The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Mr. F. Cancer Barged In

by Beverly BradleyPatient, stage 4, triple negative breast cancerSeptember 21, 2020View more posts from Beverly Bradley

I thought door-to-door salesmen had to knock. This one barged right in! Said his name was Mr. F. Cancer. I didn’t know what he was selling. He handed me five pamphlets and a booklet on himself. I glanced at the first title: “Living With Cancer.” I had no plans to live with him, that’s for sure! I tossed the brochures out. He remained undeterred. Moved right in against my wishes.

Turns out, Cancer is a boorish boarder. He demanded a special recliner be set up for him. He claimed he couldn’t rest well otherwise. He filled an end table with his many supplies. There were medications, sports drinks, bottles of vitamins, and supplements. Cancer claimed he had no appetite. No appetite? All my hidden snacks certainly disappeared!

To get rid of him, I tried name-calling: “Stupid-Cancer.” He calmly retorted, “That’s F. Cancer to you.” Still, he wouldn’t leave. I was forced to think about him because his demands were almost continuous. Empty this drain. Keep a record of the cc’s of fluid. Did you write that down? Did you do your arm exercises? I think you forgot to take your pills. (Always nagging, making me feel overwhelmed.) He took up half the couch with all his belongings. There were mounds of medical supplies and over-stuffed pillows. Who needs all that stuff? Cancer claimed he did.

The financial strain he causes is of deep concern. Cancer is expensive! He should be paying me room and board. Instead, I receive bills for his excessive spending at radiologists, medical services, and labs. Why am I expected to pay when I didn’t invite Cancer in! Lately, he’s added what I surmise are luxuries when I saw the receipt from “Uptown Wig Shoppe.” My savings are dwindling. I want to get rid of Cancer.

Since Cancer took up residence, he’s also using up space in the refrigerator. He immediately filled it with prescription mouthwash, special foods, probiotics, and fruit juices, and the freezer has ice packs and popsicles. I don’t think popsicles are healthy, though Cancer says he needs them for a dry throat. Meal prep used to be easy for me, but now I have to do special adaptions for a restricted diet. I need to kick Cancer out.

Mr. F. Cancer is a serious burden in another way. He causes me to forget things. I hesitate to blame others, but it is a fact. I now have to write down things if I want to be sure to remember them. I seem to be in a fog since Cancer entered my life. Since his treatment of me must qualify as abuse, I will look into getting a restraining order if Cancer refuses to leave!

I wish I’d never opened the door to him—but wait. I did not. Mr. F. Cancer burst right in. He even had the audacity to admit he’d been lurking around previously, unbeknownst to me. He is the most inconsiderate boarder, comes with a bag of troubles, and never wants to leave. I only hope he never shows up at your door.

© Beverly Bradley, June, 2020

Beverly Bradley

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

Join the Conversation!

Leave a comment below. Remember to keep it positive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *