Angels Ethan Zohn and Gavin Robertson met in person for the first time to run the NYC marathon. Gavin, Ethan’s Survivor Angel, mentored him through his fight with a rare form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma called CD-20. They had nearly identical treatment plans and now, after Gavin’s success, they can battle marathons together!
Hodgkin’s lymphoma, previously known as Hodgkin’s disease, is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of two common types of cancers of the lymphatic system. The other type, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is far more common.
Read more at the National Cancer Institute.
I don’t know about you, but I felt like all of the crazy, zaney, hilarious misadventures of my life came to a screeching STOP! when I was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than waking up after a night of hard partying to find a cold, half-eaten slice of pizza in my purse (true story), I was spending my days engaged in deep soul-searching sessions and hour-long conversations about the meaning of life with everyone from my doctor to my cousin to the person in the stall next to me in the ladies’ room. At night, I logged some serious hours researching doctors, hospitals, and my type of cancer. I listened to endless hours of Musak while hold with the insurance company, took lots of naps, and just generally worried about the future. Clearly, this was not how I envisioned life at 26.
Looking back on it, there were entire months after my diagnosis where I didn’t laugh once. Not once! (Ok, so maybe I chuckled at some lame joke while watching Everybody Loves Raymond in the hospital waiting room, but that was more of a pity laugh than a true guffaw).
Of course, cancer takes a while to process—and rightfully so. But the one thing I needed most after all that processing was something to distract me from cancer and allow me to be a goofy twenty-something again. I’ve noticed that I, as well as most of my peers, deal with the ups and downs of life by enlisting a little humor or sarcasm. It doesn’t mean that we’re the jaded, misguided, “me” generation that the media claims we are – it’s just our way of coping.
Surely, I thought, my fellow young adult cancer survivors would be out there laughing in cancer’s face, right? (After all, we can’t expect grandpa to be crackin’ jokes about how testicular cancer has turned him into the Uni-Baller, or a five year-old to come up with a more original line than, “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?”). As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Of the many cancer websites, discussion boards, and books I’d read, only one tried to incorporate humor. Other websites on laugh therapy seemed like they were written by our parents, or copied out of those joke books you buy at the check-out line of grocery stores.
So, I started collecting some funny tidbits here and there. I want to share those with you now, in the hopes that someone out there will see them and break that awkward, depressing waiting room silence with a good chuckle, or at least find some pleasant distraction from the heaviness of it all–even if it’s just for a few minutes. After all, if cancer has taught me anything, it’s that every minute counts. So why not spend ‘em laughing?
Below are some links to what I found. If you have any others, please share them, too.
The Half-Million Dollar Shot
Emoticon War: SuperNews!
Gladys on the Ellen Show
Awkward Family Photos: Curly
Awkward Family Photos: Anything for the Shot
Contributed by, survivor, Amanda Pope.
I remember hearing about this guy who beat cancer and won some bike race in France. At the time, I was an avid mountain biker, hated road bikes, etc. seemed like too much work and not enough fun for me. A couple of years later, I picked up his book. From the first page, I couldn’t put the book down. I felt like he got it. He knew everything that I went through. Did he write this book for me? Of course not…but maybe he did. He wrote it for people like me who struggle with life during and after cancer. There is no guidebook for a cancer diagnosis, you don’t know what to do, how to act, what to say. Everyone feels sorry for you and they don’t know what to say either. Do they ask if you are cured? Will it come back? How was treatment? You feel completely isolated, because again, people just don’t get it. This book was my bible. I read it 4 or 5 times.
Read the rest of Joe’s story on his blog.
Jim Higley, one of IA’s Mentor Angels, writes a humorous column on fatherhood – Bobblehead Dad – for Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal.
His blog contains funny entries, most recently, about his recent marathon run in Rome, snow blowers, being a Dad, and finding his A-game.
Jim recently wrote an article about his 5th Birthday (his cancerversary). He talks about his cancer journey, his experience as a survivor and his new version of normal.
“But, the new normal is also unleashingly good. The new normal comes with the permission to live richer, to speak freely, to cry openly, to make mistakes, to take chances, to say “yes” to new things, and to tell those ‘someones’ in your life just how deep your love is for them.”
Cheers to that, Jim!