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Blood Bank of Beth Shalom

Breast Cancer Humor

While going through treatment, I had enough blood drawn to start my own blood bank and feed the cast of True Blood.

I went every Friday before chemo to ensure all blood levels were okay to receive chemo on the following Monday. I am one patient that likes to "see" everything, I like to be involved in my health decisions, and this included seeing every blood result.

One morning,I was reading the results and noticed that my "African American" was negative! Wow, I thought to myself, couldn't they have just asked me what I was, couldn't they look at me and tell I was Ashkanazi? Or were my angelic looks fooling them too? And furthermore how does your blood know if you're African American or not?

Anyway, I was kind of bummed out, just think if it came back positive, I could have traded my Camry for an Escalade, had a new career as a rap artist, and people would have stopped looking at me weird when I ate chicken and waffles!
I know you're asking yourselves do they really test for this? The answer is yes, it is part of the kidney function tests!  Why don't they test for Asian, Latino, or Arab?

I always felt like my blood bank was a Jewish one, always making deposits, never withdrawals, as this would require work, and the guilt of taking out of the Bank of Beth Shalom! Oy!


They would take blood from the port in my chest. One day my port literally exploded, it looked like a volcano was erupting from my chest! My oncologist was out of town so I had to see his partner, he told me, it looked like I had an infection! What a smart doctor, and to think, he went to med school and told me what my chest already knew! Genius!I was sent to the surgeon as an emergency to have the port removed. I opted to stay awake for this! For all of you who have had a port, crazy, believe me I know!

The surgeon kept pulling and pulling, how long is the port I asked as she pulled more! When it was finally out, I thought I would throw up on the spot seeing what I had been walking around with.

And here I thought it was just a bottle top that had been inserted! More like a two liter cola bottle that was just shaken!


I don't think your body likes foreign objects Beth, Really doc? Care to run a Latin lover by me and let me be the judge of that? Laughing at these difficult times let me know that I was not my cancer and there was a certain and perverse humor in the bodily insults that kept arising, and besides, I was and, am convinced that laughter kills cancer cells!


From that point on, I had blood draws from my arm and chemo pushed through my hand which left me with even more scars, but, I thank my lucky scars I'm alive!

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book due out right after the first of the year with me performing a one woman show.

Make Mine A Double....A Mastectomy That Is.

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Ileah Johnson October 25, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I love this sarcastic, black humor. You are too funny! ~ Ileah (_thatigirl)
Beth October 25, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I have to be funny, it's truly what gets me through my days! Thank you for taking a minute to leave a comment, much appreciated! I hope you'll read my book or see my show, or both! :) Beth
Courtney October 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
The strength to laugh in the face of adversity is the most admirable of all. You have my best wishes and hopefully knowing you bring smiles to the faces of others helps as well.
Beth October 26, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Courtney, thank you! I hope I make a few smile along the way! :) Thanks for taking a minute to comment, I hope you'll read my book and or see my show! Beth
Lori Clewis Eaton October 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Beth, you are very talented as a writer! Your dry wit & vivid imagery brings us closer into your experience. Those of us who had or still have ports cannot imagine being awake for its removal. You are one brave lady! I can't wait to purchase & read your book & have it autographed by you! FUTURE ROAD TRIP!!! ;-)
Beth October 26, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Lori, thank you so much! Looking back knowing what the port looks like, how long it is, etc. I don't know how I did it awake! However, I had eaten, so.... I will be on the road next year, I am very excited! Thanks for your nice words this morning! Beth
Robin Slate Eckwerth October 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM
OOOOOH bad memories of port.... I sure didn't know they could tell our roots from blood test.. Can't wait for your book, a signed copy of course..
Beth October 26, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Robin, but each day I look at the scar from the port I thank my lucky scars I'm alive! There will be a signed copy with your name! I hope you will get to see a show as well! Thanks for taking a minute to stop by and comment, much appreciated! Beth
Karan Farrell October 26, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I really enjoyed this :D And I believe I resembled some of those remarks ;) Your book will be a great sucess, I wish my copy to Autographed and Remember me when you are Famous...Oh And Julia Roberts should play me in the Movie :D Love ya <3
Beth October 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Karan, thank you! I will call Julia's agent! Who should play me? haha You don't know me, but if she were alive, it would have been Gilda Radnor!
Cindi Silva October 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Wow! We have even more in common than I realized. I like to get the full feel of whatever the hats is going on with me and then report back to help demystify cancer. You're some story teller. I didn't care much when they pulled out the clogged non-functioning tube that led to an outside drain. I felt it was a magic trick and kept asking how far in there is it, doc? She didn't crack a smile. Pretty far. Maybe next time you could use a shorter tube. Still no smile. Brought back memories. Great writing, Beth!!
Beth October 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Cindi, thank you for your nice words about my writing. It's one of my favorite things besides reading! I'm sorry that you had to go through this as well, I believe we come out stronger in the end! And yes, the port is long!
Karan Farrell October 27, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Well if you wanted to show your African American side Wanda Sykes, your Asian traits then Margaret Cho, but Why not Play Your self :) Yes Gilda would have PERFECT!!! <3
roger dilernia October 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM
I laugh ,I cried ( My wife also had lost a port during her battle with cancer ) That was so funny , very nice work , it contained truth, wit and wisdom , I am so proud to count you as a friend , well done Beth.:) XXX
Beth October 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Roger, thank you for taking time to comment. I laughed and cried too, believe me! You my friend, are one that keeps me going on a daily basis!
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