Cancer sucks. Everyone knows that. But even the shittiest circumstances can have their upsides. These are some of the perks of getting the big “C”:
- Sweet, sweet narcotics. Sure, you have to take a handful of laxatives with your Morphine and Dilaudid if you want to poop more than once a week (or at all). But nobody bats an eye when you ask for opiates to be injected into your IV. And that’s pretty boss. Just don’t go getting addicted. You might never poop again.
- Pre-boarding at the airport. When you have cancer, you’re allowed to pre-board. You know, when they invite those that need extra time to board? That’s you. You always get space in the overhead bin and you don’t have to stand in the aisle for a half an hour waiting for the people ahead of you to get their things settled. Whatever you do, though, do not make eye contact with the people boarding after you. Just put on your headphones and keep your eyes glued to your book. You’ll feel their resentment, but you won’t have to acknowledge it.
- Care packages. It’s crazy how much stuff people send you when they find out you have cancer! All the socks, beanies, scarves, puzzle books, and bubble bath you could ever want. Some people even send money (which is good because cancer is fucking expensive).
- You never have to pick up the check. People always offer to pay for your coffee, your movie ticket, your lunch. They always want to pick up the tab. I guess because they’re thinking you might die any day and it’s the least they can do. So, go ahead and order dessert. You’re gonna throw everything up anyway.
- You get a minimum of 100 likes on everything you post on Facebook. More if you include a selfie in your hospital gown while hooked up to chemo. This is great…at first. Then it gets a little weird. You start wondering if people actually like your posts or if they just feel bad that you have cancer. Try posting something really racist or bigoted one day – just to test if people are actually reading your posts or just clicking “like” as they scroll down their newsfeed. You might also learn which relatives of yours are actually racist.
- You have the ultimate excuse to get out of things. Chores, conversations, your job, relationships, showers. “Sorry, I can’t do the dishes. I’m just really tired from the chemo. Because…you know…I have cancer.”
- You get thin. Too thin, really. And I guess this isn’t an upside for everyone. But sometimes it’s nice to not have to do lunges to stretch out your fresh-out-of-the-dryer jeans for once. It’s a perk until you realize you lost muscle along with the fat and now it’s hard to walk up stairs.
- You can eat whatever you want. Unfortunately there’s not a lot you want to eat and everything tastes bad. But if you want ice cream for dinner, you get ice cream for dinner. Unless you’re surrounded by people that pressure you to fight cancer with food (my mom). Sorry, mom, I’m not cutting out sugar or eating 100 oranges a day. I’m eating ice cream, ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese. Because cancer sometimes gives you the palate of a poor college student.
- You may have libido issues at times (not an upside), but you are encouraged by doctors and therapists to masturbate and maybe watch some sexy movies and fool around a bit (upside). “Okay, okay…I’ll go back in my room til I have an orgasm.”
- You regularly know exactly how healthy your internal organs are. With the cancer, the chemo and all the medications, you’re always getting your blood tested and your body scanned. I’ve never known so much about my kidneys.
- People don’t get mad at you when you throw up on that table / floor / bar / sink / road / trashcan / sidewalk. Unless they don’t know you and assume that you’re super drunk. Related upside: prescribed anti-nausea drugs help with chemo nausea AND bad hangovers.
- You get to be your own memento mori. Each scar is a reminder that we will all die – but they also remind you that you’re not dead yet. You get to learn how strong you can actually be. You get to learn what friends and family will stick it out with you through tough times. You get to let go of all the trivial things in life that weigh you down because when you are fighting for your life, you discover what really matters to you (like living long enough to see the next season of True Detective).
I know you’re probably thinking, “oh man, cancer sounds so great.” It’s not. It sucks. But the upsides help. Especially the drugs.