Cha-ching. Oh, yeah!

When you have cancer, you can fight it in a bunch of ways. You can do what your docs tell you and take the meds they give you. You can change your lifestyle in regard to food, physical activity and stress. You can pray. You can meditate. You can reasearch all of the different philosophies out there.

When you begin to look into the various options of eating differently or taking supplements or herbs, you can fall down quite the rabbit hole. There is so much information out there as I’ve lamented about in other posts. But this one thing keeps popping up for me. When someone sends me an article about some new way of dealing with cancer, I’m happy to read it. I’m even happier when I see that the suggestions are limited to eating more of some food, less of others and avoiding certain things (maybe processed foods, sugar or deodorant with alumninum) with some strong data behind it. I’ll even look into doing some radical things. Hey, if I could stand on my head every day and that would keep cancer away – I’d start today! But when the theorized “answer” to the problem happens to come from a person selling stuff…I immediately shut down.

PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO CURE MY CANCER BY SELLING ME YOUR STUPID SHAKEOLOGY (that costs enough to cover a small monthly car payment) BEACH BODY PEOPLE!!! Ok, ok, so no one did that explicitly. (I do love me some Shaun T and of course my Beach Body fanatic friends…though some of you could bring it down a few notches.) So no one tried to make me buy Shakeology to cure my cancer. But lots of slightly less weird things like that have happened. Someone gently or not so gently suggesting that I “check out” their(or their friend’s)_____. Sidenote: only infomercial item to truly change my life so far in my 35 years: SNUGGIE!!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not totally against all things sold in a multi-tiered fashion. I love me some Scentsy and Sabika jewelry. Thirty-One has some handy bags. Good products, and no one’s ever been pushy with me. Also, and most importantly, no one has suggested they might cure cancer, lol. But there are some real opportunists out there and it’s making me grumpy.

There are the private, non-traditional nutritionists (the ones who do very expensive blood tests to design a very expensive personalized, cancer-fighting eating plan.) Although on that one, I’m letting my friend Mary be the guinea pig…a little too pricey and not quite sciency enough for me, but I’m waiting to see what her experience is like. The chiropractors (who are supposedly nutrition experts with lots of supplements for sale.) The juicer fanatics – and you have to buy the enormous Vita-Mix. The supplement advocates. (Those are the best because you can’t just buy ANY Vitamin C, it has to be THEIR brand of Vitamin C…yadda yadda purity yadda yadda absorbtion…that they happen to get a nice discount for, which they would be happy to pass along to you.) The acidity-alkaline people who say you need to test your urine PH levels constantly (they have a great price on those ph strips, by the way!) and that baking soda cures cancer (yes, that’s a thing.) Read about it here. Although in that case, baking soda is cheap and readily available…oh, nope. Wait. It’s only if you take this special SUPPLEMENT version.

There is a web site for a “Miracle Healer” that states on its home page “A MIRACLE HEALING CURE FOR ALL TYPES OF CANCER. CLICK HERE!” And books. Oh my goodness, the books.

I guess I’m just ranting because I feel like people with cancer are vulnerable and sometimes totally desperate to find a cure or even something that will tip the scale a tiny bit in the right direction for them. If you can possibly tack on a point or two to your percentage of your chances of survival by eating organic chia seeds…you’ll probably do it with deep dedication. (Chia seeds are weird, delightful and expensive by the way!) But, money is no object when we’re talking about survival. And that’s what’s dangerous and where things get weird and even unjust. So the cancer patient willingly parts with the cash and the chia farmers cash in. Nothing against chia seed farmers. I’m sure they are all lovely people.

I feel angry when this happens to me. While I have so many wonderful people who are doing things for me, supporting me, sending me amazing cards and gifts, praying for me, I do encounter the occasional person who (I can’t say for sure, because I don’t know their heart) seems to kind of see me as a business opportunity. Hey, how come nobody sees this blog as a business opportunity?! Let’s monatize this bad boy, Lol. Seriously though…it’s icky. My heart kind of drops when I see the first red flags of a sales pitch. In my mind, I go “Oh, I thought you cared about me…I get it now.” Sales is rough – I know. I “sell” the idea that you should give your hard earned cash to help homeless people. That’s a tough sell, sometimes, Friends!

