Filtering by Tag: cancer

March is All About Dat Ass!

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

For those who are not aware, I'm a survivor of colorectal cancer.

Yep.  Ass cancer.

And this month, the month of March, is our month to bring awareness, much in the same way that we bring awareness to breast cancer. Only, instead of wearing pink, we wear blue.

And so far, I don't see blue nearly as much as I see pink. I'm not seeing facebook profiles donning beautiful blue filters. Why is that?

Well...ass cancer. It's cancer. In your ass. Boobs=yay! Ass=ew!

And I've got to give props: advocates for breast cancer have done a phenomenal job of getting the word out . They really have. And my fellow colorectal peeps are finding new effective ways to get the word out too. Please check out fantastic organizations like Colon Cancer Alliance and Fight Colorectal Cancer for more information.

And ass cancer is every bit as important to get out, partly because it's quickly on the rise in people under 50. See, the crappy problem is that we're all told not to bother with a colonoscopy until we're 50, and well, it's possible that you could develop full blown stage 4 colon cancer well before you even learn what a colonoscopy is! And if you're under 50, overall pretty healthy (I was) and start showing bleeding symptoms, many doctors will assume that you might just need to cut back on dairy. 

And here's something even scarier to consider: my doctors told me that if the tumor found in my rectum started to spread, it would travel straight to my liver and lungs!! Colorectal tumors are typically nestled in a nest of lymph nodes that are a direct route to other critical parts of the body! 

So yeah, colorectal cancer is no joke, but jokes certainly help get people's attention. So that's why I'm liberally using the word, "ass" and Cancer Owl made a poster using cute kittens. And also why my blog title is "all about dat ass". Because the internet, while free in advertising, is very hard to get people's attention.  So, thanks internet for making me stoop low this year.

But we should be doing what it takes. Maybe it'll save a few lives. Because ass cancer, while one of the leading killers, is also very preventable and treatable...especially if you get it early. So let's be all about "dat ass" this month.

  

Going There...

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

Putting up my comics sometimes takes a lot of courage. Take my last comic for instance (that you can read here), which involves a scenario that is hilarious to people with ostomy bags but could be horrifying to anyone else.

Don't be drinking anything while reading this...trust me.

Don't be drinking anything while reading this...trust me.

But "going there", and putting out stuff that risks offending (or grossing out) some people is the exact kind of tension that Cancer Owl lives in. To do any less is cheating fellow cancer patients, cancer survivors, caretakers and ostomates out of the opportunity to experience and tell the truth about the challenges we face every day. Because the realities of cancer are offensive sometimes, and gross.

Yesterday, I received this humbling message:

Hi, I am a 23 year old redditor with cancer. I just wanted to say that nothing else I've read or seen has resonated with me on the issue of cancer like your comics have. It's tough to put into words how this whole thing makes me feel sometimes, but when I read through your comics I find myself saying "oh yeah, that's EXACTLY what that's like!" (especially about the different types of people you meet when you have cancer). I love the humor you bring to the situation, it feels really good to laugh at something that people approach with such grave seriousness.
I went to school for music, and am an active composer. I know what it can be like to create something and put it out to the world and be wondering if your ideas are reaching anyone or making a difference in someone's life. I wanted you to know that your ideas reached me, and brought a huge smile to my face during a difficult time smile emoticon so thank you!

Had I censored myself at all in any of my comics, I would have cheated this wonderful person out of the chance to be comforted, to have someone out there that can say what is so difficult to voice...and in the process create a smile. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that telling the truth takes guts I don't always feel like I have. I sometimes wonder if my next comic will be the one to turn away readers for good. But I found that the more truthful and bold I am, the more I have my fellow cancer patients and survivors thanking me for doing it. And really, they are who I do this for.

So, dear reader, I implore you: tell your story, and tell it truthfully. It's scary, but a hell of a ride. And for every one person you offend, there are ten out there who needed to hear what you had to say.

Freedom, joy, and connection always accompany truth, as well as the occasional turbulence. Go ahead. Go there.

 

Under a Spell...

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

Have you ever tried to walk a cat on a leash?

If so, you might be able to understand what it's like to have "chemo-brain".

Chemo-brain has got to sound like such a wishy-washy excuse for disorganization, procrastination or chronic forgetfulness. Before being diagnosed with cancer and having chemotherapy treatment, I would normally excuse an absent-minded mistake as a "blonde moment" because -hardy har- I'm a platinum blonde. I would get a chuckle and typically disarm any outrage over my error.

Now my absent-minded moments are so frequent that I can no longer pass it off humorously without coming off like a complete lunatic.  I regularly forget appointments, names, and important obligations. "Just write it down," they tell me. Good suggestion, but I do write it down and will lose what I wrote, or forget to check what I wrote altogether. 

It's like I'm under a spell, trying to walk a cat down the street while the fat bastard just lays down and lets me drag him behind me.

To have chemo brain is to have a mind that drags behind you all day long.

It tells you that you're thinking too hard on things that were once so simple.

Your speech drags.

You stare off into space.

You tire so easily.

You overwhelm so easily. 

You feel dumb.

You get embarrassed.

You burst into tears for seemingly no reason.

And yet...

You realize how cool and patient people can be, when you're just open and honest about the effects of treatment. You discover the goodness of people that you are still accepted despite your absent-mindedness reaching super-annoying heights. You realize that you're allowed to have a mind like a fat, legless cat on a leash. Shoot, you deserve a break. You're kicking cancer's ass, and it's a crazy exhausting to do so. 

You're tired, go to sleep.

Stop blogging this, Matt. That's right, I'm talking to you now. 

Stop writing...it's 10:30 at night. You worked all day and you're rambling now.

Go to bed...

I said, go to bed...

Why are you still writing? Stop it...

Rest.