Skip to main content

"Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you?"


Tig Notaro was diagnosed just three days before a standup comedy set with invasive cancer in both of her breasts. What happened afterwards is quickly becoming the stuff of Internet legend. She decided to get up on stage and deliver a half and hour act that quickly make the social media rounds.

It started off with comedian Lewis C.K.’s tweet: “in 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.” The larger media outlets came quickly after, including interviews on NPR and This American Life.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Notaro was brutally honest and open about a subject that is often taboo to talk about in many settings. During the set she talks about a stream of personal tragedies that led up to the diagnosis of cancer including a pneumonia, a C. difficile infection, a traumatic death of her mother from a fall, and a breakup from a longstanding relationship. She does this in such a way that is so raw that it is nearly impossible not to be moved.

She also talks about this on such a personal level that it feels like you are hearing about the diagnosis from one of your closest friends.  Indeed, during the throughout the entire routine she continuously attempts to assure the audience that everything is going to be ok. Take this line:
It's OK. It's going to be OK. It might not be OK. But I'm just saying, it's OK. You're going to be OK. I don't know what's going on with me. 

I highly recommend listening to this if you haven't yet.  If you want to listen to the first 15 minutes for free, go to the This American Life website where you can find Ira Glass’s interview with her as part of the “What Doesn’t Kill You” podcast. I though highly recommend listening to the whole act. It can be downloaded for $5 at Lewis C.K.’s website

 by: Eric Widera

Comments

larryu said…
My best friend has cancer. I've had cancer twice (different types). Black humor helps. Tig Notaro is a master (mistress?)
I think that humour is the best pain killer. I really look up to those people, who can make jokes even in the hardest situations!

Popular posts from this blog

The Future of Palliative Care: A Podcast with Diane Meier

There are few names more closely associated with palliative care than Diane Meier.  She is an international leader of palliative care, a MacArthur "genius" awardee, and amongst many other leadership roles, the CEO of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).  We were lucky enough to snag Diane for our podcast to talk about everything we always wanted to ask her, including:
What keeps her up at night?Does palliative care need a national strategy and if so why and what would it look like?The history of CAPC and the leadership centersAdvice that she has for graduating fellows who want to continue to move palliative care forward as they start their new careersWhat she imagines palliative care will look like in 10 or 15 years?What is the biggest threat facing palliative care? So take a listen and if you want to dive a little deeper, here are two articles that we discussed during the podcast:
A National Strategy For Palliative Care. Health Affairs 2017Palliative Care Leadership…

Advance Care Planning before Major Surgery: A Podcast with Vicky Tang

This week's podcast is all about the intersection of geriatrics, palliative care, advanced care planning and surgery with our guest Dr. Vicky Tang.  Vicky is an assistant professor and researcher here at UCSF.  We talk about her local and national efforts focused on this intersection, including:
Her JAMA Surgery article that showed 3 out of 4 older adults undergoing high risk surgery had no advance care planning (ACP) documentation. Prehab clinics and how ACP fits into these clinicsThe Geriatric Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program whose goal is to set the standards for geriatric surgical care including ACP discussions prior to surgeryHow frailty fits in and how to assess it (including this paper from JAGS on the value of the chair raise test) So take a listen and check out some of those links.  For those who want to take a deeper dive into how GeriPal and surgery fit together, check out these other podcasts: Zara Cooper on Trauma Surgery, Geriatrics, and Palliative Car…

The Dangers of Fleet Enemas

The dangers of oral sodium phosphate preparations are fairly well known in the medical community. In 2006 the FDA issued it’s first warning that patients taking oral sodium phosphate preparations are at risk for potential for acute kidney injury. Two years later, over-the-counter preparations of these drugs were voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturers.  Those agents still available by prescription were given black box warnings mainly due to acute phosphate nephropathy that can result in renal failure, especially in older adults. Despite all this talk of oral preparations, little was mentioned about a sodium phosphate preparation that is still available over-the-counter – the Fleet enema.

Why Oral Sodium Phosphate Preparations Are Dangerous 

Before we go into the risks of Fleet enemas, lets spend just a couple sentences on why oral sodium phosphate preparations carry significant risks. First, oral sodium phosphate preparations can cause significant fluid shifts within the colon …