Preface – The Funny Thing About Cancer
Here is a sneak peak, the preface, of The Funny Thing About Cancer.
I’m going to start by saying that I am a die hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I have been for years. After decades of training in the art of accepting bad news and ultimately loss, I am certain this contributed to me taking, my most likely terminal cancer diagnoses, so well.
Originally I wrote over 100,000 words about my hopes, dream, aspirations and my fears, failures and flaws. Due to editors, publishers and folks I trust, I changed the dynamic of this book to be a ‘better read’ for the average waiting room dwelling cancer fighter. I have read through the following hundred or so pages too many times to count, and honestly, I kind of hate it. I think this book is mostly fluff. However, looking back on my first few weeks and months of fighting this terrible disease, I would have paid anything for a book written from someone who actually ‘got me’! Fluff or not it would have been nice to have an easy read that made me smile. My next and second book will be the book I originally set out to write. An autobiographical tale of a modern day Holden Caulfield with cancer, but until then, this will have to do I guess. Fluffy in all it’s glory.
That is the problem with the traditional books and resources for us cancer fighters – they are generally written by people who have never actually got this terrible disease. As soon as you are diagnosed and they verify your staging etc. The doctors provide you with countless books and pamphlets on cancer that are supposed to sort of ’soften the blow’ of what you are about to go through. As far as I’ve read, these documents are much too indifferent, boringly factual and statistically based for anyone going through this terribly frightening event to relate to. I have a chapter within, that explains why I was driven to write this book, so I’ll spare you the redundancy – but I think a proper preface would be well, practically preface-less if I did not rant a little. Luckily, I am receiving my treatment at ‘one of the top five best cancer centres in the world’ as touted by their billboards. My limited experience agrees with that ridiculously arbitrary statement though. Since I have no idea what the pages throughout this book will contain anymore as it has been edited so much, I wanted to sing my praises for Princess Margaret Hospital and the staff they employ here; well before the nitty gritty. If you are reading this and wondering where to seek treatment, I cannot stress enough how incredible the nurses and doctors at PMH have been to me.
Unfortunately, I don’t lie, so I will say that the non-medical staff at this hospital are for the most part – unsympathetic, unhelpful and well, they behave like any other employee who works for an organization as large as this. Ideally, us cancer fighters would much prefer a helpful and friendly face at the pharmacy cash register. However, objectively, I can understand why those people and many other non-medical staff at Princess Margaret Hospital are miserable – they don’t make enough, they deal with dying and well, probably cranky people all day and no matter how hard they work, they will never catch up on what needs to be done. That is what happens when you are a front line staff member at one of the best and busiest cancer treatment centres in the world. In a utopian world, I would expect all staff at cancer centres to be personable and nice – but unfortunately we don’t live in Josh’s Utopia. Think about it though! If you were in charge of hiring at a facility where most customers were experiencing a terrible part of their life, wouldn’t you employ the cream of crop? The best of the best? The uppity of the uppitiest? I would.
All of that aside, Princess Margaret Hospital kept me alive long enough to publish this book, help countless other cancer fighters and travel. So despite my criticism of some of the cranky and unsympathetic staff, I am thankful that institutions such as they exist and have nothing but great things to say about the nursing staff I encountered and Dr. Jang, Dr. Darling; and just because I have huge crush on her…Dr. Laura. (Hey Dr. Laura, email me, let’s hang out maybe? I’m a published author now and weigh a ton less. Plus I can borrow against my life insurance so we can travel the world together…plus you saw my penis in surgery, it is pretty decent right? So ya, let’s be buds, just saying’.) Dr. Darling has some of the best bedside manner in the business. She looked me in the eye in the beginning of my fight and when all I wanted was hope, to be told it was going to be okay, she gave it to me straight.
Let me close this preface by mentioning that this book was called The Funny Thing About Cancer because really, I wanted to work my butt off finding ways to make you and I laugh. Believe me, I know how terrible this chapter (sic) of your life is. Seeing a book titled The Funny Thing About Cancer might incite some anger in a few. I promise if you hang out through the whole book, I’ll win you over and probably bring a smile to your chemotherapy-balding head.
They say ice cubes, or pickle juice or scissors.
But the best way to get gum out of your hair is chemotherapy.
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