Westley from the Princess Bride shrugs smugly

Cancersplaining Princess Bride Style

I spent some time in a few hotel rooms recently because of traveling to conferences and I always end up watching things I wouldn't normally watch when I'm by myself. It just so happened that Princess Bride was on when I was in a particular hotel room. I've not seen the movie in years!

As I was watching, I was reminded of how many great one-liners there are. Great one-liners that are so very very useful when considering how often people inside and outside of the cancer community attempt to explain/describe the experience of living with terminal cancer.

So, here's my version of Cancersplaining, utilizing the one-liners from Princess Bride ...

  1. "Inconceivable." Does this need more explanation? So much about living with cancer truly was inconceivable not too long ago and yet, here we are. As another character stated ... I don't think you understand the meaning of the word.
  2. "Get used to disappointment." A lot of it. Disappointment doesn't even seem to cover the challenges and hurdles this diagnosis brings.
  3. "I don't even exercise." Andre the Giant said this when another character asked about his physique. Yep, got this body without having to exercise, thanks Cancer, thanks so much.
  4. "Masks are terribly comfortable. One day everyone will be wearing them." Ah, Wesley, what a statement. Legitimately, masks are not comfortable and having to wear one to avoid catching something while spending time in public spaces is not fun and not everyone wears them.
  5. "Die slowly, cut into a thousand pieces." This sometimes feels like a good explanation of living with MBC. It takes a little and then a little more, all the time.
  6. "Life is pain, anyone who says differently is selling something." A lot of people try to sell things, much of which isn't helpful at all. Life with MBC could be described as pain. It is painful to get to know people only to see them die. It is painful to think of leaving my children when they are young. MBC is pain.
  7. "Death can not stop true love, only delay it a little." I hope this is true.
  8. "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." I included this line as a rather ironic twist on cancersplaining. Having one's health is so much more important than others think; yet, there are still other things that remain even when one's health is precarious.
  9. "There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead." Now, this is a true statement if ever I've heard one. There is a gigantic difference between mostly dead and all dead. Living with a terminal illness means that we straddle that line every day and yet we keep going.
  10. "Humiliations galore." Every day.

Don't get me wrong, I couldn't get through the day without a TON of hope and a strong dash of resilience. Yet, it doesn't help anyone to whitewash the reality of living with a terminal diagnosis. Sometimes, it is helpful to have a somewhat humorous take on the realities of living with MBC.

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