Cancer Comic Strip

My name is Suzan St Maur and I've had cancer twice. I find that humor helps me get through my cancer, and from what I understand it helps many others too. This blog is dedicated not to information about the disease, but to cancer warriors and their relatives/friends who just want some cheering chuckles. By all means share your funny stories and jokes with us - email them to suze @ (If you want to know more about me see my profile on here or

Friday, November 25, 2005

Well, I'm all tooled up...

New wig, new boob (full all-singing, all-dancing silicone job) and yesterday I had my second Epirubicin chemo session. So far, so good again. Maybe I'll be one of the luckier ones.

Today I got an email from a colleague in Canada who has just lost his sister to mets breast cancer. He referred me to her website and I read it all - her bravery and humor is an inspiration to us all. I'm sure her brother won't mind if I refer you to her URL which is Her writing is wonderful, full of laughter, hope and love.

Now, it's one thing to go into the hospital for tests and have to hang around waiting while the experts find time to get to your case. However the in the following anecdote our patient wasn't so lucky. Or was she?

A beautiful young girl is about to undergo a minor surgical investigation. She's laid on a trolley bed by a lady in a white dress and brought to the corridor.

Before they enter the room she leaves her behind the theatre door to go in and check whether everything is ready.

A young man wearing a white coat approaches, takes the sheet away and starts examining her naked body. He walks away and talks to another man in a white coat. The second man comes over and does the same examinations.

When a third man starts examining her body so closely, she grows impatient and says: "All these examinations are fine and appreciated, but when are you going to start the investigation?"

The man in the white coat shrugged his shoulders: "I have no idea. We're just painting the corridor."

Hope you guys in the US are having a great Holiday weekend ... and for the rest of us that our ordinary weekends are going well!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Some tips for US Thanksgiving cooks...

...Because I'm doing a chemo session tomorrow I'm unable to join my local American friends (who consider me to be their "honorary American") for Thanksgiving dinner. However they said they'll send me over some turkey to munch on next day and I can't wait! In the meantime here is a recipe you USA folks might find helpful.



Step 1: Go buy a turkey. (size is not important)
Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey.
Step 3: Put turkey in the oven. (use a pan)
Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey. (glass preferred)
Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens.
Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink out of bottle.
Step 7: Turn oven the on.
Step 8: Take 4 whisks of drinky.
Step 9: Turk the bastey craefully.
Step 10: Whiskey another bottle of get an open it.
Step 11: Stick a turkey in the thermometer.
Step 12: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey.
Step 13: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours.
Step 14: Take the oven out of the turkey.
Step 15: Take the oven out of the turkey.
Step 16: Floor the turkey up off of the pick.
Step 17: Turk the carvey wit a knife sharp.
Step 18: Git a fix on teh wound baggage it.
Step 19: Blood stoped is when it on go then.
Step 20: Get yourself another scottle of botch or whiky.
Step 21: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey.
Step 22: Bless the saying, pass and eat out.


Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Growing old (dis)gracefully

As I watch my hair fall out - well, it's marginally more interesting than watching paint dry - I had to laugh at the following quotes about getting older. Not that I'm anywhere near that time yet of course. And neither are you of course. But anyway ...


I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotard on, the class was over.

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: "And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked. She simply replied, "No peer pressure."

The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs.

Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?" "98," she replied. "Two years older than me." "So you're 96," the undertaker commented. She responded, "Hardly worth going home, is it?

I've sure gotten old. I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees. Fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.

An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed. "Why Wal-Mart?" "Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week."

My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

I'm getting into swing dancing. Not on purpose. Some parts of my body are just prone to swinging.

It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffeemaker.

These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For fast relief."

I've tried to find a suitable exercise video for women my age, but they haven't made one called "Buns of Putty."

Don't think of it as getting hot flashes. Think of it as your inner child playing with matches.

Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back up.

Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old, You grow old because you stop laughing.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.


