|I should probably get the Human Centipede drawing tattooed on this bad boy.|
The last few months have arguably been the most difficult months in my life. I apologize in advance for seemingly abandoning this site, but I've been a little bit...preoccupied. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to write about this, but if I allow illness to overtake all the things in my life that I love, then I'll never truly be cured. Here's the truth of it all: I have/had pancreatic cancer. To save you some googling, pancreatic cancer has a 4-6% survival rate in the United States and a 3% survival rate in the United Kingdom. A team of doctors removed a tennis ball sized pancreatic tumor, 40% of my pancreas, my entire spleen, and 20+ lymph nodes. I spent some time in the hospital and I'm still going through recovery. There's a 40% chance of the cancer coming back and considering I'm only 23, that's an arbitrary number because the statistics are based on a majority of people suffering from the disease being 25+ years my senior. As of right now, I'm cancer free. However, I have to wait 5 years to be determined truly out of the woods. I don't want to sound like a John Green novel, but I really am a ticking time bomb. I've had to accept that there is a very distinct possibility that I'll show up at a doctor's office to find out I'm going to die.
It's been really horrifying and I'll be the first to admit I've avoided blogging on here or on Icons of Fright because I always leave a little piece of myself in everything that I write. Knowing that I could very well be gone in a flash, I've been selfishly holding on to each piece I have left. I've always prided myself on being a strong woman, but god damn if cancer doesn't make you feel the most vulnerable you ever will. I've always watched a large amount of horror movies, but since being diagnosed I've found myself almost exclusively watching horror. From my initial emergency room visit to the entire hospital stay and now in recovery, my media consumption has been dominated by horror movies (Well, and Monday night viewings of RuPaul's Drag Race). It's one thing to explain away watching some of the depraved stuff you see in horror movies when you're healthy, but how can you watch horror when you're dying?
|You should have seen my nurse's faces when they came in my room and saw this on the TV|
One of the more obvious answers is "Because I like horror movies, damn it." Horror is a huge part of my personality and it's where I find the most enjoyment. I'm not stupid, I know how "strange" it is for people to accept the fact I'm a bonafide horror junkie. Considering I don't stereotypically "look" like a horror fan, the general public usually sees my love of horror as something "quirky" or "interesting" that makes me unique. When you're in a hospital, you don't want to be just a number. I was lucky that while I was staying in the hospital, I was the youngest patient on my floor by about 30 years. The nursing staff loved me because I didn't need someone to clean up my bowel movements and because I'd crack jokes with them at all hours of the day. The fact I loved horror movies was something very unique to me and gave my nurses a reason to talk to me about things other than my illness and allowed them to really see me as a person, and not as a diagnosis. Maybe that's an incredibly vain reason for watching SyFy for hours on end in a hospital and possibly horrifying the other floormates when there's nothing but screaming heard from my television, but it made a genuine difference in the quality of my hospital stay.
|The TV edit of THE RUINS is garbage, by the way.|
|Did you know they let extra-terrestrials get medical degrees?|
|Avoid husband bulges and you'll be just fine.|
At the end of the day, horror makes me feel better about myself because it rewards all the virtues of living a healthy lifestyle. Don't drink, don't smoke, don't fornicate, don't do drugs, and you'll survive. I'm a non-smoker, I don't do drugs, I'm a responsible drinker, and I don't have mindless sex. My doctors were baffled that they even found my cancer because of how healthy I was and the fact I showed zero symptoms. Hell, I volunteer with the homeless and used to run a tri-city Halloween food drive for the less fortunate and I STILL got cancer before I was old enough to legally rent a car. That's some straight up bullshit. It was so frustrating to sit in a hospital with cancer after living a healthy life while I watched people on social media brag about cheating on their girlfriends and stealing from their bosses. I'm not one to knock people's lifestyles, but I got cancer and I'm sort of a goody two shoes! What kind of shit is that?! Horror movies let me see the poetic justice I was craving. I spent the first two weeks screaming "It's not fair!" at the sky, and I wasn't wrong. Life isn't fair, but horror movies...usually are. People like me survive, and when you're actually dying, that sort of ideal shown in the media makes a world of difference. We shouldn't need a masked slasher to improve healthcare but one certainly would help.
|Hospital stays on Halloween night? Aw, hell naw.|