A disclaimer: this is a very angry rant. It's the kind of rant I have been holding back for eleven years. It is now spurred by the things being said about John McCain's death, directly after Aretha Franklin's both from cancer, and both from people who have never dealt with cancer. It is not filtered through an anger translator, but I look forward to Samantha Bee handling that for me at some point in the future. Please take it with a grain of salt. Thank you.
Obviously, but let's unpack that a bit by specifying all the things ABOUT cancer that can go fuck themselves.
First off, fuck cancer. Fuck the quirk of biology (or if you're into that sort of thing, fuck God* **) for causing perfectly healthy cells to mutate so as to completely take over a body, destroying it from the inside using itself as its weapon. Fuck that.
Secondly, fuck fucking ribbons. Fuck pink ribbons and grey ribbons and blue ribbons. Yes, you'll see me put a grey goddamn ribbon on my facebook profile, or here on the blog, when it's Brain Cancer Awareness Month, but fuck that. Thank you so much, ribbon industry, for creating psychological connections between fucking colors and a horrific and traumatic disease. Fuck you for ruining the color pink, so that now anytime I see anything pink all I can think is, "Oh, I wonder if that person has fucking breast cancer." Fuck you for draining my emotional energy when every time I see somebody sporting an all-one-color t-shirt I assume we're about to have a heart-to-heart about death. That's just charming. Not everything needs a billboard, cancer awareness ribbons, so fuck you.
Fuck you, platitudes. Fuck "Everything happens for a reason," and "God only gives you as much as you can handle," and "Whenever one door closes another opens," and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," and most especially- "You'll beat it, you're a fighter." Fuck all of that. Specifically:
- Everything happens for a reason. No, it doesn't. Some things are random, and the idea that one person's personal suffering is just the set-up for somebody else's punchline? Or that it's the counterpoint for somebody else's great epiphany? Fuck that. Suffering sucks. Telling a person who's suffering that it's SUPPOSED to happen is just cruel.
- God only gives you as much as you can handle. Really? So everybody who dies from cancer (hint- it's a LOT OF FUCKING PEOPLE) was just, what, misjudged by God? Wow, thanks, that helps out my cancer-induced crisis of faith a whole fucking lot. Children who are sexually abused and enter into a lifetime of trauma-induced misery... I'm sure they handled it just fucking fine.
- Whenever one door closes, another door opens. Sure, maybe, but sometimes that open window is on the twelfth fucking floor, so a lot of good that does for you.
- What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Great. So if you're not dead, you'll be strong. Certainly helpful when that "kill you" part of it is particularly relevant. And also, it's not true. Sometimes you survive and you're NOT stronger. Sometimes you survive and you're sick forever because chemo and radiation are fucking poison and sometimes you've lost limbs or brain function or, I don't know, most of your colon, and while SOME people come through that as some sort of emotional superhero, all you do when you say this to people is tell them that if they DARE get traumatized or emotionally depleted or just fucking sad about it, they're a failure at survival. Not goddamn helpful. Stop fucking saying this.
- You'll beat it, you're a fighter. Cancer is not a thing you "fight," it is not a war you win or lose (see this amazing op-ed for more). It's YOUR BODY doing something that will kill you. Whether or not you respond to treatment is not up to you. Whether or not your body rejects treatments is not up to you. No amount of positive attitude can make your body tolerate a minimum effective dose of temozolomide. No amount of "fight" will increase your bone marrow's ability to recover from radiation. It is not up to you. Don't get me wrong, positivity is great, and it's important, and it can make a huge difference... but not alone. And dying of cancer doesn't mean you LOST. It doesn't make you a FAILURE. So fuck that language.
Fuck ridiculously apropos celebrity deaths.
I know, celebrities are people like anyone else, and they get sick and die like everyone else, but fuck you celebrities for suddenly being part of my personal experience because we now share this horrible fucking thing. Do I want to have Ted Kennedy etched in my mind in forever? Or Beau Biden? Or John McCain? NO I DO NOT. So fuck you, cancer, for also affecting other people and making everyone who is already dealing with that shit sad all over again. Fuck you.
Fuck the fucking for-profit insurance system in this country. FUCK IT A THOUSAND WAYS UP ITS BACKWARDS, INVERTED, INHUMANE ASS. Do you realize how many people in this country die from cancer, treatable cancer, because they can't afford to continue to fucking live? How many sets of parents have to sit down and say to themselves, "Well, if we cash out our 401K and sell the house and declare bankruptcy and move into that run-down old shack that used to be my aunt's vacation home, we can cover treatments this year. Or- you know- I could die, you could take the life insurance payout, and then the kids would still have a home." Yes, that is a real conversation people in this country have to engage in with their loved ones because of the outrageous cost of healthcare. Fuck. That.
Fuck pharmaceutical companies and the FDA for making it so hard to get drugs for off-label use, that are still in development, and that are applying for orphan status. Goddamit, people are dying, and they're desperate, and there are drugs that could help them but it's not goddamn legal for people to get them. Fuck. That.
Fuck HMOs. I know I've already called out insurance companies, but fuck HMOs in particular. Let people just go see a fucking doctor. You limit the pool of doctors, the wait times increase, and people fucking die. Fuck you, HMOs.
Fuck the word "journey."
Fuck Donald Trump.*** Fuck him for not saying shit about Aretha Franklin when the rest of the world began mourning, and fuck him for fucking disrespecting John McCain (who I didn't care for and who I have thousands of disagreements with but can still fucking offer the respect of fucking human decency) by refusing to release an official statement about his death or to keep the fucking White House flag at half mast for more than fifteen goddamn hours. That Trump isn't currently infested with every slow, painful cancer known to man is a tremendous karmic injustice.
And lastly, fuck cancer again. Because even when you beat it, it's fucking temporary. There is no such thing as eternally cured of cancer. There's just fucking waiting, and FUCK THAT SHIT.
That is all.
*I told you this was largely unfiltered and to take it with a grain of salt.
**"Fuck God" means, "Fuck any godlike entity who would invent a sentient being purely to make it suffer the most horrific traumas it can think up. That's not a kind and loving all-powerful being, that's a fucking sadist. So, fuck that sadistic vision of God.
***Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck him in his illiterate ass.
Read more about our cancer experience here: How To Pretend Tomorrow Will Never Come
Read my most recent post here: Hot Dogs, Birthdays, and Life's Big Questions
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