If you can’t laugh about it…

Chemo brain is a term you hear from many doctors and people battling cancer. In general it is just a lack of clarity, almost like a fog over your thoughts. A lack of ability to think clearly and as a result speak clearly. And it turns out chemo brain is a very real thing! I suppose I should have guessed this would be true. It is not like my doctors have under sold a side effect yet. In the last several weeks I have started to notice this fog rolling in over my thoughts, but I have come to the conclusion that dang it – I better be able to laugh about it!

This last weekend I was at a party, and an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in may years was there. Naturally we started catching up on each others lives- what we do, where we live, you know all those basics. Then he asked a question: Does your sister still live in Laramie?

Now before I tell this story, I will let you in on a little secret here- Words are HARD!  And words, when you are in the middle of chemo, sometimes come out in the wrong order, with completely the wrong adjective involved, or don’t come out at all because I most definitely can NOT think of the word I want to use! That tip of your tongue feeling has suddenly become a very good friend of mine.

So naturally, I know the answer to this question. My sister and I are close. I see her regularly. I babysit her kids. I talk to her on the phone almost daily. And let me tell you- She does not, in fact, live in Laramie. And she hasn’t for SEVERAL YEARS!! But, for some reason words starting coming out of my mouth before my brain had a chance to really think about the answer. Maybe because on a different day, I would not have had to even consider how to answer this question at all! Immediately I said- Yes! Yes she does!

While the words were leaving my mouth I am sure my face must have started to look quite ridiculous because I immediately found myself thinking “What in the world! That is not at all what I meant to say! That is not at all the right answer to this question!”  I should probably also add I really knew very few people at this party. And to top it off, not many of them knew that I have cancer. So not only was I being a complete goober, but I had succeeded in doing it in front of a bunch of brand new people! Insert bow here 🙂

But now we come to the moment of humor. I looked at this man and said- “Ya know I have no idea why I said that- My sister moved several years ago! I guess I just need to pull the “Cancer Card” on that one!” What you need to know reader, is that my family has affectionately and compassionately allowed me to pull said “Cancer Card” whenever I do something ridiculous or unexplainable. There are too many examples to give, so I will just let your imaginations run with that one. For us it is a source of comedic relief in the midst of some cruddy circumstances, but obviously not many other people know this.

To my great surprise and relief, everyone in the room immediately burst into laughter- which of course was what I was desperately hoping their response would be…..hahaha.  Many could consider this an off color comment, but here is what I figure- if you can’t laugh about it what’s your other choice really? To cry? I may have cancer, but I still want to have joy in my life! And the quickest way to lose that joy would be to beat myself up or be discouraged by the fact that words are just hard! So instead I choose to laugh!

The moral of my story is this – If you run into me on the street and I make little to no sense, will you laugh with me? Lets not let cancer ruin a conversation or make us feel uncomfortable. I don’t care if you don’t know what to say, or if more likely I don’t! 😉  And lets please, please find some humor along this journey together! After all, we have just enough grace for today!

5 Replies to “If you can’t laugh about it…”

  1. As I sit here reading your blog at 4 am cause I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep (which happens more often these days and I figure God wants my attention) iI have loved reading your blog. I am not very good at laughing at myself and so your post really touched me. If we can’t laugh at life we are missing out on a gift from God. Thanks for reminding me of that. I hope I can remember t your message that God gives us enough for today and that laughter can be more a part of each day. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! You are an amazing child of God!

    1. This experience has definitely improved my “laughing at myself” skills 🙂 I am so happy to share this journey with you!

  2. Cute story. Great point. Along similar lines, I have been dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety over these past few years, and I realized the importance of singing, out loud, not too unlike being able to laugh. We have to do these things, even when we don’t want to, or else despair might get the better of us. But every time you can sing or laugh, you take on more step toward the light instead of the dark.

    Oh, and I’ve had moments like these too, even though I have no “cancer card.” A couple years ago, I was at a family reunion. And my uncle asked, “So how old is your husband now?” And I confidently said, “He’s 41.” Five seconds later I’m like “Wait, he’s not 41. He’s 42. I’m 41.” Five seconds later: “Wait, I’m not 41 yet. I’m 40. I’ll be 41 soon.” Oh yeah, one of more shining moments.

  3. Hello Demrie! My cousin Seaton Smith shared your blog with me. I’m grateful! I’m a recent cancer battler too, Nueroendocrine Pancreatic Cancer. You’re writing is amazing, a gift. I didn’t know I was a writer but God helped me create a book, “Facing Unknowns .”
    I can so relate to chemo brain and share stories too. Lol
    If you would like to connect in private, please find me on Facebook, Jolene Visser Lichty, and message me!
    Please keep sharing your words and gift of writing! God bless! Jolene

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