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Humor in Saying the Wrong Thing

Alexandra (aka Kick Cancer Chick) from Cologne, Germany, was 43 in August 2017 when she found a lump on her breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer Stage 2, G3 with an 80 percent growth rate only two weeks after no longer breast feeding her second child, Mia. To make her breast cancer a normal part of her and especially her children’s daily lives and to raise awareness, she spread the news, openly talks about it, never wears a wig and writes in her blog ( and also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) about her journey. 

Funny is probably the last word that one associates with cancer, but you need to see the bright side and the funny parts to cheer you up and there are many funny things in Cancerville. Most of all, it is the people around me, who — mostly unintentional — make my days. Well, then again, it also depends on my mood, my chemo brain and the weather, if I laugh or flip, but that is another story.


There is the Persian taxi driver, who with all good intentions — no doubt — says just to make conversation: "Oh, you are hungry, you probably did not have breakfast today" as I stuff my face with licorice I just stocked up on outside chemo heaven. During my first chemo, I had absolutely no appetite, but since they increased the cortisone with this new poison I am getting every week, I could just eat all day — anything and everything! Therefore it is not surprising that I had — as asked by my oncologist — a good breakfast before chemo, did munch on candy and fruit during chemo and had just finished a jacket potato with loads of toppings and a freshly squeezed carrot juice (this is supposed to kill cancer ; )) for lunch post chemo.

I look at him — these taxi drivers are aware where they are picking up the patients on a medical transfers and say, "I just had chemo and it makes me hungry," though I do feel a bit guilty for eating so much, but hey, none of his business and I really enjoy my food.


He looks at me, nods, pauses and gives me a serious look "You will do it!“ And I nod back, while I am still emptying the big bag trying to fish for the sour black-red coins first and mumbling, "This was in fact chemo 15/16 and all is going well! Thanks!"

And then he asks, "What kind of cancer do you have?“ I can only mutter, "bleastcancer“ while chewing away and suddenly his eyes widen and there is a big smile on his face.

His words tremble as the excitement grows, "Aha, breast cancer! You know what you have to do?!?! I had another patient once, same cancer as you and you know what!?!? What really helped her!?"

He pauses to increase the tension, his eyes are sparkling, "beetroot juice!"

I look at him and simply thank him, when he adds, "You can get it in Rewe supermarket, go to the beverage section, where they sell little packages, but you have to make sure is says 'BIO' on it. It is great and the cancer will be gone!"

Now I stare at him, but I just thank him. I know he meant well and he is such a friendly chap — sorry, Mr. Taxi Driver!

Yep, all this time and money wasted on cancer research, while the answer was always there, but nobody asked that Persian taxi driver from Cologne!

Everyone has good intentions saying something and yes, it is hard to find the right words and we do not mean to be mean, but my bosom buddies and I are allowed to brighten our days with these stories and there are "Breast Cancer Bullshit Bingo" charts around with such responses as:

"Why do you have cancer?"

"My aunt/cousin/friend, etc, had the same cancer, but he/she is dead now!"

"You have to…."

"Do you think it was your deodorant, hormones, etc."

Having a laugh about it is the best way to cope with some of the nonsense you hear and even if not intended to help in this way, laughing is the best medicine and often we can both laugh about it.

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