I have always described myself as a laugher. I can’t even count the amount of times where I randomly start laughing because I think of something that may have happened the day before, an hour ago, or last week. I laugh at myself. I laugh with others. I enjoy laughing until my stomach hurts. If it was possible to have 6-pack abs from laughing, I would.
When I first got diagnosed, I actually wanted to laugh after I cried. For any of you who know my luck of injuries and health problems you can probably imagine why I wanted to laugh. I just had a shoulder repair the October before and I have had 3 hip surgeries. It’s almost like people expect me to have an injury. So, after the initial shock wore off, I did kind of laugh and think to myself “Yup, this would happen to me.”
I then started to think about a movie I saw when I was in elementary school, Bubble boy. Maybe that is what I needed! Yes, a giant bubble. That could protect me from anything. This joke was not original; I actually heard this several times after I got diagnosed. I laughed every time someone mentioned putting me in a plastic bubble. I was glad that everyone else noticed the humor in it all like I did.
I knew sitting around crying about having a rare cancer that no one knew anything about was going to get me nowhere. So, I took light in it all and encouraged others to take light in the situation as well. Of course, when I said or did certain things, I did get strange looks and I had to explain to people that yes, I did have a warped sense of humor. But, really, who is going to judge the girl with cancer?
I think one of the best comments I ever made was a text message to one of my best friends, Kristen. A little back-story, Kristen and I share the same sense of humor with almost everything. She is always there to share highly inappropriate jokes with me and she shares my sarcasm. About two weeks after I found out, I sent Kristen a text and said, “I just got on WebMD and typed in my symptoms, it says I have cancer. Should I see a doctor?” Though we were not together, I laughed hysterically before sending the text. I knew she would find it just as funny and she did. We still laugh about this today and every time it gets a little bit funnier.
This was the moment where Kristen and I started a playful banter of what I will refer to KJ cancerisms. Over the summer, Kristen was in Pennsylvania working at a camp and though she was many miles away, she continued to support me and be by my side thorough my fight by writing me letters and sending me cards. Snail mail is not dead my friends! I would get numerous cards addressed to “Princess KJ” and on the inside there would be cards with the words “FUCK CANCER” all over it. I also once got a card with a letter about fixing my liver with duct tape. We actually texted back and fourth for about an hour planning out how instead of me having treatment, she would come home, do a surgery and tape my liver up with duct tape and magically heal me from EHE. Of course, it was all a joke. Laughter is the best medicine – this is the perfect example!
Then, there was a time we were at DJ’s dug out downtown Omaha. I had come late and it was the night of a Husker game so it was really busy and there was a line. Kristen was making jokes about how I should use the “cancer card” to get in. Which we both know I would never do. She likes to joke about how if I am going to have cancer, I should use it to my advantage. Again, another KJ cancerism. There were 2 people in front of us waiting to get in. Kristen was making up a story about how I should just go up to the bouncer, tell him my story and get us in. We were both laughing about how funny that would be, but I would never have the balls to do it. Well, the guy in front of us was eavesdropping on us! Let me clarify in front of: He was several, several feet in front of us and we were actually not talking that loud. Yes, I know that is hard to believe. I am sure he thought Kristen and I were super attractive (obviously) and he just wanted to know all the philosophical things we were chatting about. Well, jokes on you buddy. Anyway, when the time came to let the next two people in, he awkwardly turned around and said “Sorry girls” and stared right at me. I wasn’t even mortified. Okay, I was a little embarrassed but Kristen just about pissed her pants laughing (I hope she reads this). Again, laughter is the best medicine. I will forever remember that night.
I am so thankful that my friends get me. Of course, if they didn’t I probably wouldn’t be friends with them. They understand my warped sense of humor and they feed it right back. For instance, when I was at dinner with my best friend Abby. She asked to have drink of my water and then she said, “I hope you didn’t spread your cancer germs on it because I heard that shit is contagious.” I was so proud of that quote that came out of her mouth. It was like I have taught her so well throughout this journey. That was a solid KJ cancerism.
There have been so many other things that I’ve had to take light in. For example, the time when I finally had to accept the fact that I have indeed lost about 35 pounds and that my body had changed drastically. I went to Victoria’s Secret to get fitted for a new bra and I explained to the nice, bubbly sales associate that I had lost about 35 pounds and that I had no idea what size I was anymore. I knew shit was going to get awkward real quick. She looked at me with this big smile and said “Oh my gosh! Congratulations!” My Mom looked at me with this awkward smile and I shot her a look like, just go with it. I had learned by this point that it’s much easier for me to feel awkward than making others feel bad. I was not about to tell her it was because I have cancer and make her feel like she was congratulating me on cancer. So, I said thanks. Then, I started thinking crap any normal girl is going to ask how in the hell did you lose that much weight. Go figure. Classic girl move, she did. I was not going to make this innocent, dark haired girl feel bad. I told her that I had just been feeling under the weather and luckily she didn’t press. I tried to imply I had mono. Close enough, right? That’s about how most of my shopping experiences go. People are confused why I am trying on a plethora of sizes, and I explain I have lost a lot weight and they think it is a huge accomplishment. I do laugh about it though, because it is so awkward how could you not? I should really come up with a better story. One that is almost bizarre to believe but people don’t want to question it because they would look like total jerk faces if they did. I tried really hard to think of an idea to insert here and I currently have nothing. I am also a terrible liar so that would never work.
The other day while trying on pants at the Loft I told my Mom that I felt like Jared from the Subway commercials when he holds up his fat pants. I am pretty sure there were other people in the fitting rooms while I was doing this. They probably thought I was bat shit crazy. But, yes, that is how all pants fit me. I have to make my shopping experiences fun somehow.
There are so many more KJ cancerisms I could share, and maybe someday I will share more. They have given me a lot of laughs and brought a lot of laughs to my friends and family. I am sure a lot of people have questioned if there is something else wrong with me, which I don’t know, maybe there is? If that something is I have a problem with laughing and maybe taking things too lightly, then yes. Like I said before, sitting around being sad about the cards I got dealt was not going to do anything for me. I knew from day one I need to be positive, strong and laugh off the cancer. Which is exactly what I have done (with the help of my doctors) and I’m going to continue to do!