Well, Thursday's chemo time again ... four hiball glasses full of Epirubicin pumped into my arm, getting stoned and starving on steroids and peeing bright orange for 36 hours. Oh joy!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's follicular fallout time!

This past week has been frantic. Happily I've had very little reaction to my first chemo session and have been working flat out, galvanized into action by my Canadian buddy Leslie. In an email to her I mentioned that I should really get cracking on writing up my next book because it's due to be published in the Spring.

"Damned right you'd better get cracking," she replied, "the book's already available on pre-order from Amazon."

Yikes! I checked it up and sure enough, there it was (it's called "Wedding Speeches For Women" and it's on and, but not yet.)

There's nothing like the finality of an Amazon entry to get writers like me motivated so it has been tap, tap, tap on the keyboard for many hours, which chemo permitting will continue until the manuscript is finished.

I've been so busy I scarcely noticed on Wednesday this week that my hair has started falling out. What with dog hairs and cat hairs everywhere (we have two dogs and three cats) a few more don't really make much difference, but now I'm beginning to wonder whether I should preserve my fallout and have it spun into wool with which I could then knit a hat. What do you think?

Anyway I've already bought a great wig which I'm looking forward to wearing, and my son insisted that I may only wear beanie hats with designer labels. So I may become a "slaphead" but at least I'll be a smartly dressed one!

....and talking of being smartly dressed, it seems that's not a quality well known within surgical circles, according to this anonymous contribution from a surgeon in the USA...

During my surgical residency I was called out of a sound sleep to the emergency room. Unshaven and with tousled hair, I showed up with an equally unpresentable medical student.
In the ER we encountered the on-call medical resident and his student, both neatly attired in clean white lab coats.

The resident said to his student, "You can always tell the surgeons by their absolute disregard for appearance."

Two evenings later, I was at a banquet when called to the ER for yet another emergency.

I was stitching away - wearing a tuxedo - when I encountered that same medical resident. He looked at me, then said to his student, "Sure is sensitive to criticism, isn't he?"

Have a great weekend and if you're in the USA, have a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

Went shopping for hats today in anticipation of my hair's impending disappearance. Just as I was stepping out the door to do this the mailman (well, mailpersonne, as it happens) arrived with a parcel from the USA. Imaging my delight on opening it to find a beautiful handknitted beanie hat with matching scarf, crafted especially for me by the lovely Barb Grengs (see September archive, "Bye, Bye, Boobie.") What wonderful friends I have.

The hair is still hanging in. I keep tugging at it to see if I can get a handful out; this would make an amusing party trick, but so far it doesn't work. Perhaps I should visit a barber's to get my head shaved. But having read of this poor guy's experience (see below) I think I'll keeping tugging and waiting.

An obviously new barber nicked a customer several times while giving him a shave.

The new man, in an effort to smooth things over asked solicitously, "Do you want your head wrapped in a hot towel?"

"No thanks." said the customer. "I'll carry it home under my arm."

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Those steroids have SO much to answer for...

I'm still eating. Enough for six hyperactive lumberjacks with a double workload even though I haven't touched a steroid since Sunday.

Soon we will have to have the doorways widened here at our house and probably have the floors strengthened at the same time. The local supermarkets think Christmas shopping has started early and share/stock values of Tesco and Marks & Spencer (UK food havens) have trebled since my first chemo session. Coincidence? Hah!

When will the bubble burst? Or more to the point, when will my abdomen burst? I keep trying to put myself off eating with little success. Then I look forward to the coming Holiday Season longing for some roast turkey. Aha, maybe the prospect of avian flu will seal my lips on that one .... d'you think?

For the time being here is the story (one of my favorites) of one member of the poultry community, at least, who won't succumb either to avian flu prevention or culinary purposes, poor little b*st*rd.


Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically to launch dead chickens at the windscreens of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all travelling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windscreens.

British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windscreens of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the British engineers.

When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurtled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's backrest in two and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.

The horrified Britons sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windscreen, and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions. NASA responded with a 1-line e-mail: " Defrost the chicken first."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Arrrggghhhh ... I'm still starving .....

