Cancer Pain

We are back to discuss the hurt and the healing.

  • You have a new baseline, and you have to figure it out on your own.

  • Recovery is going to take longer than you think, especially if you have to go to work and be professional.

  • Check in with your body on a regular basis.

  • Pain is inevitable. Misery is optional.

  • Ask who is intubating you. Ask how often they intubate.

  • Learn the difference between healing stretching hurt and destructive hurts.

  • You are bigger than the pain. Expand to encompass the pain.

  • Think about how much medication you are taking and plan the wean off.

  • There are alternatives to Oxy, like Tramadol. There is alternatives to everything.

  • You need to take a stool softener and laxative if you are on opioids.

  • Know the location and terms of your surgical warranties.

  • Be honest about your pain. Talk to your doctor. Talk to someone. Find what works for you.

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Take a deep breath and do what you can do.

  • Faith gets you through every day, whether you are religious or not.

  • Find the placebo effect.

  • Pain is:

    • The greatest teacher

    • Temporary

    • A signal to change

Cancer and Exercise

We talk about exercise during and after cancer treatment.

  • Use your 2.0 as a chance to rebuild, and exercise is essential to the rebuild.
  • Activity before / during / after is going to make you feel better physically and psychologically
  • Use it or lose it: do SOMETHING.
  • Go in with the attitude of fun and trying and seeing what happens. Don’t have expectations of what you “should” do
  • Move everyday. Take the stairs or walk around the block.
  • Dance parties are a good way to loosen up.
  • Be gentle with yourself, and listen to your body.
  • Ask at your hospital for exercise resources.
  • Look up YMCA Livestrong to take advantage of training and classes.
  • Believe in order to access the placebo effect.
  • Take it slow and easy: incremental is still progress.

Cancer Radiation

We discuss the history and practice of radiation treatments, and thank the cancer martyrs of yesteryear.

  • Doctors will give you aquaphor or a petroleum product-- maybe try coconut oil or cbd oil.
  • Plan for the utter exhaustion of radiation, and plan for naps.
  • People want to help you. Let them help you.
  • Do your research before you make a decision.
  • You need to stretch medicinally through radiation.
  • Take care of all of you--not just your radiated parts.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Calling your Radiation Oncologist a Radonk-a-donk (RadOnc) may improve your radiation appointments.
  • Thanks to Rose Lee, Patron Saint and Radiation Martyr.
  • Thanks to J-Zee, Patron Saint of Letting People Explain the Dumb Things They Say on Social Media--we are all just muddling along.

Shades of Cancer Survivorship

We talk about the big spread of survivorship encompassed under the cancer umbrella, and the tribalization within the community.

  • Be humble and be kind, not obnoxious and a jerk.
  • You never know what someone else is going through: "the cancer experience" is not always universal.
  • Know your context within the cancer community.
  • Your motivation matters, especially if you are a cancer maven.

Cancer Fatigue

We discuss how exhausting this whole cancer thing is, and try to figure out what helps.

  • Treatment to cure can directly or indirectly interfere with sleep.
  • Do what you have to in order to get a good night's sleep a few times a week.
  • Doctors will happily prescribe medication to help with the insomnia. Most of these are pretty addictive.
  • There are several supplements hat can help: valerian root, magnesium, etc.
  • Exercise
  • Think about making your best nest: pillows and a comfy mattress can make your stays in bed much more pleasant.

Colon Cancer with CrespiCreme

Christina teaches us all about colon cancer, and talks about what it's like to go through treatment as a health care professional.

Cancer Etiquette

Listen as we discuss the social norms at the hospital, and our best practices.

  • In the waiting room, use headphones and avoid phone calls.
  • Be considerate to the people who are having the worst day of their lives.
  • Be aware that other people exist, and that they don’t cope like you cope.
  • Do not prescribe: let people subscribe to your input.
  • Do not one-up other patients.
  • Don’t call strangers to Jesus. (Confirmed that Mimi and Leanna were both called to Jesus by the same disciple, and neither answered the call.)
  • Read the room, and have your parties in private.
  • Friends and family are the buffer. They need to be super aware to manage the patients and the bystanders.
  • Friend’s and family, if you hate the hospital, don’t insist on being at the hospital. Know your limitations. Know what you CAN do, and do that.
  • If you are sick, don’t come to the hospital or wear a mask.
  • Communication is a two way street.
  • See “What did you just say?” for additional guidance on handling the ridiculous things people say.
  • If anyone knows Dr. Dre, help us put Beats in Cancer Centers so we don’t have to yell at any inconsiderate people.

Getting to know your 2.0 post-cancer

We have so much to cover in getting to know your 2.0: from Leanna's First Descents surfing adventure to a career after cancer with The Time Between is! Also, happy first birthday to Thanks Cancer (ie Mimi and Leanna friendiversary)!!

  • We are a new tribe of survivors (carcinopaths!) that have the luxury of a 2.0 after cancer.
  • The big c: cancer, chaos and change.
  • You are a physically new self AND a psychologically new self.
  • The hard restart is an opportunity… and difficult and confusing and weird and surreal.
  • You need a 2.0 because your 1.0 was stripped bare. You couldn’t exist as your 1.0, and the "before" can feel like a different lifetime.
  • After rebirth, you get to create yourself with everything you know as a grown up.
  • Be open to different ways of rebuilding yourself.
  • You are going to fail inevitably as a part of the process. Fail fearlessly. Fail again.
  • Explore your 2.0 like you are in high school: fashion, ideas, taste, choices, identity.
  • Incorporate water into your life. Drink the water. Be more like water. Swim in the water.
  • You are a teenager. Let yourself be a teenager and understand that other people won’t give you the understanding that they would give a teenager. Cuz you look like a grown ass person.
  • Let yourself be surprised, and maybe carried away a little bit by your 2.0.
  • For a cancer community, check out The Time Between Is for how to approach your career after cancer and finding meaningful work.

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.


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.