Monday, October 16, 2006

How Cancer is like a wedding...

At the height of my chemo, I attended a wedding of a friend. It was beautiful garden affair and of course, it brought up reminders of my own nuptials. I sat at the toile covered table, watching the dancing. "Shout!" anyone? I was too tired to partake. I popped a painkiller, tugged on my wig, and thought:

"Cancer reminds me of a wedding"

Huh? You ask? One of the shittiest things to happen to you is like one of the best? Yes, my friends it is.

1. They are both expensive.
2. You get presents.
3. You get behind in thank you notes.
4. You obsess over every detail.
5. Sometimes you wish you could just hop a plane to Vegas.
6. You have a binder detailing every expense.
7. You have the obligatory nervous breakdown.
8. Your mom thinks she knows what you want.
9. You find the most amazing things to buy on the internet.
10. You talk to relatives you haven't seen in years.
11. You haven't worried about your hair this much since prom.
12. You wear gowns. Sure, one "opens to the front", but who cares?
13. You look at your husband and tell yourself how lucky you are.
14. It's all about you.
15. When it's all over, you think to yourself, "How will I fill the time?"

Shenanigans aside, the real reason I thought of this is because of the surprises, pleasant and otherwise, these two situations bring. Some people will surprise you with their generosity. You will be overwhelmed and touched. They will go out of their way to make you feel special, loved. You will consider yourself lucky to share this with them.

And some people will disappoint you. They send a crappy gift (shut up, you know you've all thought about it, too.) Or better yet, no gift at all. Or they don't RSVP in time, or they just plan don't show up to the party. I think every person I know had one relationship change over their wedding- jealousy, priorities, schedules- they all make it hard. You think to yourself, "How could they not come to my wedding?" You realize as much as you want it to be, your wedding is not the center of people's universe. Doesn't make it hurt any less.

Cancer's just like my wedding. I have grown closer to some people. more distant to others. I have seen the true colors of people. Some relationships are forever changed. Some people have reached out beyond my wildest imagination. Some people plain haven't shown up to the party. It sucks, but it doesn't mean I'm not dancing with everyone else. And they definitely won't get an inivitation to our raging anniversary party one day. Or to my 10 year cancer free blow out bash.

Another reason why they're alike? Once it happens, your life is never the same.


Anonymous said...

People who "just plain haven't shown up to the party" are a bunch of sackless, self-obsessed pricks. Time for relationship pruning, I say. c

Chris said...

I just want all you readers to think about what Court has done this year: She was diagnosed with breast cancer, harvested some eggs, had a lumpectomy, started chemo, moved to Atlanta, painted a huge freaking house, started a blog, lost all her hair, finshed chemo, started radiation, joined a pole dancing class, never stopped working, started mortgage payments, and this weekend she will walk 60 miles in 3 days, for the Breast Cancer 3-day. Somehow, amidst all this, she found the time to raise more than $5K for breast cancer research.

So no, Court, it's not been all about you. You've made that abundantly clear, and for those friends, who can't get their heads out of their asses, to be supportive, fuck 'em!

Anonymous said...

Yeah my wife is greatest. I painted the house though...

Anonymous said...

Will this be a clothing optional party? If so, I'M IN!

Anonymous said...

heard you finished the walk - rock on twisted sister!

now nap time's over. where's the post?

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Anonymous said...

Hi Courtney

Just wanted to write and let you know how much I have enjoyed reading your blog - it's been a gem that appeared at a low moment and has allowed me to feel connected in a small way to such a great person (you). I am 18 months out from my own bc diagnosis (I'm 37 now), and have survived all the usual retinue of treatments. I am at the stage of really getting back into life ( but it helps to know there are fantastic women all over who are dealing with the same thoughts and feelings I have and had.

Thank you! write me!

Tina xx

Anonymous said...

Hello Courtney. My name is Matthew Zachary. I am an 11-year long-term survivor of pediatric brain cancer and I'm excited to have found your blog. I wanted to share with you a new resource portal for young adults with cancer that Steps For Living, a nonprofit organization I founded, just launched.

The site is and I thank you in advance for taking a peek, letting us know what you think and referring it along to others in order to ensure that all young adults with cancer connect with the support they need.

Happy Holidays!

Matthew Zachary
Founder, Executive Director
Steps For Living, Inc.

Anonymous said...

Sean Spence said...

Hey Courtney,

Please post again soon -- you offer a unique perspective, and I enjoyed reading your earlier posts.

I want to wish you a happy holiday. Your blog means a lot to folks out there, and reaches a whole new group every day through SharingOurDays. I honestly believe that the time we take to communicate our lives is having a big effect on people around the world. You are making a difference.

All the best today and every day.

- sean

Sean Spence