“Oh, Balls! Don't Just Take the Antibiotics!”
Angela Miller, pinch hitting for her husband Clint, shares their story about Twitter, cancer and the power of the Internet. Clint Miller has lots of Twitter followers. When he falls ill with testicular cancer, they come forward full force to support him and his family.
Angela Miller is a 30-something Seattle-born Montana-transplant. She is the mother of two wonderful boys affectionately known as the “A-Team” and one zany Labradork. She’s passionate about cancer awareness, autism awareness, coffee, and cookies (preferably with walnuts). Angela recently returned to school full-time to try to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. #weloveclint @TheRealClint
This episode of Tell Us Something was recorded in front of a live audience on June 22nd, 2016, at The Wilma in Missoula, MT. 9 storytellers shared their story based on the theme “Bad Advice”.
Today’s podcast comes to us from Angela Miller and is titled “Oh, Balls! Don’t Just Take the Antibiotics!” Thank you for listening.
Transcript : Oh, Balls! Don't Just Take the Antibiotics!
I am actually batting for my husband. My husband Clint was supposed to be here tonight he couldn’t make it, so if you are tweeting this: #weloveclint and give him a little bit of shit because he was the one who was supposed to be here. But something about marriage vows and being relief batter puts me here.
So here I am, relief batting for Clint. So let me tell you a little bit about Clint. Clint is crazy about Twitter and I never really got on the Twitter hook thing. He kinda poked me in the side, “Ah, yeah you got to get a Twitter account,”
And I said, “Ah, no I don’t. I’ve lived my whole life without this. Why do I need this?”
But he’s way into it. He’s got 2,781 followers. Which, I’m not really good at math, but that’s way more people than there are in this room tonight. So, when you have that many people on social media and something maybe goes a little awry and that’s tweeted to 2,781 people, it breaks the Internet. Um, well, maybe one Twitter account doesn’t break the Internet, but it does put a pretty significant ripple in it.
So this is one part social media and one part about our, our lives for the last couple months, and it’s funny, it’s not funny, and are some bad advice in there.
So, a few months ago, Clint starts coughing. Just this horrendous awful nagging cough. And being thesupportive wife that I am I said, “If you don’t fuckin’ go to the doctor, I’m gonna kill you, because I can’t wake up another night to you coughing!”
So, after my very persuasive argument for him to go to the doctor, he does. And he leaves with his token prescription for antibiotics, because I think if you show up with cough and have a temperature roughly in the 90s, you get a prescription for antibiotics. It’s just kind of the thing. And, he takes his antibiotics, they tell him he’s gonna be fine, “Here you go”.
This goes on. For about six months. In-N-Out In-N-Out. More antibiotics. More coughing. More threats of murder. Me contemplating if orange really is my color? Do I want to serve a life sentence for stabbing my husband and his sleep for coughing?
And the answer is: “Obviously not.”
Purple is kind of more my color.
So, this goes on. For months. And finally we have a little, uh, “lover’s quarrell”. Uh, some people call it a fight. I call it a lover’s quarrel. And he goes to the doctor and she says, “Huh. Maybe we should do some imaging, because it turns out, those antibiotics didn’t really do anything for you at all.”
And, that’s exactly what happens. So he goes to the doctor or, the emergency room. Eh, take your pick. There’s some doctors there, so I guess that qualifies. And after oh, six or seven rousing hours of blowing up latex gloves, trying to find all sorts of great ways to amuse yourself in the emergency room, of which there are about, one, and that’s blowing up gloves, they did some imaging on, on him. And, it was not good. It was the kind of not good where the radiologist takes one look at the imaging just goes, “Fuck.”
And as it turned out, Clint had cancer. So, clearly, we have now entered the upper level of, “Hmmm. Maybe antibiotics isn’t going to do the trick.”
I mean the guy could have been taking Altoids for really all the good it was doing him. And as it turns out, Altoids have far better side effects. Like: good breath.
So, life gets a little complicated at this point. And they admit Clint. And they schedule him for surgery. Because, as it turns out, this cancer came from his balls. This was the Lance Armstrong Cancer!
Oh, ball jokes galore!
“Lefty’s trying to kill me! I’ve got one ball, you know, like those Uniball pens? I’m their new spokesman!”
And I’m like, “Oh, this is great! We’ve got tumor humor! Ba dum da… tsssss!”
