a pink image of a man eating a donut as pink clouds roll in from behind

The Cancer Cloud - Permeating Everything & Everyone Around You

Last updated: August 2020

The cancer cloud. When I say it you probably think of some pesticide-laden industrial accident ominously looming over a midwestern town, but that’s not the type of cloud we’re talking about today. Well, it’s mostly not that, the cloud we are talking about is a bit loomish. Loomey? Err, it looms. Whatever, this type of looming cancer cloud is one that contaminates everything around you and has a unique ability to turn regular anything into cancer everything.

I know, I know, you are probably like, “Oh great, another one of Dan’s ridiculous and obscure metaphors,” but stick with me here. I’ll jump right into an example of what I’m talking about. When I was in the throes of chemo, someone stopped by and brought me a box of doughnuts. Normally, I love doughnuts, I mean, who doesn’t like doughnuts, right? Communists maybe, but the point is, there I was accepting this gift that someone had graciously brought. As I was greedily licking the confections, the person said, “here, I brought you some cancer doughnuts!”

Cancer doughnuts are doughnuts

Cancer doughnuts. Now, I get what the person was saying, I do, but in my mind, I was thinking, “you mean... doughnuts?” Because that’s what they still were, whether I had cancer or not – the same doughnuts that they’d be if you gave them to a steelworker or a mortician or the person who makes aglets for clown shoelaces – they’d still just be doughnuts, not welding doughnuts or deathnuts or even shoelougnuts? Whatever, that last one’s a stretch, but my point remains valid – cancer seems to poison everything around us and contaminate it unlike anything else.

That’s the cancer cloud, that unyielding effect the illness seems to have on even the most mundane of things, transforming them into cancer-versions of themselves, like Bizzaro-world from the comics where everything is warped. Now that I’ve explained it and given an example, most of you are probably thinking of your own examples of cancer doughnuts – cancer clothes, cancer pillows, cancer seasonings (aka hot sauce, lots and lots of hot sauce). All of the normal things in your life stop being those things and take on the “cancer” prefix. It’s crazy, and it’s not just things but people and relationships also.

The cancer cloud infects everything around you

Think about how much the cancer cloud infects and permeates all of your relationships post-diagnosis. The cloud can take your already-upended life and spread the cancer contamination far and wide into areas you never thought possible. Suddenly, people who you thought probably hated you are telling you how “strong” you are, and how “brave” it is that you are fighting this fight. It’s like, uhhhh, you literally told people I was the worst thing since taxes at last Tuesday’s Orange Theory class, but now I’m “brave” and “strong?” Did you have a stroke? Nope, that’s cancer cloud contamination in full effect.

How about when your significant other was about to break up with you, or you with them because they let the bathroom garbage pile up until you are swarmed with fruit flies every time you just want to brush your damn teeth. You know, as an example, just saying. Suddenly, though, you’re both clinging to the relationship like it’s the last cracker in the emergency life-raft survival kit. Cancer cloud strikes again. See what I’m getting it?

So, can we take anything at face value when you have cancer? Well, yes and no. You see, the cancer cloud does one other thing that’s much more insidious than the rest of its tricks. The cancer cloud even contaminates you and you begin to doubt yourself and the instincts that have served you well for years. Think about that person, you know, the one who you always knew was a flim-flam snake-oil salesman? Well, they suddenly show up, all “you are so amazing and tough,” and because of the cancer cloud contamination suddenly you’re best friends and planning to start a check-cashing business together. What?!

Normally, before the cancer cloud, if flim-flam guy asked you to start a business together you’d have told him that the only business you’re interested in Mindya. Mindya Business. ...Mind Your Business? (it’s a play on words people). You have to realize that the cancer cloud has gotten its tendrils into your brain’s judgment, umm, hole (area? part? hectare? you tell me…), and it makes you forget that you still know right from wrong, good from bad, and snake oil from liquid gold.

The initial cancer cloud blessing

It’s funny because when I think about the cancer cloud and picture it in my mind, it’s a pink sparkly cloud that looks like it would be a comfy bed for a chocolate-covered rainbow-colored unicorn. At first, I thought, “that’s absurd, if the unicorn is chocolate-covered, how do you know it’s rainbow-colored?” Then, after that salient point, I said, “also, why is it pink and sparkly?”

Well, it’s because the cancer cloud comes on like it’s a blessing, a positive, something that makes everyone who inhales it nice and sweet and makes them give you things. At first glance that seems awesome, I mean, who doesn’t like free things? Eventually, though, you realize that just like unicorns, it’s all fake, stilted, propped-up, and that your initial instincts about doctors and relationships and doughnuts are still correct, it’s just that they’ve been temporarily disguised. Just like bathroom spray from the dollar store, it comes on heavy and strong with a pretty color but once you really examine it you realize that things smell just as bad as they always did but now with a hint of lilac. Lilac and unicorn poop. Talk soon.

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