Telling people you have cancer can be maniacally fun - ludicrously lucrative - utterly horrifying and totally awkward. I sympathise with the poor Doctor. It is hard because you really have do idea what the reaction is going be. Everyone has their own story and experience, so it can go well with a warm hug and well wishes, or it can go super south and you can get barf on your shoes.
Here are some of my favorite reactions.
" Oh well, you always wanted to get them hemmed anyway." Which came across with all the humour of a baby down a well.
"You look tired - you teachers, you must be really enjoying your summer off." Actually my full time-time job right now is battling cancer. Oddly enough that is kind of tiring - like talking to you. excuse me.
Excuse me - excuse me ( to a group of men standing at a bar) OK BOYS! move it over cancer coming through. ( free drinks)
"Oh my god why are you crying over her - it is just boob cancer" ( he is now single)
" Wow you look great!" Are you working out or on a diet or something?" Yes I am on the cancer diet. It is not what I am eating but what is eating me.
"Oh my god Kelly. I am soo sorry. (tears) May I hug you?" Yes. " Oh my god it must be really bad"
And my absolute favorite - the first person I called after I got the official diagnosis said.
"Are you calling me because I have no emotions? Yup. "You want Taco Bell?" Yup. "Cool"
It seems there are no rules. For anyone. Cancer has a voice its own.
Sometimes I just blurt it out. Sometimes I do not say anything. Sometimes Liza blurts it out. Like in Las Vegas. At the Bellagio Chairman's Club check in. Hello sweet suite. The amazing woman - Lily - took the time not only to really talk with me and cheer me up but also to arrange a week in the Penthouse suite - not just one night. This made one man very angry. He kept walking up to the counter - with his cured ginger and pino - demanding to be served. He was clueless that his interruptions were just prolonging the moment.
" I pay a lot of money to stay here - why are you making me wait?! ( picture angry Euro pastels - orange tan, and lips with so much botox I could have licked them and stuck him to the wall) He stormed off to his toddler gf who had boobs that envied mine. Except hers were frozen in time to her chest like the expression on his face. Nothing was moving except the giant lips. Lily was doing her very best. She called for back up.
Sir pas of tells was now coming unglued. I got another glass of wine. What a great show. I love Vegas. The gf tried to calm him down by saying his turn was coming. I thanked her for her patience. The sarcasm bounced off her rubber maid double ee's and hit him square in the face. Opps. He started stomping his little feet and went right over the line. He was now yelling at Lily.
"My turn is not coming, - CHRISTMAS IS COMING!! " My tumour went right to my mouth. I channeled my inner Liza.
"Actually, the only thing coming is my eminent demise from cancer - so if you could settle down and sit down - NOW - this will go a lot faster. " And it did.
Lily offered to walk us over to the private elevators. She was shaken as was I . As we exited she asked me very quietly, "Kelly, did you really say - Next time, get some botox for your heart and try to make it sizes two sizes to big."
" Yes Lily I did" She took my arm and smiled at me. " I knew you were special the moment you walked in. " I started crying. Liza took my other arm.
" Oh Lily," said Liza, with a huge grin, " You have no idea."