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Why In The Hell Are All These People So Happy?

Sunday, August 11, 2013/Number of views (2103)/Comments (4)

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I read a number of cancer related magazines so that I can pass along interesting, relevant information to all of you CancerDancers out there. Recently, I reviewed one called, "Coping with Cancer." On the cover, there is a picture of Betsey Johnson, fashionista and fun designer, grinning her face off. Inside she says "keep your sunny side up!" (According to the article, she "beat" breast cancer).

Flipping through the magazine, everyone is just so damn happy. There are articles entitled, "How to Find Joy in your Life" and "Cancer Can't Dance Like This." Smiling, laughing -- all good times. Even the guy who advises "Don't Dismiss your Distress" has a cheshire cat countenance. What the hell? Do all these people have a different cancer experience then I do? Have they not lost friends? Do they not tremble before a scan? A couple of the people in this magazine should look damned angry, scared, or frightened. That is part of this diagnosis and a reality to be acknowledged while informing and uplifting.

Now in defense of Coping, the magazine is trying to help people to well, cope, and that is often done with a little "Look on the Bright Side of Life" soundtrack, but shouldn't there be some visual acknowledgement of the range of reasonable emotions that go along with cancer? Now I admit, when someone asks me to take a picture, I almost always smile, but the editors of the magazine can find other pictures that honor all our legitimate feelings.

Why is this important? Because there is a lot of pressure on survivors to put on a brave face for those around us. We don't want to add to the emotional burden of our loved ones so we buck up, and tell people that "It's no so bad right now," and "Everything is great, thanks." Telling people that we are terrified is not polite talk, and not what most people are ready to hear while passing in the grocery store. But this magazine is for us, and maybe there should be a little permission to not cope every once in a while - to blessedly fall apart, before dusting off and moving forward. All survivors out there, I grant thee permission to do this.

To Coping magazine, thanks for the good advice, strategies, and articles. But feel free to get real with us once in a while, we would appreciate it.

Categories: Esther's World

4 comments on article "Why In The Hell Are All These People So Happy?"


Betty Lewis

8/12/2013 9:07 AM

I couldn't have read your entry at a more opportune time. Just an hour ago, I discovered that in 4 weeks my CA125 Increased from 24 to 36, 2 years out from surgery and chemo. Struggling with keeping a mask on for friends/family, and acknowledging my emotions without letting them rule me completely. Gave myself permission to postpone my therapy clients until getting results of CT scan tomorrow. Thanks for the validation!


PJ Arellano

8/12/2013 11:07 AM

I'm thinking back 27 years to my battle with ovarian cancer and all i remember is the laying in the floor next to the toilet with my big red pillow. I couldn't move away because I was gonna get sick if I moved. That was the side of me that my Mama and our best friends saw first hand. But my public persona had to be one of hope, smiling in the face of adversity. I chose to put on a happy face and keep a fabulous attitude. That was my way of coping. i wish there had been magazines to let me know that i wasn't the only one dealing with cancer and that it was ok to smile...ok to smile...



10/17/2013 8:19 AM


warmly, marcy



6/13/2015 12:53 PM

My beloved son, mother, and father all died during my surgery, 37 infusions.

Losing a child was more devastating.....

I've survived the horrors, agonies, doubts, pokes, onslaught....

Staying buoyant wherever, whenever we can seems to enhance our opportunities to get our NEDs..

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