The Cancer Card

When my husband discovered he had prostate cancer years ago, we began using the term “cancer card” as a type of “get out of jail free” card for certain situations. I doubted it actually worked and we joked about using it a lot more than we ever considered using it. So, now I have my own cancer card.

For instance, why should I have to wait in long lines? (if I could be out there in any lines) If I don’t have much time left, doesn’t that just seem like a waste of the time I have?  But, I wait anyway – you never know what other people are dealing with too.

Early last month I decided to venture out in weather that turned into quite a snowstorm, even though I was still in the throes of the “horribles” from my previous chemo. I needed my bananas and yogurt. My wonderful Prius decided not to start when I returned to the car from the store. I never had electronic troubles with my Prius and the messages on the dashboard kept flashing nonsense. So, I called my hero, Mr. AAA. Apparently I have several batteries in my Prius and one of them decided to start sputtering. Mr. AAA asked me to get out my key fob and gave me instructions to go through a series of steps with it – locking, setting of the alarm, unlocking, pushing the on button with it..blah, blah, serious blah. I had no idea what he was talking about. He calmly repeated the instructions several times. I probably wouldn’t have understood him anyway, but the chemo enhanced my state of confusion to the point where I finally had to look at him and admit I just had chemo and just couldn’t follow his directions. An honest use of the cancer card.

Mr. AAA Hero leaped into the driver’s seat and took charge. It didn’t look like it was going to work, but he kept going with a surge of tenacity and magical button pushing until the car finally started. He would probably have worked just as hard without my use of the cancer card, but I could see he became even more determined to make sure my car started instead of towing it. And I so appreciated his super-power efforts.  

My other hero, my husband, apparently had also arrived and I drove right past him as he was walking to my car to help save me. I was focused on trying not to hit other cars as I pulled into the street using Mr. AAA’s rather cool truck as my guide in the snowstorm.

My cancer card had worked and saved my day. Such a relief. I know it won’t help much in this current weird world. However, I’ll still be very careful with my card! 

Published by


This is my blog about living my life with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer—End stage. I joked about writing this imaginary blog when I spent a year on a treatment that allowed me only 10 days to feel well enough to live a fairly normal life. (Actually normal doesn’t even really exist for me anymore!) To earn those good days, I spent the previous 10 days living in post-chemo treatment physical hell – that also became normal in a perverse way. I’m also writing to honor those who are diagnosed with Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer. You might live longer than you expect and I want you to have someone who tells you what that’s like. There aren’t many role models for people with this because, well, they’re usually gone. So, this is for you. Maybe your journey will be similar to mine. Actually, it will probably be very different because “everyone is different.” Even still, maybe this will still be a bit of a guide.

3 thoughts on “The Cancer Card”

  1. Kathy, what a fun and interesting little story about your car dilemma last month. You are a master at putting the thoughts that swirl through your head down onto paper. (Plus loved the funny ending, explaining how you drove right past Bill after he arrived to help you! :). The image of the whole scene brings a laugh and a smile. I definitely agree that a cancer card should give you automatic perks.

    Wishing you safety and clean air as you and all navigate through this current weird world. Wishing you joy as the flowers continue to bloom in your spring garden!


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s