Friday, May 28, 2010


I just read a post on one of my favorite blogs, Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer, and Crazy Woman. She wrote about being in an exercise class and the instructor asking if anyone had any health problems (ML&CW has a brain tumor). I was going to leave a comment for her about my own experience, but it got really long, so I decided to turn it into a blog post instead.

I joined a gym about a year and a half ago. (By the way, I am still really good about going to my strength-training classes two or three times a week. See a previous post about lifting weights with some very strong older ladies.) When the front desk lady was filling out all of my gym-joining paperwork, she said, "You're healthy, right? You're not on any meds?" I paused, wondering how I was going to phrase everything. I feel like one can't just blurt out, "I have cancer," without following up with a lengthy explanation of how one is not going to collapse and die at the gym right that second. It needed to sound very breezy and casual, something like, "Um, yeah, well, OK, see, I have this rare form of blood cancer? Like, a kind that only 70-year-old men get? But I've never had any symptoms, and my form of it is really slow-moving, so I'm only on medication some of the time, and they're just pills, not, you know, 'make-you-go-bald' chemo or anything, and right now I'm on a super low dose, with the idea that I'll probably be completely off the drugs in six months. And, no, I'm not in remission, but that is TOTALLY OK." I knew I'd have to add that last part in, because some people get really freaked out when you say you're not in remission.

Just as I was getting ready to launch into my casual, breezy, I'm-not-going-to-die explanation, I noticed that the front-desk lady had already written "H E A L T H Y" in giant letters across the bottom of the form. Well, gee. How sad would it be to watch her scribble out "H E A L T H Y" and replace it with, "Rare form of 70-year-old-man cancer, but claims she is not going to die, despite the fact that she's not even in remission."

"Yeah," I said, "I'm healthy."


Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Hi there - Thanks for the shout out! This story made me laugh, and cringe, at the same time. So true that you're young, you LOOK healthy, yet ... so much easier to just go with the path of least resistance.

"No meds?"

"NOPE! { ... minus those fourteen pills I swallow every morning.}"

Alice of Wonderland said...

Well, there is something to be said about affirming "healthy" and letting your cells hear you... intentions are powerful. So for now, I align with your intention, "I am healthy!"

KCZMA said...

Sometimes, if we believe what other people seem to believe, maybe it will be true? Or is that just what's called wishful thinking?

Penny Hadgeoff said...

Hilarious! Love this so much - I have been living with/fighting an "incurable old man cancer" for 15 years, but by golly, I AM FINE!

Annie said...

Our local gym has a "fit to fight" program. I'm thinking of joining it just to avoid the looks. I too am on the pills that let you keep your hair (nexavar) so sometimes it's easier to pretend i'm healthy. Until I run out of energy and they want to know why the young(ish) healthy woman is sitting down again.