October 20, 2003
Confessions of a Cancer Queen or Laughing All the Way
October 10, 2003
After seven years with cancer, there have to be at least a few perks. For me, the best one is still laughter. As long as I can laugh, I am still alive.
I have a confession to make. I was born a queen. I don't need someone else to hand me a crown and confer the title....I have just always known that I am a queen. It's the queen of what that always eluded me. But somewhere in my seven year relationship with breast cancer, it came to me. Not only do I now consider myself a Cancer Queen (or sometimes The Chemo Queen), I now even have the tiara to prove it! Husband Gene refers to me as "the Queen" or "her majesty". This delusion of grandeur is not confined strictly to family. A friend gave me a set of towels for Christmas with a crown and Queen Sharon embroidered on them! I wear the tiara around the house when I feel like I need a boost and was even known to wear it for chemo from time to time. I once went to chemo with the tiara duck taped to my head after the hair was gone.... those little comb things don't do too well on bare scalp! That exhibition was inspired by a lovely older woman who went for chemo at the same time as myself. She was having a terrible time with the loss of her hair, and sat quietly in the corner of the room, refusing to speak to anyone. For over a month, I had not heard one sound from her. She not only laughed that day, but after that she started making really cute, funky little hats for herself and became much more open to what life still had to offer.
My whole theory is that if I can't be slightly eccentric at 52, what good is all the fighting I have done to get here???? At this point I do as I damn well please. I refuse to be the nice quiet little middle aged lady with that disease. For whatever the reason, I am still here. I will continue to fight to be here as long as there is any quality to my life. And I pray for the wisdom to know when it is time to go home as we Irish say. In the meantime, I am still ALIVE. And like the song says, girls just want to have fun!
I now live in a small mountain community where apple orchards blanket the landscape. I have planned a float for the annual Apple Festival parade next fall and hope to carry it off with the help of friends......planning, of course, to still be here. You know the kind of small town parade I mean. So many people IN the parade that you wonder how there could be enough people left to WATCH the parade. We will be the BC Queens float. Big hair (very big hair, tiaras, long gloves, sequins and rhinestones... the whole nine yards) or bald with tiaras, if that is where any of us are at that point. To sit on the float, you have to have mets. If you are a pink ribbon you don't quite qualify for a queen, just a lady in waiting and they walk beside the float.
Those of us with Breast Cancer Mets know the meaning of lady in waiting. They hand you the pink ribbon after your first diagnosis and then you spend your time waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We are looking for sponsors for the float so we can use it to raise money for the local Breast Cancer foundation. If that is too in your face for those people who want to pretend all breast cancer is cured and that a pink ribbon makes everything okay, then too bad. I just wish I had the nerve to have my mastectomy scar tattooed like one woman did. Perhaps I will get a vine with beautiful flowers growing on it, or a quote such as "Here today, gone tomorrow". Or maybe just cut to the chase and have "Long live the Queen" emblazoned across my chest in Old English script. Why not? Maybe I can get one last laugh from the funeral home.
Remember, you don't count as a true queen unless you have the nerve to wear it while in the company of others! LONG LIVE THE QUEENS!
February 18, 2002