Is Cancer Becoming Trendy?

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I was recently contacted by the mother of a child with cancer, Jacqueline Dooley, about a book that she has written called Doorways to Arkomo.  We’ll be talking more about this book in the coming weeks but in the mean time, I was sifting around the blog that she maintains about her family’s journey with cancer and found a recent post she wrote on the cancer trend that she has detected by emerging movies and television shows.

The post is really interesting and focuses mostly on the new movie out now, The Fault in Our Stars, which focuses on the stories of 2 teenagers with cancer who meet in a support group.

Jacqueline says, “Here they are – these two crazy kids – time is against them, but they are wildly in love. They go on an adventure (which would be unlikely given how sick they both are)! They laugh! They get cancer perks and they’re beautiful! Did I mention they’re beautiful? No bald heads. Even the kid with one eye wears dark sunglasses throughout the movie and looks cool.”  She even continues to say, “Cancer isn’t a fairy tale. It’s not an exciting adventure. For teenagers battling this disease, it’s lonely, embarrassing and painful. The movie didn’t talk about scars (beyond showing Gus’s missing leg for about three seconds – otherwise he wore jeans and sneakers and looked entirely whole). It felt so…Hollywood and I left feeling kind of offended..”

I think this hits the nail on the head.  Has anyone been watching the new ABC Family show Chasing Life?  I’ll admit that I haven’t seen it yet.  I’d love to hear your thoughts though!  I think I’ve been avoiding it because I worry about the mental state I would leave with after each episode if I experienced any sort of romanticizing of this cancer experience.  I found cancer to be frightening, stressful, and very lonely and isolating because of how frightening and stressful it was!  Much of the time I felt like I was part of this life changing story that few other people wanted to take any part of…like I was being cut away from the landscape of the rest of the world until I was ready (and healthy enough) to join up again.  A lot of the time I looked like the picture below…tired and with an alien like port poking up from my chest and up to the base of my neck…

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Maybe my head scarf looked trendy but really it just kept the sun off my barely covered with hair head…

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Is cancer becoming trendy?  Are we finally talking about cancer like we don’t normally talk about it (I spoke about this recently on IHadCancer’s blog.  You can find my whole article here.) or are we putting a Hollywood spin on something not at all romantic?