If you had cancer, have cancer, think you might get cancer, or know someone close in one of those three groups, it’s hard not to think about it. When this disease becomes a part of your world in one way or another, it gets into your head even if it’s in your prostate. But life is about more than cancer control, and there are techniques that will absolutely make you stop thinking about the infamous “C” word. I’ll give you three good ones and leave it to you to add more in the reply/comments area.
Grits & Bacon:
I normally have a simple bowl of Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal for breakfast—no big deal. But on weekends Lucy and I pull out all the stops. I make the grits, she makes the bacon. Add an aromatic cup of coffee brewed from newly roasted, just-ground beans, maybe throw a little shredded sharp cheddar cheese or a slab of butter along with some freshly ground pepper on top of the steamy grits, and there is no way you can think about the rest of life’s agenda, including you-know-what. It’s even better if you’re lucky enough to be sitting at the table with your “Lucy,” especially if she made the bacon.
…although grits-and-bacon works very well if we cook at home, pecan waffles and hash browns…
I should add that Lucy and I have a limited culinary repertoire, and although grits-and-bacon works very well if we cook at home, pecan waffles and hash browns from a reputable Waffle House establishment can also very effectively enhance the distraction from the other thing we don’t want to think about for a while. Their coffee is usually at least passable, too.
Want a break from cancer? Stomp a couple times on a fire ant hill. Let me be clear: I’ve done this and I’m definitely not recommending it. This is more appropriately applied as an accidental distraction, but if you desperately need a clean break from cancer for a while, it’ll work. The extreme itch bordering on pain is indescribable and all-consuming, leaving room for nothing else in your conscious mind. I’ve heard that poison ivy or poison oak works equally well, but I cannot personally confirm that.
At the peak of the experience there is a chance this technique may backfire, making you wish you could trade the ant bites for something else, anything else, even cancer. It’s that bad. There have been movies depicting fire ants (WARNING: graphic fire ant scene from Indiana Jones) as a tool of torture. Their bites can be life-threatening, so keep your phone on 911 and your EpiPen close at hand if you feel desperate enough to foolishly try this on purpose.
Children are not among the intended readership of this blog, so it’s reasonable for me to assume you are not one. I will also assume that you’re probably old enough to know that when your (or anyone’s) kids or grandkids—especially those five years old or younger—are in your house, your life changes. They bring you incredible joy along with a full-time job. Between the joy and the job, there is no time left for wallowing or worrying about anything else, even that thing we’re not going to mention or think about. So go ahead: take a break from “it” and invite the little munchkins for an overnight visit. If you have none of your own, your neighbors will happily lend you theirs.
They bring you incredible joy along with a full-time job. Between the joy and the job, there is no time left for wallowing or worrying about anything else…
The key to this tactic is that you must “child-proof the house.” Ever heard that phrase? Because children invariably act like children, anything within their physical reach is at risk for hurting them or being destroyed and must be removed to a safe haven until the little tykes have left the building. This child-proofing is a continuous physical and mental effort in real time, and the vigilance of being one step ahead of those cute little humans requires most of our attention. The rest of our energy goes to projecting our possibly fictitious public image of being relaxed, unconcerned, and at peace with the world. Then, as a bonus at the end of the visit, the inevitable period of exhaustion that follows this experience will leave you so physically and mentally drained that your cancer-free mindset will linger a while longer.
Now it’s your turn. What is your most effective cancer distraction?