The Cancer Card

Hear us talk about the cancer card in this mini episode.

  • Have fun with the cancer card.

  • If you use it strategically and excessively, people will stop with the sad eyes because you are too ridiculous.

  • Use it to spend time with people you love and who bring you up.

  • When people offer you cancer perks, accept with grace.

  • People want to help you. You need help. Let them help you.

  • Say yes more than you say no, especially if it is no effort on your part.

Allie has it: ALL!

We talk with Allie about the blood cancer ALL.

  • "ALL" means “ALL the time in the hospital”… or “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.”
  • If you feel weirdly tired all the time, or have bruises that don't go away, or eye bleeds, maybe go to a doctor.
  • Doctors need to make sure you aren’t alone when they are calling with a cancer diagnosis.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital has some great views from inpatient rooms.
  • You used to get sick before, and then you used to get better. And it was (usually) ok.
  • Learn to advocate for yourself, or choose a caregiver from New York.
  • Trust yourself if you know something is wrong, and be pushy.
  • Get your flu shot.

Cancer Semantics: What Do We Call Ourselves

Listen to us talk about all the labels you can have during and after cancer treatment.

  • Cancer words are negative words; your 2.0 was forged in the fire of cancer, but your new identity is not "cancer."
  • You might never feel like a "hero" or a "survivor".
  • Fighter implies all sorts of things, like you are at war with your own cells.
  • Doctors often won’t say: "You are in remission." 
  • Pay attention to how you talk about your cancer and yourself. 

Hair and Losing It

We discuss our hair loss, regrowth and what made it easier.

  • Your scalp is going to be tender.
  • Up your makeup game: brow pencils, eyeliner or false eyelashes. 
  • Glasses and sunglasses can camoflauge.
  • Explore your options: colored wigs, scarves, turbans, etc.
  • Bald is an intense, powerful look.
  • Get a soft sleeping cap and a slippery pillow case.
  • Penguin cold caps probably work.
  • Latisse can help, but will probably stain your skin.
  • Your hair will be different every day.
  • Embrace the seasons, and get comfortable with unintentional hairstyles.
  • Find a great hairdresser for your complicated regrow.
  • Choose how to frame this experience.

Dating After Cancer

We talk about dating and sex after cancer.

  • Dating after cancer problems are dating problems--just magnified.
  • Breakups are super common. 
  • Any sex problems are either short-term or largely fixable.
  • Ask your doctors/nurses/social workers about resources at your hospital.
  • Own your story, think about your story, and practice telling your story with your friends.
  • You don't have to tell a date everything all at once.
  • Your 2.0 is different than before. Get to know your new, rejuvenated, cancer-free self.
  • The first rule of googlestalking is you do not talk about googlestalking.
  • Don't suggest that your date guess which boob was mastectomied, or find someone who thinks that's as funny as you do.

Psychological Changes

We talk about psychological changes, and how to deal with adventures in new disorders.

  • Everyone is depressed and anxious when you hear about the cancer.
  • Mania is common: Maybe channel it into something productive-ish?
  • Insomnia makes you crazy. Do what you have to for a good night’s sleep a few times a week.
  • YOU NEED THERAPY if you or someone you love has cancer. Everyone needs therapy.
  • Disassociation is a coping mechanism, and things are just WEIRD in your life. You ARE different, and you are still you.
  • Look for psycho-social resources through your hospital or employer.
  • No one knows what they are doing, and—look at that!— neither do you!
  • Get to know your new stress/depressed/anxious/feels barometer.
  • Try new things: meditation, therapy, reiki, massage, crystals, supplements, CBD oil if available in your state.
  • Eat for comfort and health.
  • Instead of an existential discussion, learn to say “I’m doing fine considering the circumstances” or “I’m in pain, but nothing out of the ordinary”.
  • Make a Reality Committee for phone calls or IRL convos.
  • Authenticity and vulnerability leads to healing.
  • Exercise will make sleep and everything a little better. Do what you can, even if it’s just walking down the street.

Chemotherapy

We talk about chemotherapy and how we dealt with our own.

  • Everyone has a different chemo experience, and it's all pretty boring and unpleasant.
  • Look into intermittent fasting and immunocal.
  • Bring friends and something to do.
  • Plan fun things for your chemo days, like a treat or a show.
  • Find a happy place at the hospital.
  • Drink water.
  • Take the warm blanket! Take two and wrap your arm.
  • Food can help, so maybe talk to a nutritionist.
  • Take it as easy as possible.
  • You are a whole new person now. OUCH! .....YAY!
  • Get out in the world to build your biome.
  • Plant a tree: it might just save a life.

Cancer Conspiracies

Mimi and Leanna talk about the cancer conspiracies that come with the unknowns of diagnosis and treatment.

  • If you are going to believe in a cancer conspiracy theory, pick one that makes your life better. We should all be eating better, eliminating stress, and exercising.
  • The placebo affect is real. Let yourself and others access it in whatever way seems best.
  • You might never know what caused your cancer, but you will have a (likely) story.
  • There is no magic bullet.
  • Look with hope to the future, both for better treatments and for your 2.0 version of yourself.

What Did You Just Say?

How do you talk to someone with cancer? Leanna and Mimi discuss.

  • People are going to say dumb things to cancer patients. It is inevitable.
  • People are trying to relate to your worst thing with their worst thing.
  • Supportive silence can be golden
  • Have strategies to end a conversation you don't want to have.
    • Weaponized crying
    • "I really can't talk about this right now"

 

Cancer Branding

What is your cancer brand? Mimi and Leanna discuss how social media can impact your cancer story.

  • The people you invite to the party should bring something to the table.
  • Power outfits for treatments (when else can I dress up like a unicorn?).
  • How you tell your story affects your experience.
  • Sharing your experience with others can help others and can help YOU.

More from Leanna and Mimi.

Cancer Discovery

What do you do when you get diagnosed with cancer? Hear us discuss discovery and coping with the cancer news.

  • Tell who you want
  • Delegate who you can
  • Don't make decisions you don't have to make
  • People are going to have crazy reactions
  • Be kind to yourself--you are in shock
  • Let people help you
  • Get over the blame game--it's misdirected anger and a waste of energy
  • Find mindless happiness or distraction--YouTube has hours of silly cat videos

More from Mimi and Leanna