Breast cancer has become the Cancer Du Jour in this country. The “IT” cancer, if you will. There are benefits, auctions, and television specials devoted to the the subject. In the summer and fall, millions walk for the cause. In October, specifically, it seems as if the entire country turns pink. Nowadays, a bald head and a pink ribbon can turn a woman into a cause celebrity.
When I was sick I received cards proclaiming, “You Make Cancer Look Good” or, my personal favorite, “Chemo–All the Cool Kids Are Doing It!”. Really? All the cool kids are getting chemo? I consider any situation involving a kid and chemo to be tragic. As for adults, I do not believe the poplular cliques aspire to inject poision into their veins. Chemotherapy is designed to kill cells in your body. The treatment leaves lasting damage to your brain, your heart and your joints. Undergoing chemo is not something that calls for a cute Hallmark card.
Once, upon seeing my bald head, a co-worker commented that cancer was a blessing in disguise. A vehicle for personal transformation. She looked me dead in the eye and proclaimed that my cancer was a gift.
Really? A gift? Well, I don’t see it that way. I was pretty happy before. I wasn’t looking to transform my person. In fact, I liked my breasts and ovaries just fine, thank you. I was grateful for the life I was living. My work was interesting and I was blessed with a loving family and friends. Besides, since it wasn’t my birthday or any other special occassion, I wasn’t really expecting a gift. I certainly did not want breast cancer.
So, for the above well-intentioned co-worker and other misinformed well-intentioned folks, I submit the following:
No, Cancer is NOT a gift
No one wants to open a box of Cancer for their birthday
It is not bright and shiny like a diamond ring
I cannot bring Cancer to my friend’s annual gift swap (I’ll trade you a Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma for that lovely cashmere scarf…)
It is not an appropriate re-gift
Cancer is not eligible for a refund and cannot be exchanged in stores (as in–can I return this cancer for a head cold?)
It cannot be recycled, Freecycled or upcycled
Cancer does not sell well on EBay
You can’t hide it in the back of your closet to sit and gather dust
Worst of all, Cancer’s return policy sucks