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, September 28, 2007

Doctors take notes: but get them right, OK?

Here's the latest batch of doctors' notes on hospital patients and - speaking as a professional writer - it really does make my mind boggle to see how inaccurate some of those notes can be. For example:

1. The skin was moist and dry.

2. Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid. (Long fingers?)

3. The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

4. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce.

5. Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

6. The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.

7. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

8. The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately.

9. Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

10. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

11. The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week.

12. Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles.

13. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation. (Excuse me, what are you doing with that pen light?)

14. She is numb from her toes down.

15. Exam of genitalia was completely negative except for the right foot. (Anatomy review time!)

16. While in the emergency room, she was examined, X-rated and sent home.

17. The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stockbroker instead. (An empowered patient.)

18. The patient suffers from occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.

19. Coming from Detroit, this man has no children.

20. Examination reveals a well-developed male lying in bed with his family in no distress.

21. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

22. When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

23. We will follow her eyes and nose with a foley catheter.

24. By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

25. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

26. On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.

27. The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1983.

28. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

29. Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

30. Healthy-appearing decrepit sixty-nine-year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

31. The patient refused an autopsy.

32. The patient expired on the floor uneventfully.

33. Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.

34. The patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant, with only a forty-pound weight gain in the past three days.

35. She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

36. The patient had a rash over his truck.

37. Dictation blunder: lasar radar response (as opposed to vagovagal response).

Sheesh. And these are the people to whom we entrust our health, and our lives?

(With grateful thanks to my friend Kazzy in Folkestone, England, who supplied that information.)


Monday, September 17, 2007

Goodbye summer, hello our future

So here we are in September. I have been hideously remiss in not posting on here but after my course of BCG (bladder cancer) treatments I couldn't wait to get the hell out of UK, fly to Canada, and spend a few weeks chilling back home.

Well, chilling is hardly an appropriate word here when you think that we spent 5 weeks travelling around visiting family and friends and at one point spent a week by Georgian Bay (Ontario) in rented accommodation in a group of 6 adults and 8 teenagers. Evening meals, in particular, resembled running a restaurant but we oldies shared out the responsibility and somehow managed to emerged unscathed.

Especially as none of us had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to see kids off to school...unlike now that we're all back to reality.

Now, the bladder cancer. Having heard the most terrifying stories from some folks who experienced BCG treatments I approached them, as you know, with some trepidation. However the sum total of my side effects were extreme fatigue. No pain, no fevers, no diddly squat. I am very lucky.

A week ago I went into the hospital for another "poke and peek" to see what if anything had happened up my wee-wee hole since the BCG treatment and my sabbatical in Canada. After my epidural anaesthetic had taken effect once again my numb legs were hoisted into the very undignified stirrups and the procedure began.

As this time the first little mini-camera worked (unlike the previous time when several little mini-cams failed before we found one that performed) the VT monitor was turned a bit so I could watch and I witnessed the entire procedure.

Despite my personal interest in the whole thing, I have to tell you - the interior walls of the human bladder really don't grab your interest like scenes from the latest soap or ballroom dancing prog on TV. Slightly fazed by a small shot of tranquiliser while watching, I frivolously asked the surgeon if he had ever played that "Packman" game on computers whereby the character ate up small segments of the opposing factor.

That's what the action on screen looked like to me, as they were using their miniature hedge-pruners to chop out a couple of remaining cancer spots as well as a few healthy-looking places for biopsy.

So now we wait for histology and my next rendezvous with the delightful Mr Andrews (operating surgeons in the UK, despite having had the Doctor handle for years, revert to "Mister" when appointed to "consultant" - i.e. senior surgeon - status) which takes place October 5th.

I'm lucky. Mr Andrews is such a nice guy - Nigerian, and fascinating with the stories of the medical profession out there - and cares about his patients so, so, much.

Now all I've got to do is get on with my work.

As so many of us say, and most of us believe, OK - we have cancer. But we also have a life.

What do you think?

Love to all