Sugarcoating It

What does it mean to “Sugarcoat” something?  Well according to; sugarcoat means: (as a verb) To make superficially more acceptable or appealing, or To give a deceptively attractive appearance to.  Now let’s put that into the context of this blog.  “Living with Cancer” or better yet, “My experience in life with cancer” which ever one you wish to go with should do just fine.  Just do yourself, myself, and anyone else that will read your comments on this blog a favor.  Actually read the entire blog before jumping to conclusions and think real hard about what you’re going to comment about, you could end up coming across as a careless bastard or simply just a piece of shit.  People should feel free to comment their own true feelings, yeah I agree, hello why do you think that I’m writing a blog about this stuff?  To read what I already wrote and sit here with delusions of grandeur or some shit.  If I wanted to do that, well my friends (hopefully by the end of this blog, I can still call some of you a “friend” or at least my other nickname for you “reader”.) I would simply write a Star Wars story and bask in the glorification that I wrote a story about Jedi and Sith that will never be published as canon and more simply publish it as fanfiction.  So with that out of the way here comes the usual disclaimer:  If you get offended easily, grossed out easily, or simply can’t deal with vulgar vocabulary and descriptive narratives, then stop reading now!  I intend to speak my mind and I will not hold anything back; I will not be sugarcoating this blog.  You have been warned!

When a person is diagnosed with a disease that could kill them, many things start running through their mind.  Well at least for me it did, and it also did for the others that I have read about, watched in videos, met at the hospital, and so forth.  I’m going to focus on cancer (because that’s what I have) but I’m positive that this subject matter will fit in any life altering disease or event.  As time goes on, you begin to ask yourself some pretty personal questions and then you begin to believe the answers to them are dark or depressive.  We’ll talk about those later on.

On November 6th, 2015; As I left the Doctor’s office and began calling my loved ones.  I thought that I was doing one of the most difficult things that I would ever have to do.  Trust me that day sucked and it still chokes me up when I think about it.  When you tell your family and friends that you have cancer, they do what most people would expect.  They choke up, tear up, cry, and such.  That day I heard “No, tell me you’re joking,” “Oh my God,” “I’m so sorry,” and the one that hurt the most “I love you” as tears rolled down their faces.  Those moments were full of raw emotion.  Believe it or not, I sometimes think about those raw emotions that were expressed that day.  They help me get through the tough times and remind me that I’m not alone.

Some of you have probably been through something like that.  I feel for you.  Whether you were the one giving the bad news or the one receiving it, you know what raw emotions I was talking about.  Now let’s not jump too far ahead.  Shortly after letting your loved ones know your supposed fate, you began receiving sugarcoated messages, comments, and calls.  Something everyone does.  No one wants to be the dick that said “bummer dude, so yo’re gonna die?” or “sucks to be you.”  Even though many of us thought it.  Sure I was asked questions like “How long do they give you,” “What are your options,” and “How are you holding up?”  Those are questions that (at least I was expecting) should be asked.  People want to know.  They’re curious about it and they have every right to be.  Then came the sugarcoating statements such as; “What ever you need,” “Call me anytime night or day,” “I’ll always be here for you,” and the most popular one of all “Whatever I can do for you, you know that you can count on me to help you.”

Now let’s fast forward two years.  Living with a disease that is trying to kill you kind of opens your eyes to the changes and alterations it makes to your life.  It’s really hard not to see them, the longer you live through them.  Like I said before I think about those raw emotions from the first day a lot.  I also think about the sugarcoated ones too, more so when I’m feeling alone or let down.

So far so good  Now here comes the non sugarcoated lines that will pull at some emotions.  Again, finish reading all of this blog before you get all riled up and start commenting.

When it comes to living with any disease that could kill you, you begin to realize that the longer you survive the easier it is to spot the sugarcoating effects of living with the changes.  Let’s focus on living with cancer and it’s effects, since that’s what I have.  I’m not going to lure you in (anymore than I already have) with a stylish form of vocabulary that tends to do the opposite of this Blog’s title.  In other words I’m not going to sugarcoat a fucking thing about living with cancer, so you’ll probably find a comment or two asking if I’m mad or if I really think that the use of such vulgar words is necessary?  No I’m not mad at the world, or pissed off, or in a bad mood.  Well not at any of you, dear readers.  I will admit that I’m upset with myself over this blog entry.  I almost didn’t publish it.  I was worried that I might piss off some people.  So, I’m pissed at myself for actually worrying if my opinion on what I’m talking about offends you.  By now most of you have experienced how I express my thoughts into words on the screen.  So you shouldn’t be too surprised.  So without further delusions of a politically correct world of vocabulary and such; let’s get this puppy rolling.