Despite ceasing steroid consumption nearly 48 hours ago I'm still chewing on my mousemat here at the computer and longing anxiously to get my teeth into that delicious pork tenderloin I'm cooking for dinner tonight.

What can I do? Everyone says that 50 percent of people on chemo put on weight and now I know why ... those dastardly steroids.

Yum, yum, keep the weight off my bum.

In the meantime here is some further aversion therapy of the junk food kind (original author unknown but thanks, pal, I think it may be cutting my appetite already.)


~ McSpleen

~ McMenudo

~ McShrooms

~ Filet O'Flesh

~ Salmon McLox

~ Filet O'Gefilte Fish

~ McKitty Sandwich

~ Chicken McBobbitts

~ Them Ain't Nuggets!

~ The Depressed Meal

~ Way Too Happy Meal

~ Shirley McLean Burger

~ McTonya Club Sandwich

~ Boutrous Boutrous Burger

~ Rocky Mountain McOysters

~ Lion King Hairball Happy Meal

- Bob Barker's Happy Pants Meal

~ Grumpy Meal, Dopey Meal, and Sneezy Meal

~ ENRON McStock Shares

~ McLobster & Bacon Bisquit


Monday, November 07, 2005

Food, food, glorious food...

Far from creating streams of projectile vomit after my first session of chemo four days ago, since then I have done nothing but eat. The steroids I was given may have been a "low dose" but within hours of getting home my head was in the refrigerator and has pretty much remained there for the duration.

Shame I couldn't have combined that with skull cooling, which in the end I declined. Having squashed three oncology nurses in a corner and demanded a straight answer about "cool caps," their subsequent squirming and winking at each other told me all I needed to know. Freezing cold, blinding headache, extra time at the hospital, all to give my hair another couple of weeks on my head? Uh-uh.

And would you believe it, the refrigerator calls and I'm hungry again? Here's a short anecdote that should help to cut everyone's appetite (see below.) Until next time, yours ravenously .... Sz.


At a lunch party one day a surgeon friend was watching his host carve the cold cuts. As he worked, the host kept making comments, asking “well, what do you think of that? How am I doing? How’s that for surgical technique? Would you say I’ve got what it takes to be a surgeon?”

When the host had finished and the thin, perfect slices of cold turkey, ham and beef were set out on platters, the surgeon finally spoke up. “I can see you’ve got what it takes to slice them up, George. But how good would you be at sewing them back together?"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What's in a name?

Well here I am six hours after my first infusion of what seemed like several gallons of Epirubicin, and I feel OK. Tired, but OK.

And the experience was extremely civilised, pleasant even - largely thanks to Erica, the delightful oncology nurse whose devotion to duty was so great, she even ran out after me to the parking lot, in the rain, because I had left an important piece of paper behind. Thanks, my friend!

Mind you, my dear old (sadly late) Dad has a lot to answer for. Word on the street was he went to register my birth having had a few too many celebratory snifters and spelled my name wrong - Su "z" an as opposed to the more usual Su "s" an.

Anyway this has caused chaos and confusion ever since and now has thrown three hospital computer systems into utter disarray. Here's how it went:

**Hospital #1 computer system spits out my name as "Suzanne" (2 x n)
**I get surgery at hospital #2, surgeon is annoyed by misspelling, has it corrected to "Suzan" (1 x n)
**Hospital #3 greets me for chemo and asks me to verify my name as interpreted by their computer, "Suzannne" (3 x n)
**I scream with laughter, email surgeon later to tell him
**He replies by return saying 'well, they got it wrong to the "nth" degree'...

