Crazy Ugly Cancer

A few months ago I saw a movie called “Crazy Sexy Cancer,” by Kris Carr. Its actually really good; a documentary about an actress’ journey through natural cancer treatment. I was watching it as part of what I thought was my final research for Going In.

Anyhow, I’m sitting here mulling over the title. Crazy. Sexy. Cancer.

Well, from what I have just been through over the past five months along with my support team of sisters (literal and figurative,) I’d have to argue over that title. Well, not the crazy part. Cancer is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, except for maybe my relatives. If you’re reading this I’m not talking about you ;-).

You see, my mom smoked my whole life. I’d watch her in admiration as she seductively breathed in the alluring smoke, watched it drift from her softly parted lips in swirls and sometimes the impossible smoke rings. When I’d go to the store I’d grab some fake cigarettes and put on an air of sophistication, emanating my mom’s grace with every move. We try to be like our elders after all.

Of course I tried to smoke the real things too. With my sexy mamma as a role model, can you blame me? At first my friends and I would have slumber parties where we’d each steal some half smoked butts from our mom’s and dad’s ashtrays and then share the loot after all of the adults had gone to bed. When those were gone, we’d roll up newspapers and smoke that too. Oh my goodness did I cough. After about two of those parties I’d deduced that I didn’t have it in me to smoke. My lungs hurt too much.

As I grew, I was drawn to boys who smoked – until it occurred to me that they’d taste like an ash tray if ever our lips should meet – then I’d dump them. Poor things. But watching them smoke was definitely a turn-on. Who could look at James Dean and say he was disgusting? I mean c’mon! This was the first hint that I was attracted to bad boys, which never went away.

Fast forward through thirty years of my un-smoked life, and I had the privilege of sharing my mom’s last months with her – the real final research for Going In as it turns out. Here’s where I’m questioning my attraction to smoking. My mom spent her last months in agony. Of course, that was when we couldn’t get the meds down her. Hospice concocted an addictive cocktail of pain meds that kept her comfortable at least until her last few weeks.

But those last few weeks? There was nothing sexy about them, I swear to you. Watching someone go through this felt inhumane. We’d put our pets to sleep if they were going through this horrible pain. I was so angry each time the meds I gave her didn’t touch the pain. After awhile the pedicures, manicures and messages didn’t do much good and she didn’t want us to touch her anymore. Why is this kind of suffering legal? Why is euthanasia such a taboo?

So I’d like to amend that title if I could, to Crazy Ugly Cancer. And then go yank the cigarettes out of everyone’s mouths and destroy them.

‘Cause dying of lung cancer? Ain’t nothing sexy about that.


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