Cancer Steve

Cancer Steve

Above: Steve Cancer

A friend of mine was visiting with people who I have only met once.  When these people asked my friend how “Steve was doing”, my friend had to pause. There is another Steve who lives in their town that everybody knows. But my friend asked them, “Cancer Steve?” And everyone knew who they were talking about.

I’ve never been known for one specific thing. I was never Cameraman Steve or Race Car Driver Steve. I was always just Steve…and I took a bit of pride in that. My low profile was something that I cherished. The ability to get in, get the job done and get out. Dependable. Reliable. Steve.

Now it’s strange to be known for something. Especially something that I didn’t ask for. I don’t blame my friend at all for using this nickname. We have all done it – describing someone based on their most obvious characteristic. That’s how we end up with friends like Fat Steve or Bald Steve or Super Hottie Steve or Cancer Steve.

As other cancer patients keep telling me, “Welcome to the club.” An elite club with lots of drugs. A club that nobody wants to be a member of.

Someone else recently asked me how much of my day is spent dealing or thinking about my cancer. How often do we feel like my condition is the foremost thing on our minds? And how much of the day can we forget about it?

Jen and I have been doing our best to forget about it as much as possible.

But every phone conversation involves talking about it. Everything I put in my mouth is affected by it. Every time I meet someone and I can’t hug them. I’d have to estimate it is on my mind about 100% of the time right now. That also makes me Cancer Steve.

And even when people mean their best…when I visit with friends and they form a circle around me with just an extra foot of distance because I can’t be around germs…that’s when I feel most like Cancer Steve. Under the microscope. Part of a secret world that few get to see.

I’ve changed. Or people’s perception of me has changed. I don’t know if I will feel this way forever. I doubt it. A couple of years of remission and most people will probably forget I ever had cancer in the first place. I hope I can forget I ever had this in the first place.

But I will always be part of this special club. When I talk to cancer patients who are in remission…who have gone through chemo (sometimes more than once)…we have our secret handshake, our knowing nod to each other and talk our secret cancer talk.

I’ve never felt like an insider. And having this condition can, at times, make me feel even more like an outsider. No longer Steve Dickter…but Cancer Steve.

I realize its not the only club in town. And there is really nothing special about it – a few abnormal cells is all you need to get past the velvet ropes.

I guess I’m always going to be Cancer Steve. But one day soon I’ll get back to being Healthy Steve or Steve With The Same Haircut Since 8th Grade or just plain old Steve.

Other famous Steve’s who you may or may not confuse me with:

Cool Steve

Cool Steve

Funny Steve

Funny Steve

Rich and Funny Steve

Smart and Rich Steve

Crazy Steve

Crazy Steve

Not sure exactly

Gave Steve's a bad name


16 responses to “Cancer Steve

  1. Hey, how about potato pancakes for dinner in Burbank tonight? Wanna join us??? I’m cooking…

  2. Well said. However you will always be Hollywood to me even though you live in Westwood.

  3. True, you were Hollywood Steve for awhile, I think. And Purple Hair Steve. And Juggling Steve. And WeWo Steve. I have referred to you as LA Steve. It’s all about location apparently, so just don’t move to the constellation Cancer and you’ll be ok.

  4. Cancer Confucius says...

    …don’t let the disease define you, you define the disease.

  5. I have referred to you as Jennifer’s Steve. You go along nicely with her other possessions in America: nice car, hi-tech gadgets, chic furnishings, sweet grandma who can use gadgets sometimes, nice, but mothering mother who is sometimes worse than grandma with gadgets, one annoying brother, one odd brother, and one great investment in a state-of-the-art comedy machine: Robo-Steve (similar to this robot of Steve Ballmer, but funny and not a tyrant) –

  6. No matter the other monikers, you’re still My Friend Steve.

  7. Remember when you were Neighbor Steve? Now that was a club to be part of. You, Drunken Neighbor Ann, The Gay Twins, Bobby upstairs, The Fat Guy, Neighbor Brad, The Coughing Lady, and yours truly who ended up in a pretty stupid club.
    I am sorry you have to go through all of this. You are a good person in this world and nothing will ever change that.

  8. To me you’ll always be the “Steve who got ogled by the weird homeless guy in the public bathroom at the Valley Forge bike trail”. Scary what we remember…

    In unrelated news: We just upgraded to digital cable and I saw a commercial for AMC’s “Breaking Bad”. Is this show loosely based on our former physics teacher?

  9. You’ll never shake DicktBerry. 😉

  10. Ok. Ok. Maybe I did have a few other nicknames that I wasn’t thinking about. You all got me. Just add Cancer Steve to the list, I guess. Although Neighbor Hollywood DickBerry Cancer Stevie Pants does have a certain ring to it.

    Thanks to everyone for not letting me forget who I am. Being in full-on treatment is so consuming, I think I forgot for a couple of days.

    From my germ free shelter 1 block south of Wilshire…


  11. Steve’s like, “hey, stop revealing all of my personalities!”, and so, we as friends, agree “okay, I guess so, Hollywood PurpleHair Juggling SteviePantsNeighborhoodDrunkenCoughVFPissingWitnessBerrySteve-arama.”

  12. What about Hollywood, or Westwood? Or Cousin Steve? Those are all well used nicknames for you! I hear you Steve-o, it will all be gone soon. Then you’ll be “Steve who beat cancer” and then you’ll go back to “Steve who always has snowboard gear issues” 🙂
    I struggled with being Kim from Colorado in college as you know. Was I supposed to wear Broncos regalia every day? Smoke pot on mountain tops? Be a ski bum?? I overcame that tag and now who knows what the hell people call me!! That damn girl that rambles in the comment section.

  13. Kiwi Jon, Misspelt Cris & lil M.

    To me you’ll always be In and Out Burger Steve to us.
    Looking and sounding good Rubber Chicken Steve – keep us posted – we hope to join you in the hot tub soon
    Kiwi Jon, Misspelt Cris & lil M.

  14. This is a work of poetry here, Steve-O. Well done. You should write a book. I’d like to take credit for “Westwood,” which evolved into “WeWo.” I still kinda miss your old pad in Los Feliz, especially the cat hair and saggy leather couch.

  15. OMG Stevie Urkle just cracked me up! To me you’re Jen’s Steve.

    I have a Steve at home too, but he is known as Stiffy, hopefully no one calls him Cathy’s stiffy! rotfl!

  16. I think this was my favorite post you’ve written so far. I don’t know any other Steves so you’ve always just been me and Brett’s Steve.

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