Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Jurl and the "C" Word

No, not that one. Gross. I'm talking cancer, you pervs. Since you can't open a Yo plait, a magazine, or turn on television without seeing pink ribbons plastered all over the place, I'm sure you're all aware October is breast cancer awareness month.

Every October we talk about it, we walk for it, we shake our head in sympathy with the pink clad survivors, we donate some coin, and we may even be motivated to give ourselves a breast exam somewhere in between the shampoo and conditioner.

But this October is a little different for me because for the first time in my life I have a very good friend, a jurlfriend, that has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and in just a few days will undergo a double mastectomy. Certainly, we all know that cancer is bad and we know as women that breast cancer sucks, but until it touches your life in a personal way we may not understand the emotional blow-out that comes with it.

First off, the not knowing takes about six years off your life because once they figure out there is, indeed, a mystery lump then you go back for a sonogram, then they test the fluid, then they tell you it's for super-duper-sure breast cancer, but you need another biopsy to figure out if it's spread, then you get a boobectomy. Crikey. Oh, and after that you may have more treatment in the form of chemo or radiation, not to mention the long process of reconstruction! It's too much, too much!

Second, there's the emotional roller coaster that blasts off with shock, dips into denial, twists into tears, loop-to-loops into pissed off, climbs to research on Google, spirals down to more sadness, and finally pulls into acceptance where you feel a little dizzy and just want off the ride. Or at least that's how it's felt for me. I can't really even imagine how it feels for my friend.

Maybe all the waiting and meeting with doctors gives you time to cycle through the emotions on Mr. Toade's Wild Ride and helps you prepare for whatever the results. I don't know, because I'm not the one with the cancer, but as a friend I spent those first couple of weeks saying, "I'm sure it's nothing. It almost always is. And even if it is something, I'm sure it's not cancer." In hind sight, perhaps not the most well chosen words, but you never think your friend will get it and you sure never think you will get it, and by it I mean BREAST CANCER.

When someone says "breast cancer" in relation to a diagnosis it's like the boogey man jumps out of the bushes and yells "suck it!" right in your face. Luckily, my friend has been blessed with humor and fight so she yells "suck it!" right back in the boogey man's face and then kicks him in the ding dong for good measure. That's my kind of jurl.

Another good thing about my friend (and there are many) is her willingness to share this experience in the hopes that it will inspire other women to take their breasts (and their health) seriously and get things checked out. Now, thanks to my jurl, we all walk around the office cupping boob, usually our own.....

In between the worry, the sympathy, and getting educated on what it really means to have breast cancer, we've also laughed quite a bit. I mean cancer can be funny, right? Well, if you know how to crack a joke it can and when you're tired of crying what you need is a laugh so we've explored the weight loss benefits of cancer, the plus side of getting brand new boobies, and several of us volunteered some of our ass fat to help fashion new breasticles.

I may even start a company called "Build-A-Titty Workshop" where you can go to the mall and, well, build a titty. You can choose the shape, size, color, then watch it get stuffed. Choice of nipples range from virginal pink to exotic mocha. I'll even offer tit-sized clothing and accessories, for an additional cost, of course. You could have nurse titties, or astronaut titties, or dress them up like they're going to a tea party. And, for a limited time, I'll offer buy one, get one free.

Yes, there is something wrong with me, but when the boogey man comes knockin it helps to find the absurd and laugh until you can cry.

So, hug a jurlfriend today (subtly squeeze her boob while you're at it) and make each other giggle no matter what you're going through because that's the best way to make it to the other side.


Beverly said...

So sorry for your friend. Glad she has you to help keep her laughing!

jurl said...

Thanks, Beverly.

BoBono said...

The "C" word is life changing to everyone around the person who has it. Such a sad thing that we can send man to the moon, duplicate life from cells, etc...but we still can't cure cancer or any number of diseases taking lives daily. It's hard for me to see why more resources aren't allocated for these needs versus space exploration.

Sorry for your friend!

Holly Golightly said...

I've never been a prayerful person when it comes to a stare-down with mortality. Something about appealing to faith and the hereafter for the answer to a challenge very much grounded in the here-and-now felt supernatural and almost like giving up in the reality of a tangible solution. (I apologize for inserting my own lack of religious faith if that's offensive.) However, I've been down this road, and I can say with conviction that the sheer force of will that things will be ok is a powerful tool. I'm not saying it's fool proof or the only answer. Tap into what makes you strong, whatever that is. If prayer is your power and inspiration, pray. If the levity of laughter and humor gives you power, then find the humor in even the most daunting challenges. If quiet reflection gives you power, then step away and take that time. But whether you're going through it for yourself or supporting someone else through her journey, figure out what works for you to capture and retain your strength. All the good jurls out there need to figure out how to persevere to see the day when bad things only happen to bad people. Until then, we need to find our strength and be strong for each other to conquer the bad things that happen to the good jurls and those they love.

jurl said...

Bobono and Holly-I hear ya, jurls. Thanks for your comments.