But what really makes me mad is when I see people (cancer patients, people in financial trouble, people in chronic pain) who are less cynical and suspicious than myself going down that path. Easy prey. I feel bad for the guy who just needs a job and is selling Amway Vitamins. Having to unload useless or overpriced products to people who don’t need them is a thankless, unstisfying job (unless you’re VERY good at scamming people in which case, I’m sure it’s quite profitable and therefore fulfilling in a certain, icky way.)

Probably, most of the people selling this stuff are selling it because they believe in the product. Which is better than the smaller number of people who see a financial opportunity in a desperate, vulnerable population and decide to capitalize on it. Those are less nefarious folks, I suppose. Less evil and more just…not very smart? Yeah, being easily influenced and “drinking the Kool-Aid” if you will, is less bad than simply trying to take cancer patients to the cleaners. But even so – I’m glad you love your JuicePlus, Zeolite Enhanced, CalMag Formulas, your Vitamix, your tantric shaman in the Himalayas. But if it requires me to whip out my checkbook…you’ll be drinking that Kool-Aid alone, my friend.

Now, all that being said, while there are some really crappy people out there looking to make a buck…most people are just hopeful – hopeful that something will work, that maybe they can help, that they have knowledge that will be helpful. I can process through the weirdness and most of the time get to that sentiment. But if I could make a request – please don’t try to sell someone with cancer something. Unless it’s a really cool new eyeshadow that is just life-changing. Or chocolate covered pretzels. No matter how vegan/paleo-gluten free/sugar free/chemical free I am…I just can’t say no to chocolate covered pretzels. It is not possible.

Separating love

So my friend, Laura gave me this bracelet 

I really like it and wear it almost every day.  It’s glass and some little gems and trinkets rattle around in there.  There is a sparkly cross and a square with the word LOVE.  I noticed that the cross and LOVE had gotten stuck together and they ain’t movin’.  
I like how they rattle around, so I tried to free them with all manner of shaking and tapping, to no use.  So for a while I’ve been vaguely annoyed by it.  It frustrates me deeply that those little pieces are stuck.  Rattle around, freely!  Clink charmingly against that flower!
So this morning I was listening to a Tim  Keller sermon and this was the Scripture:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, 39 ESV)
So, the cross and the LOVE square wont separate in the bracelet no matter what I do.  It’s a nice reminder.  I like it how it is now.  

Confessions of a Cancer Patient

Sometimes unloading a random heap of honesty is just what the doctor ordered.  Ready? 

I’m not an optimistic person generally speaking.  But I’m surprisingly optimistic about my cancer.
I would rather be in a live show like Rent or Cats or whatever than to go and see it.  But I like dressing up and going to dinner!  And I like dancing.  Shows with lots and lots of dancing are the exception.  Also, I love the circus.  
Hair styles that haven’t changed since 1987 just amaze me.  I stare because I just can’t believe it.  Does no one say anything or do these people love it so much, they can’t part ways with their feathered mullet?
I think it’s weird when you post a bazillion pics of your girls night out that seems to happen every few days.  New Years? Fine.  Bachelorette party? Sure.  But…Tuesday, August 14th?  Are the duck faces supposed to make us believe you are all very happy?  They generally cause me to assume the opposite.  I see the emptiness behind the mascara, Girl.  
I will never relate to the pages in my InStyle magazine that encourage me to spend $1,600 on a fur bedazzled wrap as an “investment piece.”  I mean…who is doing this?  I would like to give them a tour of the homeless shelter where I work even as I am encumbered a bit by CANCER.  Buy pretty things, yes.  Things that make you feel a little special and cherished.  But don’t buy outrageously impractical things with any kind of regularity when kids don’t have enough food and people are still dying of diseases.  Your money can be so powerful if you use it well!  
Mayonnaise is terrible.  Look at it!  It’s awful.

If you eat it, I like you a little bit less and wonder what on earth is wrong with you.  I am capable of loving you, still.  But you may not live in my house.
I do not understand the sense behind plopping our kids on a strange, elderly man’s lap to talk about toys and candy.  It’s pretty weird when you think about it. 
I mean, ummmmm…?

I think my hair has not fallen out yet because it is afraid of me.  
I barfed blueberry oatmeal all over my entire bathroom during post-chemo round 2. 

 It was so icky, sticky and nasty, one of the cats came by, poked his nose in, then shrunk back, backed out the door and ran away.
So, those are today’s confessions.  Hope they made you laugh or feel less alone.