Cancer and humour

I have found that a humorous perspective on my situation has often been helpful. I stumbled across a few books I would highly recommend that provide a particularly humorous look at the cancer story. They are all excellent reads.

The first one is titled “Cancer Made me a Shallower Perons: A Memoir in Comics” by Miriam Engleberg copyright 2006.  Engleberg is bitingly funny with her wise comics that reflect the reality of the cancer experience. The highlight for me was a cartoon about when one can be called a cancer survivor (is it as soon as you are diagnosed? What if there is a metastasis? The final panel is of a woman on her deathbed saying something like  “I’m still breathing, I’m a cancer survivor!”)

Meredith Norton’s “Lopsided. How Having Breast Cancer Can Be Really Distracting.” ( copyright 2008) had me laughing out loud with her irreverent take on the breast cancer experience. She managed to put a humorous spin on each event along the way of her journey that offered a richer glimpse into her true feelings about the experience than a straight testimonial could ever provide.

“Cancer Vixen” by Marisa Acocella Marchetto (copyright 2006) is another graphic novel describing this fashionista’s dive into the cancer world. Her New York world is certainly miles away from my own, but this only added to the humour of her situation.

My hope is that much of what we receive for the book will be humorous. There might be funny events that happened, but more importantly, my hope is that people can find the humorous side of their experiences.  In doing so, they may provide to others much greater comfort than sharing raw food recipes could ever do.

Here’s a draft of a poem I’m working on about my tendency to play scrabble on my phone while I am in in the various waiting rooms that I visit.

Playing Scrabble in the Waiting Room

9:00 show up for bloodwork

Only 40 people ahead of me.

It’s a good day as the blood lab herds people through like sheep


The computer scrabble game on my phone,

my saviour on waiting room days,

does not know that I am referring to the French word for “wait”,

but proceeds happily with the assumption that I am paying close attention.

I am in fact attending to the numbers counting up by fours or fives,

waiting for the magic one to be called.

The first wait is not too long.


I’ve put away my scrabble and am primed to move the moment they call my number.

I’m greeted like an old friend in the blood lab.


After the needle I’m off to the doctor’s clinic.

The waiting room is packed,

the doctor is running 1 ½ hours behind


I love my doctor and it is her generosity

That leads to the long delay.

I practice patience and pull out my lunch.


After two hours of waiting I try to find out when I might be called in.


I’m next, hurrah.

 to go to another room to wait some more.

I want to lie down on the bed and sleep


I’m revived by the entry of the doctor

and her whirlwind of energy.

A brief encounter, and then I’m off to the chemo unit

I arrive only to find that my medication is not ready.


I sink lower in the chair



I’m still waiting


I’m close to tears when I am finally called in

for my five minute treatment

3:00 pm

My full time job as a patient is over for the day.


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