I was about thirteen when I first said the ultimate bomb: fuck. I recall that I felt a little self-conscious at first. And then I did it again. It got easier. Third time? I owned that baby! I’ve been “fucking” ever since. So much so that when I attend functions of the uppity kind I have to consciously engage the academic vocabulary lest I offend my colleagues or potential donors. When I learned how to speak Arabic (no where fluently, mind you) I learned the curse words first (came in handy, let me tell you).
In this blog I use some pretty colorful language. I haven’t availed myself of my entire repertoire, mind you. I mean, I have some class. My friend sent me an email after the first couple of posts asking me to limit my use of the “seven dirty words.” With one exception: ” ‘tits’ — you should say ‘tits’.” Another good friend told me to watch my potty mouth (but she always says that).
Tonight as I was reading one of the boards, one of the ladies said that she had texted a friend and surprised her with the number of f-bombs she let loose. Her friend was taken aback, but her response was right on the money: “A diagnosis like this? You get Tourette’s.”
You’re goddamned right! I have to say that even with my accomplished salty spew, this cancer diagnosis has often left me speechless. But not by much. When my surgeon first told me that I had cancer, my first words? “Fuck me.” And when he told be about the upgrade to Stage IV, know what I said? “Fuck me.” Cripes, what else can you say when you hear that?
Fuck is such an all purpose word, as has been pointed out many times. It’s the single best word to use when you’re infuriated. Indeed, the other day two men were fighting in front of my building over some temporary parking, “Fuck you, you fuck! Go back to fucking Jersey!” Yep, that about said it all. When you’re angry you say fuck. Ya gotta. Seriously, consider the alternatives.
- I am so mad that I have cancer.
- I have cancer? H-E-double hockey sticks!
- Gosh, I have cancer.
- Dammit, it’s cancer.
- Oh no. I have cancer.
They sound about as angry as forgetting to keep your receipt for the underwear you need to return. A minor inconvenience. A stomach ache. A case of the shits. A headache. And how could you be madder than having cancer? Okay, stubbing a toe will likely elicit a hasty FUCK!, but you don’t know rage until you know cancer. Stage 0 to Stage IV–the rage is there.
It’s a game changer. If you don’t act fast it will kill you. And sometimes you get the word that there is no cure. Maybe not today, maybe not in five years, but it will kill you. Only 15% of women diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer will live beyond five years. Fifteen-mother-fucking-percent. When you’re facing that, you give me a word that expresses anger, resentment, fear, and rage better than the word fuck.
To help shrink the Death Star and the Tie Fighter cells in the body, I’m taking Tamoxifen. It sucks. At this one moment in time I have no pain, no exhaustion, no vertigo. Great, an hour out of twenty-four. Lots of people call it Tammie or Toxy for short.
Balls. I call it Tamoxifuck.
This shit has clobbered by quality of life. And, good god, it’s not even chemotherapy. What the hell are these other women going through right now? Christ, it’s unfathomable! Boy, when I face that I might as well change my name to Fucky Fuck McFuckinstein because there is going to be a constant stream of fear and anger spewing forth then.
So the next time you get hit with the f-bombs from your cancer buddies, just let ’em land and explode. And if you’re offended? That’s just too fucking bad.