the perks of cancer, part I

i’ve been kinda thoughtful and morose lately, and have decided that what i need right now is a good dose of humor to cheer myself up!  (and perhaps you, too, if my sullenness has gone viral.)

so, today, i bring you the first installment in a new series that will henceforth be known as the perks of cancer. additions to this series will be trotted out when there is a need for dispelling thunderstorms and fires and locusts (i haven’t written about locusts, yet? oh, that’s right. it was bed bugs…) and any other pestilence that rears its ugly head. if you’re a fellow cancer fighter/survivor, please contribute your favorite cancer perk(s) via the comments section (or email them to me), since i’ll undoubtedly run out of perks of my own sooner rather than later. (there aren’t that many. let’s be honest.)

without further ado, let’s begin. perk numero uno. free parking.

now, i don’t know if the DMV hands out disabled placards like consolation prizes to all those lucky enough to emerge from their doctor’s office with a diagnosis of cancer, or if i’m just extra special lucky because i have brain cancer. more precisely, a tumor located in the motor cortex of my brain, which has impaired my ability to walk. either way, this might be my most utilized (and appreciated) perk to date. and if you’re a cancer fighter/survivor who doesn’t have access to this VIPerk, then i’m sorry for you. because at the end of a long day, when i’m all curled up in bed and about to cry myself to sleep, sometimes i just clutch that blue plastic placard and, well, i cry myself to sleep anyway.

but i digress. after leaving the neurologist’s office in pasadena where i was first diagnosed back in october, i marched (read: drove) straight (it was actually pretty wiggly, being that it was the 110) to…no not UCLA neuro-oncology, that was later in the day. that’s right, the D-M-effing-V. that’s because my neurologist oh-so-obligingly delivered the news that i had a brain tumor, and followed it up with my consolation prize, a letter for the DMV explaining that i’ll be disabled in perpetuity. or permanently. or something like that.

so, now, in return for my trouble, i get free or reduced-price parking everywhere and unlimited access to front-row disabled parking spots! now, this might not mean a whole lot to those of you who don’t live in LA, but let me tell you, this is, like, the perk of all perks in a city where parking is a hot (and expensive) commodity. this perk applies at such varied locales as metered street parking, the beach, the hollywood bowl and trader joes. (at the one on westwood and national, nine times out of 10, i get a spot less than 30 feet from the door. no fighting, no waiting. just calmly drive up and pull in.) oh, and that endless and frustrating search for quarters (and — don’t deny it — dimes and even nickels, if you’re desperate)? over. just hang that bad boy up on the rearview mirror, and you can forget about extracting your hand from your pocket (or wallet) with nothing to show but lint and crumbs under your fingernails.

AND…if you really feel like getting the bang for your limp, take a leisurely drive up the 405 freeway (oops. blundered into an oxymoron. correction: take a grueling drive up the 405) to the sherman oaks galleria, where they will…wait for it…VALET your car for freeeee. (is it weird that i just heard larry miller in my head saying, “sit n sleep will beat anyone’s price or your mattress is freeeee”?) nevermind the fact that there’s really no reason whatsoever to go to a mall in the valley when you live next to two perfectly good ones in west los angeles. the point is, the perk exists.

and, by golly, i’m going to squeeze every last bit of juice out of this perk if it’s the last thing i do.

7 thoughts on “the perks of cancer, part I

  1. I laughed through my tears as I walked in my memory through those past events. My heart weeps for you as you struggle to find light in the darkness, joy in the pain, sense in the senseless, and joy in the gloom.
    You definitely light up the page with your pen. You give strength to those who are hurting. You allow us to feel our pain and be real with ourselves, and find healing. You make us laugh in our deepest anguish. You share yourself. ( another perk of your cancer). Might your deepest sorrow spring forth in your greatest joy! I better run…I heard my boiling egg pop!

    love you,

    You are my joy
    love you

  2. This perk will be lost on 9 out of 10 of my Kansas friends… but after living in Seattle, I can feel the power of such a rare perk.

  3. I love you heaps…and I definitely busted out laughing. I’m glad the DMV is busy doing…whatever it is they do…go abuse the valet service. xo

  4. Thank you so much for you perk today! I share with in this one and love it. I too live in California, up North and love my blue parking card. Keep smiling through those tough days no matter how hard. You know have another friend and reader. I will be thinking today of one of my favorite “perks” and get back to you on that.


    • hi dawn. thank you so much for your kind words. i’m so glad to hear that there’s a fellow parking-pass-perk lover here in california! i look forward to hearing back from you regarding your favorite cancer “perk.” once i’ve gathered enough of them, i’ll plan to write a special post featuring the stories other people have told me about their silver linings!

  5. This totally made me laugh!! The funny part is I was diagnosed over a year ago and have yet to get my parking pass!! This lit a fire under my butt for sure!! I up for any perk at this point! Thank you!

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