No more trying to show support for a person that is living with a life ending disease, unless you are actually there for that person on a regular basis, by saying shit like: “Whatever you need,” “Anytime night or day,” and one of my ever growing favorites; posting on Facebook that you care.  I understand that when you first hear that a friend or a loved one has cancer you’re shocked.  So naturally you don’t want to be the dick by not saying supportive things.  Yet as time goes by and that person is still fighting, most people tend to pull away.  Trust me, we notice these things.  It’s kind of hard not to see it.  Most of the time (while you’re struggling to just get through the day) it’s the same select few people that are there trying to ease your suffering or trying to help you out by any means possible.  As the rest of the world pulls away and has already declared you as a gonner.  Now try this little slap of reality; try to figure out who will be the first ones to put distance between you and them when it’s your turn to face death.  You’ll be surprised!

National Geographic Magazine’s June issue has an article titled “Why we lie”.  I read that article and decided that there is some truth to it.  I began reading that article after I had already started writing this blog entry and then I decided that I wanted to add my two cents on the subject matter to this entry.  So the beginning of this entry is the newer stuff.  I still have some of the original stuff peppered in here.

So now that I’ve got your attention a little bit more.  Ask yourself this:  “How many times do you sugarcoat things?”  I do it all the time.  Now is sugarcoating lying?  In a way it is, but it is in a way that is harmless right?  Well, we’ll have to leave that up to your interpretation of it.  In Return of the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi said; “What I said was true, from a certain point of view.”  So I guess it matters on a person’s point of view and how the sugarcoating is actually used.  Every time someone asks me how I’m doing, I tend to sugarcoat it by saying “not bad,” or “at least I’m still kicking it.”  When what I really want to tell them is “most of the time I’m either puking or shitting my guts out so fucking much that I’ve actually started studying the contents that end up in the toilet bowl.”  Now for the most part I don’t do that (tell people that I do check out the bowl), or tell them how I really feel.  I know that they only asked to be kind, so I try to respond with kindness.  That’s why I got pissed at myself over this blog entry.  My wife told me that the whole point of me writing a blog about living with cancer is to express myself, my opinions, and feeling on living with cancer.  She said that I shouldn’t worry about hurting anyone’s feeling (unless I’ve singled them out).  That’s what pissed me off.  I forgot that the reason why I’m writing this shit down and that I’ve been sugarcoating shit for people verbally so often that this blog’s purpose became blurry to me.  Not only is this blog for me to express myself, it’s also to sort of educate or prepare others for what they might experience when they begin to live with cancer.  There are a lot of people out there that are searching for the truth about it.  For the most part, in what I’ve found at least, you get the usual stuff.  The what kind of cancer you have, how it’s trying to kill you, and what your options are.  Yet there are people that want to hear from people like me.  They want to know if they have a shot at beating this or are they just fucked.  What I’m trying to express is the day to day stuff.  The in’s and out’s if you will.  Your doctor isn’t going to tell you how shitty you’re going to feel after the chemo finished running through your system unless they went through it themselves.  I know that not everyone living with cancer is going to experience the same shit that I am.  It will vary from person to person.  There are a lot of variables to account for.  So I tend to focus on the ones that I think most people might experience, like sugarcoating things.  As time goes by, I see more and more instances of people sugarcoating cancer and life with it.  Doctors, nurses, caregivers, family, friends, and even myself, we all tend to ease the topic of cancer by adding a little kindness to it.  Hence the phrase “Sugarcoating it.”  Right?  Oh shit, did I just ask a rhetorical question?

The most common question that I am asked is, “How are you doing today?”  I suppose that living with cancer that, that question will be asked a lot.  Are you yet wondering what type of questions I was referring to at the beginning?  We’ll get to those eventually, I promise my friends.  I’ve noticed that for a person living with cancer, some questions take on a whole new role in our day-to-day lives.  For example; the “How are you?” question can be a clue to how your treatment is going and also a reminder of who is keeping track of your progress.  Living with cancer assures you that one day is not going to be the same as the next day, or the one before.  Let me give you yet another example; (I know dear Reader, you just admire my examples just as much as you admire watching a young kid pull a snot string from their nose and either fling it out there or slurp it up), except this example is completely true and a bit more descriptive.  “What shall I drink today?”  Yesterday warm tea didn’t make me cough.  You see I have this issue with of coughing when I drink.  Now don’t get all anal retentive, pissy, or synical on my ass here.  No I do not consume alcoholic beverages.  So no I do not have an alcoholic drinking problem.  This problem changes daily.  Like I said before, yesterday I could drink warm tea without coughing.  If I drink something else that makes me cough, well let’s just say that I’m a huge supporter of porcelain cleaning materials because I not only pray at the porcelain altar.  My head violates that boundary or barrier where only skinny asses dwell and the excrement tends to hang around before finally taking the plunge into the cold porcelain water.  SIDE NOTE STARTS When cleaning the toilet do not forget to clean the inside of the upper lip.  Sometimes the crap plugs up a hole that water usually comes out of and depending on the viscosity of the crap and where your ass or face is located at the moment of lever activation you could be in for a surprise. SIDE NOTE ENDS  So I tend to get the whole bowl experience, from simply drinking just about anything.

