#G I R L vs C A N C E R : KEEP CALM CANCER TIPS
Photography by Jay McLaughlin
So shit has just got real eh? The chemo has hit the fan so to speak.
An encounter with the c*nt they call cancer can feel like a right no-mans land to navigate.
Because I’m a little legend I’ve taken the time to compile my tips for those who find themselves or their loved ones in a situation as similarly shit as mine.
FOR THE PATIENT
1. TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. AND YOUR TABLETS.
Lordy this thing is a rollercoaster. It’s a long road and each cycle, each day is different. Listen to both your body and mind and please try not worry about side effects that may not show up. It’s pointless. I find setting alarms for my array of pills really helps things run smoother. Symptoms or not. Trust.
2. ASSEMBLE AN ARMY.
It may feel like it sometimes but you are not alone. Gather your troops and allow them be there for you. Yes even you Ms Independant! Assign a social secretary to update people or answer questions. There’s a lot to process and you’ll need headspace. Thank me later. Establish your Cancer Crew. They’ve been here, they know their shit and they will get you when nobody else does.
3. IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.
Get ready to be terrified, vulnerable, frustrated, impatient, irritable and to feel that FOMO good and proper. You don’t have to paint on a smile for no sucka or reply to that text right now.
I try to be brutally honest about it, your pals love you and will understand. If they don’t. Fuck ’em.
4. DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO.
Want to live off Maccy D’s for a week? Do it. Fancy fucking off the world and binge watching Gossip Girl? Go ahead. You need to do what you need to do to feel your way through this particularly wank set of woes. Some people slather on the maquillage and continue business as usual. Others lay in bed all day or write a blog *ahem*. Just do you darling. Whatever feels good.
5. BEWARE THE GRIEF GRABBERS.
Here it is, the message appears in your FB inbox, because of course these folk don’t have your number. They haven’t spoken to you in about eight years. It begins with I’m sorry, turns into a Question of Cancer and ends with an uplifting tale of a friend who had cancer, and died.
Pay these stories no mind. This is not your story. It’s poison and has no place here.
These people are here for their own benefit. To get their gossip and run. Let them. They’re c*nts.
FOR THE PALS
1. SAY WHAT NOW?
Of course you don’t fucking know what to say?! How could you?! I sure as shit don’t expect you to. For me it was important to be acknowledged. Saying something is better than saying nowt at all.
It’s as simple as “I’m sorry. I’m thinking of you. I love you”. Or an emoji. Really.
Don’t make empty gestures out of awkwardness or pure panic. It’ll disappoint the both of us.
And defo don’t say ‘I hope you get better’. HOPE? Bitch please what do you think this is?!
2. LITTLE + OFTEN.
I love that you love me. And want to be by my side. And invite me to things. So always ask. But if I’ve said no to a visit more than three times, it’s a good indicator I’m probably not down. It’s not you it really is me. Before texting a barrage of questions think – is this something I need to know or want to know? If it’s the latter it can probably wait – the Chemo Fog struggle is real my friend.
3. I’M STILL ME. SO BE YOU BOO.
Yes I want to hear ALL about the hot neighbour you’ve been banging non-stop and the siiiiick new sweater you’ve seen in Zara. I’m downright dying to find out wa gwan with that bitch who works in e-comm and that your bubba mumbled her first words. Life goes on. Indulge me! Please!
4. THINK OUTSIDE THE FLOWERS.
By all means bring flowers. They are a beauty to behold. But can you also bring a lavender-scented candle to help me sleep? Or cotton PJs? Lip balm? Moisturiser? Heated blanket? How about popping over to rustle up a soup whilst I catch up on kip? Oh and if in doubt, chocolate. Always chocolate.
5. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.
There really isn’t a hard and fast rule here. Use your loaf people. Be tactful.
Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean you can’t have a problem. At all. Far from it fam.
That being said, crying to me because UberEats delivered your burger to the wrong address the evening before I embark on my first chemo sesh is not a wise move. True story.