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The Church of Cancer

(Warning: This is intentionally irreverent about cancer, as the title implies. If such attitudes bother you, leave now.)

Introduction: This was originally posted to one of the prostate cancer mailing lists back on 4/28/00. New York City Mayor Giuliani's diagnosis had prompted a variety of remarks, ad showing giuliani with a milk moustache even including some fairly biting ones, wondering if he will now seek the "prostate cancer vote."

The most caustic were being posted by someone calling himself/herself "Howard Stern," after the controversial New York City radio personality. One man couldn't take it any longer and said he resented this because Giuliani was now "one of us..." I couldn't bite my tongue any more and so this is what I posted, under the subject line, "Church of Cancer." I think it deserves repeating.

I'm not going to earn points or change your mind on this one but I'm going to disagree with you on this one, _______ . You said about our Mr. Stern:

As a CaP survivor, I deeply resent your childish attempts to politicize the Mayor's problem. The dragon who inhabits our bodies knows neither friend nor foe. He is now one of us, and I don't care whether he is an R, a D, or an Independent.
If there is anyone who has the right to turn a tragedy into a joke, it is someone who is there. In fact, they need it most and when it comes to cancer, we need it most. You may not like Mr. Stern's brand of humor but I find it healthy and good roughage in the same way I laughed at Lenny Bruce 30 years ago between his arrests. Someone has to yank our chains occasionally.

As far as the Mayor being "one of us," is that now said in hushed tones, as if there is some reverence to it or special honor that now means I can't make jokes about cancer in his presence?

If Rudy wants support, he's got it. From me. From you. From Berky. And probably from every damned SOB on this list because we know what it is like. But I'm also going to warn this fellow SOB that he's now going to find a few new cancer jokes floating around and I want to thank him for them ahead of time because I need a few irreverent laughs in the face of this Beast we have in us. I want to spit in that Beast's face every time I can and one of the best ways is laughing at it, Laughing out of spite and if some other "survivor" (gawd, I hate that term - that's another subject to earn me points) wants to take me to task for my manner of fighting this Beast, okay. I'll try to be polite to the individual but on the subject in public forums, then, stand back. I give this Beast no quarter.

Enough of these hushed reverent tones in respect for this Beast, that we can't say certain things. Who is this PCa, the Pope and Johns Hopkins [Hospital] is the Vatican? (Stern would probably say so because he likes their coffee.) What is this, the Church of Cancer? If so, color me atheist. (But I'll try the coffee.)

And don't take it personal, ______. I'm willing to live and fight with someone who resents my attitude. I just want them to live and fight with me.

I just don't want to sleep with you, if you don't mind.

Robert Young
PSA at Dx 1000+
Stage D
and I am enjoying it!

[Note: As soon as I sent this, I decided to write why I am NOT a "survivor," which is also at this site.]

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.