Daily Prompt: BFFs
The big “C” has met its match in the form of my BFF, a formidable Bad Ass from the Bronx, and they don’t play.
Her cancer is teaching people a lesson in strength the likes of which they’ve NEVER seen.
This is a how-to list for people who want cancer to feel a punch like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist.
1. Get pissed off. Not sad. Not “why me.”
More like, This is bullshit!
“I have things to do. I have Lucero tickets in Boston. I’m seeing Patti Smith at Webster Hall.
I have a 3 day Americana Festival in Little Rock with friends all over the country.
My students cannot have a cruddy substitute for a month.
I do not have TIME for this CRAP.”
2. Do NOT buy anything pink. It’s not flattering for your complexion.
Refuse to be a walking billboard for “I have breast cancer.”
When the Zappos box comes with the pink Air Jordans Breast Cancer Awareness Limited Edition, call the responsible party (me),
Refuse the offer of matching pink breast cancer awareness tee shirts from your college bestie as if she’s just offered you mouth herpes.
Tell her, If you want to buy me something, buy me some really good wine.
I could use a drink, or three.
3. Go to work. Go the gym. Live your life. Keep on keeping on.
4. Do research. The best doctors. The best hospital. The one across from Harvard Medical school. If there ever was a time to be an “academic SNOB” this is it.
Be very, very picky about the doctors cutting you open. This is not about how lean a butcher can cut a brisket.
5. Tell only a few people. But the word gets out.
Don’t listen appreciatively to those “It was horrible, but in the end I realized I was not my breasts” stories.
Be brutally honest. As always.
Tell them, “YOU are married. 20 years. You’re not your breasts. You’re probably not even your vagina.
I am single. I am DATING. Men like tits. So, shut the fuck up.”
6. Go to work. Go the gym. Live your life. Keep on keeping on.
7. For the first and maybe only time in your life, ask for help. Stop being so goddamn independent.
This ONE time. Allow your college bestie to arrange to take a week off from work to stay with you after the surgery. You’re going to need help.
8. WORK like a maniac to make sure every little thing in your classroom is handled while you’re gone for a month.
Your students will not miss a beat while you’re out. These are your kids. They matter.
9. On the morning of your surgery, when they screw up, and painfully inject you with tracers, repeatedly, WITHOUT sedation, get ANGRY.
Cuss a blue streak. Cause a SCENE.
When the doctors tell you they can’t operate on you if you’re “worked up” like this, tell they can go FUCK themselves.
And offer to stick knitting needles in their ball sacks.
10. Sneak your cell phone in the recovery room, against the rules.
After waking up from recovery, drug-text your friends. They have no clue what you’re writing, but they are so happy.
Text your BFF:
plsc sturgn i HOT! haha fkc
She sees this, and knows you are fine.
11. That night, have the nurse take a picture of you giving 2 thumbs up and send it to all your friends. It’s the best picture everyone’s ever received.
12. Leave the hospital looking like a movie star. Sunglass. Scarf tied with flair. Cute boots. Look a thousand times better than your bestie, who just drove 300 miles on no sleep to take care of you. Bitch.
13. Don’t rest, despite what the doctors say. You have a high pain threshold – you always have.
14. When you thank your BFF for being here, she reminds you that you, in fact, saved HER life freshman year when she washed down quaaludes with far too much alcohol, and you had to call an ambulance so she could get her stomach pumped.
Somehow, on all those pain meds, remember every detail of that story from 27 YEARS AGO. Laugh your ass off.
“Hahahah you drank 17 White Russians because it was your 17th birthday!!
We came to get you out of the hospital the next day and there were bars on the window hahahahaha.”
Repeat that story to EVERY PERSON WHO COMES TO THE DOOR THAT day.
The visiting nurse. The flower delivery person. A neighbor stopping by with food.
15. LAUGH. CONSTANTLY .
Stay up late with your BFF, making jokes and laughing about everything and everyone.
Extra points if it’s a sex joke, at this very unsexy time in your life.
Double extra points if it’s about that gross blood pus drain your BFF has to empty three times a day.
Double Triple extra points if you combine sex AND drain jokes:
Hey, lets’ go cruise Brockton for black men!
“C’mere, Big Daddy! You may have fucked a white girl before, but did you ever fuck one with a drain?”
16. Don’t take any pain meds after the first day. Not one, you bad ass.
Let your college bestie have them.
Okay, just a few.
17. BLAST MUSIC. Lots of it. CONSTANTLY.
Dance around the house with your bestie. Try not to pop a stitch.
18. WAKE YOUR BESTIE UP BY SCREAMING INTO THE PHONE REALLY LOUD AT 8 AM when you find out they’ve not gotten a long term sub for your class.
Spend 2 hours ranting on the phone to the department supervisor.
You may have cancer, but your students will NOT fall an entire month behind because of it.
19. Go on the Victoria Secret website and ship for beautiful, sexy bras.
You’re getting new breasts in a couple of months. They’re gonna need a new home. Several.
20. NINE days after your surgery, make it to the Lucero concert, as promised. The whole Boston indie music scene applauds when you walk in the door.
Including the band.
21. One month, post surgery, go back to work. Go to the gym. Live your life. Keep on keeping on.
22. When you get the pathology report back after the surgery, and
It’s worse than you thought. Way worse.
Don’t get scared. Or angry.
Because once again, you get that little voice in your head – you got it when you had the brain tumor, remember?
The one that said, “everything is going to be okay.” I believe this is what they call “Faith.”
23. Never, ever, once feel sorry for yourself. Why YOU? Because. Shit happens. This is not a death sentence. Not yet.
24. Make your usual Christmas plans with your family and bestie and her kid. Invite MORE people than ever.
Tell her, hell yes, I can do this. I have cancer. I’m not DEAD.
25. Cause your bestie to DRIVE off the road into a snowbank when you text her, “HELLO, it’s me!” And it’s an enormous picture of you, completely bald.
That was fast. One chemo treatment.
Hope your insurance covers my front end alignment, you crazy bitch.
26. Don yourself with armor. Prepare to do battle. Arm yourself with knowledge. Ready yourself for radiation, chemo. More surgery.
You are fierce.
You are a warrior.
27. Most of all, YOU ARE LOVED. By so many.
And – your BFF, for almost 30 years now,
that girl whose life you saved when she was 17?
IS NOT READY TO LET YOU GO? Okay?
So you go, girl!
Beat cancer like it stole something!
Have you been close to someone fighting cancer? How do you help them?
Talk to me. I’m listening.