In a conversation with a couple of friends who are also long term survivors of their cancer, one friend announced that she is a ‘Cancer Twinkie’. I tried not spray anyone with my coffee as I laughed out the question ‘Wha…,Why?’. A statement like gets everyones undivided attention.
She’d been wrestling with the dilemma of how to refer to herself. Terms like warrior and survivor have military connotations. They indicate that someone was in a battle for which there is no clear winner. She felt like neither a survivor nor a warrior and, like many other cancer patients, resented these descriptive identifiers.
In a moment of bemused clarity she recalled that Twinkies have expiration dates but they remain fresh and tasty long past that expiration date. She herself had outlived her expected expiration date by several years and was dealing with her cancer as a chronic disease. Ergo, she was like the sugary sweet sponge cake treats of her childhood, and had came to think of her life trajectory like that of a Twinkie.
Me? I think of myself as a cancer thriver but am adding the term ‘Cancer Twinkie’ to the special vocabulary that includes the word ‘Scanxiety’ and I’ve ordered a T-shirt that proudly proclaims my status.
Twinkies is a registered trademark of the Hostess Corporation.