Welcome to Cancer House

Taylor Kay Phillips
Dec 9, 2019 · 4 min read
I’m so glad you’re here and so thankful that you selected the ‘add vase’ option at 1–800-Flowers dot com.

Hello and welcome to my home. As you know, I was recently diagnosed with a little bit of cancer and underwent surgery to remove it. And congrats to me and my surgeon! We did it! I am so grateful that you came over to check in on me and my house and how we’re doing after the cancer.

As you walk in, feel free to put your shoes by the door in the huge pile of shoes that I’ve tried on, thought about wearing outside the house to feel more like a normal person, and then discarded by the door in favor of my cancer shoes (Adidas Cloud Foams) because I just want to be as comfortable as possible while walking to oncology follow ups.

If you’re cold we have 87 blankets. Well actually we have 5 blankets for if you’re cold. 7 for if you want to cry a little bit. 2 that are darker to sit on just in case you get a surprise period because of irregular hormone regulation. 3 that haven’t been used yet that I bought on the Anthropologie website while wrapped in one of the crying blankets and shouting ‘I’M GONNA GET MYSELF A NICE COMFY THING.’ I know that doesn’t add up to 87 but we exaggerate in cancer house because when mom calls, I want to be able to say ‘I’m doing amazing!’ without feeling like I’m lying.

On the cancer coffee table we’ve got a wonderful pharmacy aesthetic set-up with 9 bottles of pills (that one’s not an exaggeration because you can’t exaggerate actual medical numbers in cancer house… it’s nuanced but you’ll get the hang of it) 7 bottles that I took to prepare for surgery, 1 that I took right after surgery, and one that I will take for the rest of my life forever! We’re looking into a fun ceramic box for those if you know anyone.

Oh forgive me, I’m so rude. Can I offer you something to drink? Cancer fridge contains: tap water, orange juice, cran grape juice, regular grape juice, cran apple juice, regular apple juice, cranberry juice cocktail, raspberry iced tea, emergen-C, and a full bottle of potassium iodide that I don’t have to take anymore. If you want that, just make sure you take .1mL with 32 oz of any of the liquids we do have.

All that liquid reminds me! The cancer bathroom is right over here! Feel free to take as long as you need in there. I haven’t used it in 6 days thanks to pill bottle #8!

If you’re hungry, we have an array of soft things purchased with cancer giftcards (Seamless!). Stir fry noodles, pad thai noodles, the same stir fry noodles as before but ‘low spice’ instead of ‘no spice’, ramen, Udon, Pho, a dumpling, a side of mashed potatoes that cost 17 dollars, and a personal deep dish pizza with one bite taken out of it from the night I got too cocky.

As you’re grabbing your adult baby food, look around and decide which of the 6 bouquets of cancer flowers you would like on the table while we dine. The elaborate in-laws bouquet is obviously the favorite but the former co-worker lilies and the current freelance boss carnations are also lovely depending on what kind of an aesthetic you like. Also if you like one of the vases you can just have it. They all came with vases. Cancer house is also vase house. This is how we live now.

Okay! Now that that’s all taken care of! Let’s do some cancer activities! I cannot talk too much or lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I also cannot drink milk. So… we will watch TV or a movie. I know that people keep raving about Chernobyl. Unfortunately, I am not yet ready to watch a narrative about the disaster that caused over 50 thousand cases of… cancer… so we’re gonna put a hold on that. The Farewell is also about cancer. And Fleabag is also out because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT HOW SAD IT IS BUT IT IS SO SAD. Actually, in cancer house we just watch Nadiya’s season of GBBO on repeat.

Shall we start with Dessert Week?

If you’re not interested in cancer-free cancer TV, feel free to grab any of the books that I hopefully withdrew from the bookshelf before realizing that my post-surgery neck can’t really bend in any way that is conducive to reading. Oh, don’t touch that copy of Watchmen though… I need to return it… it cost 44 dollars. Sometimes in cancer house we lose track of what is and is not covered by insurance. No… it is not different than any other copy of Watchmen… I just… bought it off Amazon when I was on drugs from bottles 8 and 9. And… paid 44 dollars for it.

It retails for 17.

It may seem depressing — but I promise you, if you just surrender to cancer house — everything will be fine. Just yesterday, I drank cran-grape juice from a cancer vase. The day before that a friend from high school I haven’t spoken to in 3 years texted me cancer well wishes while I drank apple juice from a vase. Today I tried to make a vase out of cancer noodles just so I could eat it and feel the satisfaction of getting rid of one of my vases.

I’m truly so glad you’re here. You make cancer house feel like a cancer home. I’m so lucky to have so many people reaching out to ask what they can do or how they can help. And there is a way for you to help me throughout my recovery and beyond.

Please.

Take a goddamn vase.

Taylor Kay Phillips

Written by

contributor @ Reductress, @McSweeneys, @TheBelladonnaComedy, writer for NightLate at UCB, makes great burgers

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