The Cancer Card
I’ve had cancer on and off for the last 10 years and something I’ve rarely done is use the ‘cancer card’. The first time I used it was at a shoe store, DSW. I remember being on my lunch break to return shoes and I was about the 4th person waiting in a long line. A well dressed man came rushing through the line all the way to the front saying he had a quick return and was on his lunch break so didn’t have much time. He cut in front of everyone because his time was apparently more important than everyone else’s. I was a little perturbed to say the least, so I blurted, ‘Hey, we’ve all been waiting here, we’re all in a hurry, and I have cancer so my time is probably more limited than yours.’ He turned red in the face and headed to the back of the line.
I have never wanted to use cancer as an excuse for special treatment or privileges...until now. After 4 times with cancer over the last 10
years, cancer is as part of my story as being in musicals in high school and college. It’s not an excuse, it’s weaved itself into my life and and my day to day decisions. I feel no shame using the cancer card now because it’s the cards I’ve been dealt and this is my story. People are more kind and understanding after they know I have cancer so I guess the real question is, why can’t we all
be more kind in general? Cancer card or not, everyone’s going through something. Don’t forget that!
‘Cancer is that awful word we all fear when we go to the doctor for a physical exam, but in that brief dark moment we hear it, the world we live in and the people we share it with begin to illuminate things we did not even pay attention to‘~BD Phillips