Now here are some name ideas to confuse computer systems big time, as defined by an unknown author some years ago:

GEORGE BUSH: When you rearrange the letters: HE BUGS GORE

DORMITORY: When you rearrange the letters: DIRTY ROOM

EVANGELIST: When you rearrange the letters: EVIL'S AGENT

PRESBYTERIAN: When you rearrange the letters: BEST IN PRAYER

DESPERATION: When you rearrange the letters: A ROPE ENDS IT

THE MORSE CODE: When you rearrange the letters: HERE COME DOTS

SLOT MACHINES: When you rearrange the letters: CASH LOST IN ME

ANIMOSITY: When you rearrange the letters: IS NO AMITY

MOTHER-IN-LAW: When you rearrange the letters: WOMAN HITLER

SNOOZE ALARMS: When you rearrange the letters: ALAS! NO MORE Z' S

A DECIMAL POINT: When you rearrange the letters: I'M A DOT IN PLACE

THE EARTHQUAKES: When you rearrange the letters: THAT QUEER SHAKE

ELEVEN PLUS TWO: When you rearrange the letters: TWELVE PLUS ONE

AND for the grand finale:


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Will I need first aid for chemo?

Well, I'm into the final countdown to chemo now. Tomorrow (Nov 2) I go to have a PICC line fitted and the day after (Nov 3) I get the first blast. That's the first of 8 sessions taking place at three week intervals.

I bought a wig today; not costing a fortune, but a nice one. I picked my son up from the school bus and he wore it all the way home. I think we may fall out over that one, but - the wig being blonde and streaky - I suspect he'll chicken out of wearing it in front of his pals. It's far too girly. His girlfriend may have something to say on that issue too.

I have to say, I'm nervous about my first chemo session.

But not as nervous as I would be if treated by exponents of the following First Aid thanks go to the UK-based Laurence Harris for his invaluable input.


Run the affected area under cold tap water as soon as possible (if the victim's entire body is a swirling mass of flames, it may a little too late for this). If the victim has spilt hot liquid over his/her clothes, then REMOVE CLOTHING IMMEDIATELY. You can never tell, the sight of you parading around naked may cheer them up and take their mind off their injury. Remind the victim that worse things happen at sea. Cite drowning as an example.

Is he/she still connected to the power supply? If so, SWITCH OFF THE POWER IMMEDIATELY. Electricity costs an absolute fortune, and it would be going to waste. Check the victims pulse (if you can find their wrist amongst the stack of charred bones and greasy, bubbling flesh that was once a human being). And do try not to be squeamish about it. Drive the victim to the nearest emergency room. You can use him/her to jump start the motor as well if need be.

Check the injured area to see if the break or fracture has resulted in a tubular shard of shearing white bone jutting outwards through the bloody mass of flesh. If it has, then tell the victim that they are going to die. That always perks them up. Tie a splint to the victims leg and ask them to walk back and forth for a few minutes. They will probably fall down unconscious, making the rest of your job easier. Do not move the broken or fractured limb, as this may result in an abnormal position. However, if you're feeling daring, try pointing legs in the wrong direction, bending wrists through 180 degrees, etc. It really is amazing the number of fascinating contortions you can produce. Far better than Play-Doh.

Try to dislodge the article blocking the victims windpipe by punching them hard in the stomach. Do remember to duck before the particles of food hit you in the eye, however. Call the waiter and ask for a 20 percent reduction on the bill. Make a mental note to order soup next time.

Dress the wound, whatever that means. Try and limit the blood loss by tying a tourniquet tightly around the victims throat unit they experience difficulty in breathing. Ha ha, only kidding. ie the tourniquet just above the wound. Just my little joke. Stitch up the wound with aluminium wire. Ha ha! Caught you again! Outsmarted you! Still, I am an expert, you know.

Rinse the victims eye in lukewarm water. DO NOT USE SOAP AS WELL, IDIOT. Offer to pick the object out of the victims eye with your teeth. This usually results in the object mysteriously "going away" and not bothering the victim any more before you can get to it.

When the victim comes around, ask them what day it is, who the President is, how many fingers you are holding up. To make it more difficult, hold the fingers up behind your back. Talk in Swahili to disorient the victim a bit more. Yes, there's a whole bundle of laughs when it comes
to concussion. Here's a good one: before the victim comes around, switch off all the lights. When he/she regains consciousness, shout "Thank God! We thought you might be dead, or blinded or something."