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My 'Fundies' Tradition: Finding Humor During Cancer

February 5th, 2018 |

by jessvanzeil | Survivor: Ocular Melanoma    Connect

Cancer is a tough time for all of us - between hospitals, treatments and sometimes scary surgeries, it can be hard to find the motivation to actually get up out of bed and attend these appointments. But I found a way to distract myself, make a few people laugh and make a really tough time a little bit lighter!

I was in for my first surgery, going through the normal procedure of getting stripped down, gown on! I remember consciously going through my underwear draw making sure I didn't get any lacey or inappropriate undies! I had a flashback to all the cartoons I watched when I was younger, when the person in the surgical gown was blissfully unaware that their entire ass was on display for the world to see, that was not going to be me!

Mum was sitting in the room as I’m getting ready and as I turn around she bursts into laughter! What is so funny, do my nice cotton underwear have a hole in them?! Mum was laughing so hard that she just had to take a photo… my navy-blue undies had the words "LETS PARTY" printed in fluro pink on the bum! So of course, we both sit there in hysterics over the inappropriate words plastered on my ass for the world to see as I’m heading in for surgery… so not a party!

Mum decided to post this photo on Facebook and our tradition began! From then on, every single time I knew I had a surgery coming up I would race down to the shopping centre and try and find the most hilarious fundies I could to wear into surgery! It was a game and it distracted me from the anxiety and stress of the actual surgery. My aunty would message me every time in anticipation for the next instalment of "Jess and her inappropriate undies", she always wanted a hint and I would hold them secret until the day of the surgery! From wonder-woman to sparkly bows and everything in between, my fabulously inappropriate undies lightened the mood and brought us laughter in an otherwise terrifying time!

Looking back over my time with cancer this must be one of the highlights, it was something so small and simple but it brought me and my family (and all of my Facebook friends) a lot closer and in a way comforted us all. Being able to find laughter and joy through cancer is something I am proud of, I was never ever going to let this disease get the better of me and bring me down. I was never going to lose myself to cancer.

I know we all have a tough time, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun and laughs along the way!

Jess xo

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jessvanzeil's picture

Jess is an eyepatch wearing 23 year old from the Mornington Peninsula. At the age of 21, she was diagnosed with a very rare eye cancer, Conjunctival Melanoma (this is on the white part of your eye). Her treatment for the first eight months was localised surgeries and observation. Unfortunately, just after her 22nd birthday, she was told that it had spread into her  lower eyelid and the only option she had was drastic surgery to remove her eye and eyelid and close over her eye socket for good.  Last September Jess received news last that she is now fighting brain metastases. Despite experiencing some nasty side effects from her treatment, Jess is remaining positive, especially so as recent scans revealed no significant growth or change in the tumours.