Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hey Man, We're All Dying. Right. Now.

I am still going to tell you about the funness that was Saturday.  But before I write about that I need to get this off my chest.


People seriously do this all the time.  All day long it’s: 

“Oh, you’re smoking a cigarette.  Did you know they cause cancer?”  

This isn’t even an exaggeration; people still think that in this day and age there are people who don’t know that smoking kills.  Apparently there are also still people who don’t know that smoking looks cool.  At first.  Then it just feels good.  Then you don’t even really know why you do it but smoking just becomes a part of your identity.  Are you a smoker or non? “I’m a smoker.” You know, that kind of thing.  And then to give up smoking you’re giving up a part of your identity and people won’t know I’m a badass unless I’m smoking because obviously anyone who’s a smoker and does something several times a day that could kill them is obviously a mother fucking bad ass mother fucker.  Suck it.  (Ps, I’ve been quitting for a few months now and I’m doing pretty durn good but I do miss being a bad ass every day.  That’s why I bought a leather jacket. Bitches love leather jackets.)

*ahem* I digress.  Cancer - People yell at me all day long:

“Make sure you wear sun block.  You could get cancer if you don’t!”

“Oh, you’re using a cell phone – cancer.”

“Oh, you ate something with high fructose corn syrup – cancer!”

“Whoa! Danger! You have a vagina – cancer!”

“Your mother’s brother’s sister’s cousin had cancer – you’ll get it too!”

“You have to always be thinking about the 500,000,000,000 things that cause cancer! ALWAYS!  Constant Vigilance!”

Seriously guys?  I work with cancer. 

Cancer is on my mind all day, every day at work.  That’s 40-50 hours a week of thinking about, joking about (hey, you deal with this shit all the time, you’ve gotta joke about it), talking about, and crying about, cancer.

If you really think that I’m turning a mother fucking blind eye to cancer, you’re a fool.  I probably know more about cancer than most people who’ve died of cancer. (I say this with the utmost respect for people who’ve had cancer.  Please don’t take offense to that – my own grandmother died way too soon, way too quickly because of cancer.  This rant is coming from a place of frustration.)

Listen, I like you, I really like you.  So please don’t take up my time off the clock (aka out of Cancerland) by reminding me that cancer exists.  I know it exists.  Cancer signs my paychecks – actually, more than that – fear of cancer signs my paychecks. 

If I spend 40-50 hours at work every week consoling the bereaved, helping people going through chemo and arguing with doctors and nurses because their patient is too damn sick to do it on their own - I think I deserve the rest of my waking hours to think about anything other than cancer.

Yes, I know that we don’t have long to live in this mortal coil.  Yes, I know that cancer affects everyone – young, old, rich, poor, physically fit, physically unfit, smokers, nonsmokers, vegans, carnivores – we are all just as likely to get cancer or die of some other dreaded disease as we are to die of old age or by getting mauled by a bear.

But the fact of the matter is that I can’t spend every waking minute obsessing about when my life could end and why.  I’ll take the necessary precautions (quitting smoking, wearing sunblock, eating more fiber, etc.) but I refuse to live in a bubble just because cancer might decide to come knocking on my door some day.

I fully believe that if cancer is meant to come for you, it’s going to come for you.  Don’t spend every day in fear that today it’s gonna pull your name from the hat. 

Life is too short to worry about when and how we’re going to die.  Worry instead about how you can celebrate the days you have left to look forward to.

Annie Jay


  1. This is the best post I've read in weeks - I couldn't agree with you more. Everyday the papers come up with a new cause of cancer... so we wrap ourselves up in fear and cotton wool and forget to live while were healthy xxx

    1. Thank you :-) And you're right there's always something new coming to kill us haha

  2. I agree with you on so many points in this post. If we all sat around worrying about everything in the world around us that causes cancer, it would be pretty grim, and our worlds would get pretty small! All you can do is do what you do normally, take normal precautions and live your life instead of obsessing over the ways it could go wrong.

    1. Exactly - take normal precautions. I seriously feel like it's a roulette wheel when someone gets diagnosed with cancer. Sure there are all of these known risk factors but you hear all the time about the people who've never drank, never smoked, always eaten right and exercised getting cancer. You can't protect yourself from it completely, stop trying and start living instead.

  3. OMG. EVERYTHING causes cancer (and autism) - I'm so tired of it. It really does make so many people live in fear. Great post. I'm going to go microwave my Glade plastic container and EAT out of it now...

    1. You're right, Autism is another one. And I microwave my crappy plasticware all the time. So far I'm still standing ;-p

  4. Ugh. Everyone's so damn worried about dying these days they don't live at all. I climbed trees, rode horses, (GASP)played outside, rode a bike without a helmet...all SUPER DANGEROUS activities. Astoundingly, I'm 35 and still kicking. I saw a post recently about a woman who was berated for letting her kid climb a tree in a park. Sigh. Everything causes cancer, everything is dangerous, and I could get struck by lightning tomorrow (ok that's unlikely in December in MN, but you know whta I mean) at some point can't we just say "fuck it" and just live without worrying about the 17 bazillion ways we could die?

    1. Yes! I can't stand the parents that don't let their kids go outside and play because they could get hurt. Once again, take the necessary precautions, but live your darn life!