So, find humor wherever you can. So that’s how this cancer journey started for our family, on the bad advice of, “just take antibiotics and you’ll be okay.”
There’s some truth to that. If you don’t have cancer. So. We’re crying we’re laughing. We’ve got tumor jokes. We’re getting all the platitudes, you know, like, “you’re going to beat this.”
So, about then time that Clint’s getting whisked off to surgery, and he’s coming up with one ball jokes, and he just thinks this is great. And I’m going, “This is not great. You have cancer. There’s nothing great about this.
I grab his phone and I said, “Now listen. I’m not really into this Twitter bullshit. But you are. Do you want me to let your people, your disciples….
“…your tribe, your posse. Do you do you want me to kinda let them know what’s going on?”
And he goes, “Yeah, why don’t you do that.”
And so I tweet. And, boy, I came into the 21st-century in one hundred and forty characters. “Hey folks, this is Angela and Clint has cancer” I mean I don’t…what do you say?
And the Internet breaks down. So it was kind of a touching moment because now I’ve taking the reins for Clint and what might be like the Millennium Falcon of Twitter of the Twitter [laughter] I’m like, “Whoah! Like, I don’t even know, I’ve got a hundred and forty characters and I get to say anything?And I’m like, this is great. To two hundred and seventy one [sic] people even better!
So, Clint goes into surgery, he comes out, now we call him “Lefty.
And things are going pretty well. He’s doing his chemo. His hair falls out. I get shave his head. I offer to shave my head. He says no. I said yes. Ugh, well, he wins. So, this social media thing really takes off. And, we have these shirts now. We’ve got these wristbands now: “#weloveclint”, cause Clint’s in a bad spot. You know, he has cancer and that’s really where the power of social media comes in because if it were up to me this weird reclusive thirtysomething-year-old who’s like, “What is this Twitter garbage, I don’t even know what this is,” But they’d be like, “Clint’s wife? Who the hell is that?”
But this guy, he’s got it! He’s large and in charge and he’s got this Twitter persona and ball cancer. So, here we’ve got, who better to be the spokesperson for ball cancer, I mean besides Lance Armstrong, than Clint-Fuckin’-Miller? Who has, not only ball cancer, but two thousand seven hundred and eighty one people. And they’re tweeting and retweeting.
And this is the wrong, the wrong thing to affix to two thousand seven hundred and eighty one people.
But the reality of cancer is that it’s very expensive. And we did fall on hard times of course, ‘cause he’s not working I’m not working. And I’m trying to take care of him, and we’ve got the mortgage payment and bills and cancer bills and kids and a dog and cars and all of these things that people, well, adults, apparently, spend their money on. Because, as Marc said, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And apparently they spend a lot of money on tuition too.
So, social media really becomes Clint’s go-to for emotional support which, as his wife, you know, I could cross my arms over my chest and be like, “Huh, well what do they got that I don’t got?”
But the reality is that they actually do have something that I don’t have. And it’s not the vows, it’s certainly notmy dashingly good looks. It’s a certain amount of just being anonymous. And I kinda fell into that too because when I was at my worst for his cancer I, I could kinda retreat into ahundred and forty characters and anonymously just go, “You know guys, I’m really having a hard time with Clint having cancer and I’m really uncertain about the future and where this is going to lead.
So the reality is that it all comes back to this advice of, “Well, just take the antibiotics and you’ll be okay.”
Yeah. Maybe. Maybe it will be okay. But it won’t always be okay. Because the antibiotics? They’re, they’re great. I’ve had them, you’ve probably have them. I think everybody’s had them at least once in their life.
But when it comes to cancer, when it comes to your body…I’m kinda getting off track here. This is the good advice and the bad advice.
The good advice is: you know, you gotta listen to your body. You gotta know what is and is not right for you and after six months of coughing and your wife threatening to murder you, and coming up with plans as to where she could hide your body in forty-seven of the fifty states, that’s relatively bad advice.
So if I can give you any bad advice don’t just take antibiotics, run off to the pharmacy turn the other cheek and go, “No, I’m gonna be okay,” because the reason Clint’s not here tonight is because he died from that.
[collective breath from audience]
That’s why I’m here that’s why I’m relief batting. That’s our story. Don’t just take the antibiotics.