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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

With a hop, skip, jump, splat

Although I didn't bore you with all this in my last post other than to mention it in passing, this particular merry month of May has been one long, painful nightmare.

It all began at a party May 4th at which veteran boozer Suze had a few snifters, but nothing outrageous. She was also wearing new shoes and trousers (slacks) that were about an inch too long.

Cue disaster.

On departing Suze managed to trip and catch both feet up on a high sill between the patio and the living room (yes, it was one of those rare occasions when we in the UK could sit outdoors in the evening.) Left ankle got hideously sprained, but no pain; that didn't start until hours later. Each time folks helped me up I would get my weight on the right foot, but the left foot would just collapse. Right leg had a whack on the lower shin but that didn't cause a problem.

Eventually got home, slept, next morning friend staying took one look at my left ankle which by now was looking like a large haggis and couldn't take any weight at all, and promptly drove me to A&E (ER) at the local hospital. Happily and amazingly nothing was broken, so I got strapped up and spent the next two weeks hobbling around on two sticks.

Now it's just over three weeks and although still painful and swollen, the left ankle is recovering nicely.

A happy ending? Not on your nelly, as the English say, and let's not go into what a nelly is right now. Remember that graze on my lower shin bone that had scabbed over nicely and didn't hurt at all? Well, last Friday the scab began to disintegrate and after 24 hours it had disappeared. In its place was the sort of hole you see on footpaths (sidewalks) when workmen have been digging out deeply placed telephone cables. I squirted some antiseptic medication into the hole but by Sunday it was hurting terribly and I was running a fever of 100F.

Cue panic.

Same kind friend happened to be here again so drove me to A&E (ER) once again and this time we all huddled around my other leg. "Ah yes, a deep gangrenous and badly infected wound," said the African doctor cheerfully.

"Gangrene?" I whinneyed. "Isn't that serious? Will you have to cut my leg off?"

African doc smiled patiently and said no, not this time but had I left it any longer, well, who knows.

"But what about that nice scab that healed up so well? And there was no pain?"

African doc tried hard to smile. "You see, on most of the rest of your body there is quite a lot of tissue between the skin and the bones," he said, clutching my chubby calf to illustrate his point. "The problem is between the skin and the bone on your shin, there is diddly squat. Zip. Nada. So if you look down your hole, you will see your tibia. There, look - that white thing at the bottom."

"Tibia? That's the bone?"

"Yup. And that nice neat scab was hiding the trouble underneath. This wound has been infected for three weeks."

Well, if you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know I'm not squeamish - chemotherapy, surgery, BCG treatments, you name it, I've coped and made jokes about it all.

Suddenly though, this time I was lost for a few funny words...

Anyway the hole is now closing up thanks to daily dressing by kind nursies at our local medical centre and the infection is ebbing away thanks to some foul, very strong antibiotics which make me nauseous and give me the Aztec two-step, but let's not go there.

This all reminds me of the story of the man who was due in the hospital to have his right leg amputated. He awoke from the anaesthetic to find the surgeon standing beside his bed and the surgeon said, "Mr Jones, I have some good news and some bad news."

"Give me the bad news first."

"Well, sadly we amputed your left leg by mistake. But the good news is your right leg is recovering spontaneously!

Until next time .... Sz

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vitamin D - let the battle commence

I wonder how many dermatologically sensitive people have begun to eat their hats recently, given that reasonable amounts of sunshine turn out not only to be not all that harmful, but also to be instrumental in reducing the risk / spread of a number of cancers, especially of the breast? (Strong sunlight on the skin causes it to produce Vitamin D - and it seems many of us are deficient.)

The beauty journalists, in particular, are getting thoroughly schizoid about it. In the editorial of one of the UK's leading women's magazines recently the editor proclaimed that "just 20 minutes in the sun is enough exposure to top up your Vitamin D tank for the entire day!"

After a few more lines she oozed "I closed my eyes and threw my head back to bathe my face*** in the afternoon sun."

When you follow the asterisks, beauty-conscious person that she is, she points out "don't worry, I was wearing an SPF 15 moisturiser."

Shame she doesn't realise that for the sunlight to get your skin producing adequate quantities of Vitamin D, it should be as bare as a baby's behind. And even in relatively tropical climes 20 minutes' of sunshine is hardly going to inflict third degree burns.

One of many, many current, good articles about Vit D can be found here. Well worth reading, especially if you have a connection with breast cancer.

Well, I shall be popping Vit D supplements for the foreseeable future as after a couple of glorious warm, sunny weeks southern England where I live is once again gray and rainy. What with that plus a badly sprained ankle I have no excuse whatsoever to avoid finishing the manuscript of my next book (due out in November) which is about winter weddings.

If you have an interest either in weddings or green living, or both, you might like to take a look at my most recently published book, "How To Get Married In Green." It's attracting quite a lot of attention!

Until next time ... Sz