and making him go and ask some random person, “Deal or no Deal?”.
  • Make sure your parent’s team of neuro-residents thinks you’re cute. Neuro-residensts are hard asses. Its one of the most complicated fields in medicine. They aren’t where they are today because they fell for some broad who batted her eyelashes at them; probabaly because her eyes were swollen shut. If they think you are cute, they are more likely to save you and to communicate to you your aftercare instructions if they want to hear from you again. Play by the same one night stand rules you usually do.
  • Slut-it-out: If the team of doctors and nurses are indeed ugly, make sure to show up for your dad’s surgery and oncology appointments looking like a total slut. School girl outfits that are five sizes too small ought to do the trick. There is no rhyme or reason for this step, it just sounds like fun.

    Come hither you resident neuro-surgeon

  • Sport some shades: When you have to run around town with sunglasses on because you’ve been crying so much, wear them with pride. Pretend you’re a rich bitch who had work done or pretend to be some celebrity too famous to be out in public.  Really sell it by getting a by wearing it indoors or even in a place that’s darkly lit like a movie theater.

    Yep, thats me in the shades, the prettier woman on my left is my roommate. But i look more "famous"

  • Make sure you are surrounded by people who want to “help”. Start demanding an ipad2 and maybe have them pick up the medical tab. Hey, they wanted to “help”!
  • Return to normal activities: like being a demanding, snarky bitch.
  • Milk it for all its worth: Use this difficult time to get out of tickets when you get pulled over. Think about the cancer, cry your eyes out, and talk to the police officer like he’s your therapist telling him every trauma that has happened lately. He’ll probably let you off because his ears might explode.
  • Woe is you: Remind everyone about how difficult this has been for you, ignoring how hard it has been for them or better yet, your parent.

Ok, anything I should add?

24 thoughts on “The Almost Serious Guide To Having a Parent With Cancer

  1. Oh Eden. Your sarcasm always keeps me coming back. Ok, that and the fact that you are awesome.

    And the come hither picture–o hot damn that’s sexy. Seriously. Any neurosurgeon would go for that. Too bad neurosurgeons don’t look like mcdreamy in real life huh?

    always in my thoughts :)

  2. I would only add – eat lots of comfort food like, oh I don’t know, say Blue Bunny Caramel praline crunch frozen yogurt. Not that I’m not guilty of it or anything ;)

    Make a punching bag labeled “cancer” and beat the living daylights out of it!! Not only does it burn off all the caramel praline crunch calories but it makes you feel 20 times better!!

  3. I am very blessed and lucky to say I haven’t had to deal with this type of tragedy in a way that hits so close to home. My grandfather had just begun his battle with Parkinson’s when he died of pnuemonia, so we never saw the suffering. My other grandfather has struggled with other physical maladies, but although they have taken an emotional toll, it is different from cancer.

    Anyways, I admire your ability to return to normal activities. I might not have had to deal with quite the level of stress you are dealing with, but I do know that trying to maintain a sense of ANYTHING normal is helpful in trying times. [And being a big ol' cryer, I know that sunglass trick works.]

  4. Laughter is most definitely the best medicine! You’ve given me my dose for the day, that’s for sure.

    I especially like the sunglasses tip. I do that all the time when I want to hide how I’m feeling. Or creep on people…

  5. Ha! I did this and still do with my mom…thankfully she has a sense of humor. There’s been wheelchair/bedpan/wig/”Bosom” jokes not to mention the Depends (which she is finally done with…hallelujah). Sadly I didn’t have enough time with my dad to joke around about it but I know he would have been a willing conspirator.

    I’ve been meaning to sport the indoor/outdoor shades look but haven’t found the right (i.e. large and gawdy enough) pair yet. Just a matter of time though….

  6. Despite the sucky topic, I do think that humor & sarcasm work well as a venting mechanism. Again, let it all out hopefully it will make you feel somewhat better.
    Cry. I am not a cryer but sometimes a real good temper tantrum cures all.
    Run. Run till your legs and lungs hurt and you feel like you can take on anything.

  7. Your sense of humor in such a hard time is so refreshing :) I know that cancer can be so so serious, and I think you are right, sometimes we just have to laugh in its face! Just like we must do sometimes with ED :)

    I am glad to hear you happy :)

    Scott

  8. Definitely get back to normal activities- I can’t stress enough how- no matter what- I exercised. And i swear that it saved me. I rediscovered dancing when my Dad was dying.

    Stay positive- at least in front of your parent. Lie if you have to-even if you think the world is ending, tell them that it is not- because hope plays a HUGE role in survival rates and in quality of life.

    If possible, spread out the ‘stress’…let people shoulder some of the burdens. And if no one is offering something that you need help with, do NOT be afraid to ask. People are often very, very happy to help, but they don’t know how- or they are afraid to butt in. Don’t be shy- use all of your resources.

    Stay as calm as possible while being “you”. Try to be yogic and bring the anxiety level down a few notches. This is true during crises and just in every day activities. Yet it’s important for your parent to see you being normal, and not fussing, worrying more than absolutely necessary.

    Have some goals for your parent: something to strive for: a show that opens later in the year. A trip. A visit from a long time friend. Again- back to the hope.

    Keep your parent busy: if his energy allows, let him do ‘stuff’ he likes: fixing things, gardening, helping you with little things like giving advice on your life, or helping you in some other way- make him feel needed as much now as before.

    Your list was funny and mine was more serious- hope that didn’t spoil the whole funny mood of the post- with you slutting out and all.

    One funny story I already told you: My white-haired/short cropped Dad and I went to lunch after his first chemo appt to a chinese restaurant. The waiter had really cute long-black-spikey hair. My Dad looked up at the waiter and after he left he said ” Hey, with any luck, my hair will grow back looking like that! :-D

    Hugs.

    • So true, all of it! I keep telling my dad he’ll be one of the few that will live a while with this. Deep down, I’m totally thinking the opposite, but I’m all positive to him. You are beyond wise about all this, you should write a self help book (with smoothie recipes).

  9. This will come in super handy as I deal with my mom’s breast cancer. Too much cancer these days…way too much.

    Thinking of you my friend, and as gorgeous as your roommate is, you are a knockout yourself!

    • Ameena, where is your mom being treated? Since my mom had breast cancer since I was born, we know the ins and outs of breast cancer oncology in LA. Let me know if you need a reference. The truth is, most women beat breast cancer. My mom got an infection in her lung and the cancer spread to the other lung so it go complicated. Don’t think that breast cancer is a death sentence, and treatments theses days are very advanced.

  10. I haven’t had a lot of first-hand experience with cancer but I do like your approach. I cracked up at Howie!

    I think your writing is awesome and will help a lot. I’ve been blogging for 10 years (not food-blogging. I have a livejournal.) Writing out my feelings always helped me cope with life.

    That and Ben & Jerry’s. Not that I condone that necessarily.

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