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Butt Wait -- It's OK to Laugh

Christy Lorio was diagnosed in June 2018 with stage IV rectal cancer at 38 with metastasis to her brain, then mets to her lungs in October 2018 after being NED for several months. Christy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of New Orleans and is starting an MFA in Photography in the fall. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Sea Foam Mag, Four Three Three, Slag Glass City, Barren Magazine, and others. Christy lives in New Orleans with her husband, two dogs and a healthy amount of cats.

Ass cancer is the butt of all jokes.

I mean, what’s not to laugh at? After I got done crying about my initial diagnosis, I tried to see the humorous side of cancer as much as I could. The way I was diagnosed was ludicrous, something out of a movie. I was in Ireland, walking around Cork’s city centre when I had a seizure. The seizure was caused by a brain tumor that metastasized from my rectal tumor. I was full of this bullshit, from my butt to my brain.

I almost always laugh in uncomfortable situations. It’s my coping mechanism, a way to break the tension. I often times can’t help it; I’ve had many of times where I was having a serious moment with a boss and I just started laughing. I seriously wondered if they thought I was nuts or if I wasn’t taking the situation seriously.

It’s not easy to be so open about what’s inside my butthole. Casually talking about your bowel

movements isn’t your typical conversation fodder, but sometimes your bowels come up at the weirdest moments. I was standing on my front porch one afternoon when I saw my next door neighbor’s handyman. I hadn’t seen him in a while, so he asked me how I was doing. There was no hiding the truth with my bald head, so told him I had cancer. A religious man, he asked if he could pray for me. I said yes, despite not being religious myself. He wanted to put his healing hands on where my tumor was.

“Um, it’s in my butt.”

“Okay,” he said, without missing a beat.

I let him put his hand on my hip instead. He said a prayer that I don’t remember then took off like it was no biggie that he essentially asked to touch my rectum.

Colorectal cancer got less than half of research funding than breast cancer. People want to save the boobies but fewer people want to save the butts. Look, I get it. It’s uncomfortable to talk about colorectal cancer. If anything, having butt cancer has broken down the stigma for me and hey, everyone poops. I’ve learned to take advantage of poop puns and have become open about sharing my cancer experiences both on social media and in my writing practice.

By me being more open about my cancer, I’ve encouraged others to get screened and to listen to their bodies more. I had my routine colonoscopy recently (everything went great btw so I decided to share some of the experience on my Instagram stories as way to tell people that having a colonoscopy isn’t a big deal. Is it fun? Hell no, but getting butt cancer is even crappier. Several people thanked me for breaking down the process for them, so the discomfort of TMI was worth it.

Now, go get screened!

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