The other day I was joking with my mother and I told her that I need to line up a row of shot glasses with different things to drink.  Slowly test each one, and then go with the one that doesn’t make me cough and eventually go pray.  I still am alive enough to enjoy a variety of stuff to drink.  Yesterday was tea and today it’s milk, ha jokes on me because I’m lactose intolerant and all we have is regular milk.  Well I’ll be able to tell if my meds have me backed up at all, and yes I’ll be visiting the porcelain throne a lot today.  Still lost?

Here we go with those damn questions again. I guess I’ve humored you enough for the moment, if not I’m sure what I have to say will crack a smile on your face. Maybe not.  So to get back to the questions I mentioned at the beginning shall we.

So the first question that keeps running through my mind is, “Why don’t my friends ever call or visit?”  I know that I’m in Utah more than I am home.  Shit even when I am home I don’t see anybody.  I post most of my activities on Facebook.  I thought my friends would see that.  I couldn’t text or call everybody on my contact lists that I want to see or visit with because there is so many of them.  I know people have busy lives and it’s hard to adjust a schedule on short notice.  Then again I didn’t get a lot of calls or visitors before all this cancer stuff.  A few people have come clean and told me that they are just waiting for the day they get the news that I’m no longer among the living.  I don’t know why they are waiting.  They don’t talk to me anymore, so just move on, be courteous enough and let me know that you are no longer wanting to hear from me and I to will move on.  Life is too damn short to spend a moment with people that don’t really care whether you’re alive or dead.  Besides it’s far better spending time with people that show that they care then to keep asking yourself what it was that you did to push those friends away.  Trust me on this one; depression tries to rear it’s ugly head a lot.  If you let it get a grip on you, well then you’ve got a much more difficult task ahead of you.  You need to find ways to stay positive, and if you need to sugarcoat some things, then do it.

So on my birthday last month,I had to go to the hospital and have some tests done.  I was hoping that since the tests were done on my b-day, that I would get some good news.  Well I got good news.  Continue with chemo and keytruda.  It’s working!  Oh- the side effects though, they will give you some trouble.  Nausea, diarrhea, and pretty much feeling like you have a severe case of the flu.  It will have you bed ridden for a few days.  So you can take this medication to help counteract the effects.  Only problems is that this medication will keep you awake, so no sleep time.  That sucks, cus you need sleep.  So I thought, well game time.  Not such an easy task.  Too many games to choose from and so little energy to play the fast paced games.  So audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and writing are good substitutes when you feel good enough.

Here’s my biggest issue right now.  Loneliness!  I get so fucking lonely at times that it drives me fucking crazy.  I know that people have their lives that they need to live, but sometimes I wish they had just a few minutes to set aside to bullsht with me.  I’ve been told that some of the reasons that some folks don’t visit or call is that they are afraid that I will be asking them for money.  I tell them that I’m good, and that’s when shit like sugarcoating my treatment kind of backfires.  They are under the impression that I’m hiding the finances from them until they come around and that’s when I’ll hit them up for some cash.  No matter how hard I try to convince them that I won’t, it never works.  Look the last time we needed help financially was for a bottle of medication.  I only asked four people for help and we got the funds together and got the medication.  We had to learn the ropes on the insurance stuff so that we could avoid another situation like that.  So far this year we haven’t had to ask for help financially, so why do people still think that I’m going to hit them up, even when I never hit them up from the get go.

I still have to watch what I eat and how I eat.  I am maintaining my weight around 150 lbs.  so that’s good.  The doctors are still saying that I have a few more years of a fight ahead of me.  So that’s still a good thing.  No, “well we’ve done all we can do, so now it’s time to sit back and let nature take it’s course.

All in all, with no sugarcoating it, life with cancer is going about as good as one can expect.  You have good days, you have bad days.  There are days that make you wish you were dead, and then there are the days that you are glad to be alive.

So with that my friends, I’m going to stop for now.  Maybe we’ll see ya soon.  We will be in the Riverton area for the 4th of July weekend, we have family things and reunions that we want to attend.  So if you see around town, stop and say hi, and try not to sugarcoat shit.  Let’s just be honest with each other and go from there.  Besides, I know who the ones are that I should avoid because all they care about is the negative shit.  So hopefully they will be to occupied to even notice that I’m around.

Till later, Take care




One thought on “Sugarcoating It”

  1. I love the emotion you put into you’re writing. You aren’t the “sugar-coating” kind of person. You tell it like it is. So many of us don’t have a clue what it’s like to fight for life. So your raw expressions paint the picture for us. It’s ugly but there’s nothing pretty about cancer. Enjoy your holiday weekend with friends and family.


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