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

February 19, 2014

That’s Not Something You Hear Every Day #25

It was January 15.
I was on my way to meet my friend, Laurie, to continue my two-week long birthday celebration. We were going to see the movie, Saving Mr. Banks.
First, I stopped off at Fred Meyer to visit the bulk Jelly Belly aisle. I had been staying away from sugar like the plague.
I blame Tom Hanks, really. I saw the interview he did with David Letterman in which he explained that he was told not to eat sugar when he was younger (kind of like me), and because he didn’t listen, he ended up with full-blown diabetes. I’ve already had one major disease and not only would I like to prevent a recurrence of that one, I’d like not to end up with another. If Tom Hanks can stay away from sugar, so can I, right?
Where was I? Oh yes. At Fred Meyer buying Jelly Bellies.
I stood in front of the columns of brightly-colored candies. At least it isn’t chocolate, I justified myself. That stuff hates me.
The long, plastic storage bin with the red lid that I had found on my way to the Jelly Belly aisle hung out over the edge of my cart. I moved the cart and perused the flavors again. Hm. What flavor do I want? Buttered Popcorn? I used to think that flavor was disgusting. Now, it’s my favorite. I put a few in the bag. A few coconut Jelly Bellies followed. And pear-flavored ones.
I noticed a young woman standing down the aisle from where I stood with my plastic bag full of sugar. She was stocking the greeting card slots.
“That sure is a huge container there,” she commented to me.
I don’t know what made me say it. She was a stranger after all. Then again, that had never stopped me before. “My house got totally destroyed while I was going through chemo a few years back and I’m finally starting to get a handle on the mess. This bin is for our Christmas tree.”
“May I ask what type of cancer you had?”
This lady obviously didn’t know me very well. Sure, I blab about my personal life on a regular basis, chick. Out loud, I answered, “Of course. I had Stage III breast cancer. I had a dismal diagnosis and actually ended up writing a book about the whole experience because, well, to be honest, I thought I would be dead within six months.”
She stared at me. “I have goosebumps,” she said, putting the cards down in one of the slots and rubbing her arms with her hands.
“Yeah, I’m not supposed to be eating these Jelly Bellies, but I’m going to a movie,” as if that justified my bad behavior.
“Not only do I stock the cards, I’m also the Jelly Belly vendor.”
“I don’t think I’d want to be known as the Jelly Belly lady. Then again, if I keep eating these, I will be the Jelly Belly lady.”

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Marie de Haan

Marie de Haan
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