A Humorous Look at the Bright Side of Cancer...
And There Is One


About Marie de Haan

Marie de Haan—wife, mother of three, piano teacher, songwriter, and writer—was leading an impossibly busy life. All of that changed when she was blindsided by a diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer. She got even busier. From chemotherapy and surgery to battles with the insurance company, tussles with her naturopath over the consumption of sugar to internal debate over whether or not to endure radiation, Cancer Is A Funny Thing details how Marie handled these issues: with humor and grace. And Häagen-Dazs chocolate mint ice cream.

June 24, 2020

It’s Hard To Be A Woman #14

At the hairdresser during COVID

Getting my hair done finally since the COVID started….June 24, 2020

Best friend: “I know that you are going to the hairdresser today for the first time during this COVID business. Send me a picture.”

Me: “Be careful what you wish for.”

By |June 2020|It's Hard to Be A Woman|

June 24, 2020

It’s Hard To Be A Woman #13

Getting my hair done finally during the COVID mess…June 24, 2020

It’s amazing what spending an exorbitant amount of money—I mean, getting your hair done after three months of…well…looking like crap—does for the soul.

It’s the little things, people; it’s the little things.

By |June 2020|It's Hard to Be A Woman|

June 14, 2020

That’s Not Something You Think Every Day #12

Dahlia from last summer

I hate to say it, but I am the dahlia murderer. I’m sad that the only way I can enjoy these beautiful flowers returning year after year is via pictures.

By |June 2020|That's Not Something You...|

June 5, 2020

Letter #48 To My Benefactor

ExhaustionDear Benefactor,

I’ve had 3 1/2 hours of sleep in the past 27 hours. 

Probably not a good time to take up hiking again, eh? I told you about my fear of bears and cougars and murderers in the woods in my 41st letter to you. I’d be sure to walk into danger in the comatose state I’m in right now, don’t you think?

I’m going to do my darnedest to accomplish at least one hike before the year 2020 is out. I will keep you updated.



By |June 2020|Letter To My Benefactor|

June 3, 2020

Letter #47 To My Benefactor

June 2, 2019, taken the day before my celiac diagnosis.

Dear Benefactor,

Has it really been almost a year since I’ve written you? Wow.

I’ve been a bad girl and I have not been hiking. Not once. Do you want to know why? Well, in October of 2019, I got a rash. It started as a teensy little spot on my face and grew from there. It traveled all over my face, settled across my whole neck, went down the length of my spine, and also affected six-inch portions of my wrists. 

Six months. Six months is how long I had that rash before getting diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis, a little complication of celiac . They used to call it “suicide rash.” I’ve heard it best described as “rolling in stinging nettles naked with a severe sunburn, then wrapping yourself in a wool blanket filled with ants and fleas…” 

I went right from this agonizing rash to a volleyball injury in February which resulted in “impingement syndrome/bone spur” and frozen shoulder.

So instead of hiking like I told you I would, I’m currently spending my days getting worked over by a a) chiropractor, b) physical therapist, and c) massage therapist. My main goal every day is to not cry from the unrelenting pain and get more than 4 hours of sleep every 12 hours.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s been rough.

But, just when I feel like complaining some more, I remember that I am one of the lucky ones. I am not dead. Not from cancer. Or celiac. Or a suicide rash. Or COVID-19.

I plan on taking up hiking the minute I’m back up on my feet again.



By |June 2020|Letter To My Benefactor|