Humor is one of my secret weapons for getting through difficult situations. This is not a surprise to those who know me well. Sometimes when I should be crying, I find myself laughing, which is a lot more enjoyable. Even having cancer presents a lot of humorous situations that make me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I have shed my share of tears, but today I want to blog about something on my journey that I found very amusing and hopefully you will too.
Shortly after my diagnosis in March, I went straight to the internet in search of statistics, answers, and support. Statistics are scary and outdated, so I choose to dismiss those. I still haven’t found any answers, although I continue to search. What I have found is an outpouring of support from so many women who, like me, are dealing with a stage IV breast cancer diagnosis. My favorite is a site called bc.org. They have a ton of discussion boards for any and every situation from women who haven’t been diagnosed but are worried, to veterans who have been diagnosed and rediagnosed. You can ask questions about treatments, side effects, advice for caregivers, etc. I have yet to see someone post a question and not get some sort of support, answer, or resource sent her way.
I know some of you will probably comment and tell me not to believe everything I read and be careful because these people are not medical professionals. Please don’t worry. I would never do, try, or believe anything that I don’t confirm with my competent and well trained team of physicians.
Anyway, after being suddenly shoved from stage I into the stage IV category, I went to the stage IV discussion board. For several days I lurked and read about all kinds of topics from chemotherapy to anti-hormonal drug side effects, to clinical trials. I didn’t post anything. I think I was afraid that posting would make the situation too real. So for several days, I just read and learned.
One day, I came across a thread in which a woman was discussing her love affair with a man named Ned. Another woman chimed in and said that she too was having a love affair with Ned! Seriously? Who is this Ned guy? Was there really a man who went around romancing women with cancer? Seemed kind of sick and weird to me. But that was just the beginning.
Another woman was lamenting that she had never met Ned, but was in a relationship with the Stable Boy. Ok, so now I figured I had to be missing something. Stable Boy???? Is that like the stereotypical “pool boy?” Now, I was really confused.
Reading on, another message from a very happy woman who had just come from a doctors appointment and was happy to report her new love affair with Reggie. She even said her husband was excited for her and they were getting ready to go out to dinner and celebrate. Can you even imagine what I’m thinking at this point?
Finally, I had to get to the bottom of all of this relationship drama. I mean geese, this was worse than prom season at my high school. How can all of these women, facing a serious disease, be so caught up in their love lives and all of these relationships and affairs? I thought we were supposed to discuss cancer and other related issues. I got brave and decided the only way to figure it out was to ask. So, I posted a message asking someone to explain who these Ned, Reggie, and Stable Boy guys were and why they were such a hot topic on a cancer discussion board.
It didn’t take long to solve the mystery. Along with a lot of “LOL’s” I got a message explaining that Ned, Reggie, and the Stable Boy all directly relate to breast cancer and a woman’s current state. Ned is actually an acronym that stands for “NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.” This is what all stage IV cancer patients strive for. It basically means that scans and blood tests show no evidence of cancer……or in a more traditional term……remission. This is the ultimate goal and obviously why everyone is so excited to be in a relationship with “Ned.”
Reggie, I soon learned, was a term for regression. Meaning tests show tumors are shrinking and or disappearing. Another very good relationship to be in, although any woman would dump Reggie for Ned in a minute.
The Stable Boy, can you guess? The disease is stable…..no growth or change. Again, not as good as Reggie and Ned, but a man welcome in lieu of growth or progression of the disease.
After reading this message, among many others, I was laughing out loud. Some women on the boards even replied that they laughed so hard they cried after reading my question. It seems some of these veterans forget that us newbies might need some help catching on to the breast cancer slang! What I found to be so inspiring, is that we can laugh through such a horrible situation. Yes, cancer can be humorous and it is okay to laugh.
I am now more of a seasoned veteran on the boards. I too hope to start a love affair with Ned and I don’t mind sharing him with numerous others. He sounds like a great guy! My next scan is on July 5th, so everyone can pray that I get to meet Ned and keep him around for years to come. I don’t think Mark will mind!
I went back in for some minor touch up surgery with my plastic surgeon today. Everything is healing well, I have avoided infection (knock on wood), and my energy and stamina seem to improve daily. It’s unbelievable that surgery was just over three weeks ago. It seems like much longer. Dr. K. even told me today that if healing continues at this rate, he might be able to give me nipples before I go back to work in August. Sorry if that’s a little too much information for some of you …….LOL! 🙂