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Bye Bye, Cancer Clothes

Getting rid of my cancer clothes proves to be no easy task.
PUBLISHED July 21, 2017
As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.
I had breast cancer twice. Once in 2011 and again in 2016.  

Yesterday, I decided to get rid of some of the bad memories. I went to my closet and purged all my old clothes I’ve had for about 10 years – dresses, both work and evening, suits and jackets, dozens of them. They were all going. I had worn these things when I was sick, and I didn’t want to see them anymore.  

How should I dispose of them? I could easily take them down to Goodwill and donate them. But I decided that money could be made off of these duds. Garage sale? Too much work. I decided I would sell them on Craigslist and donate the money to the American Cancer Society.  

Craigslist turned out to be fairly easy to negotiate (at least at first). I put up a little ad. I described my wares and then listed the price: $3.00 per item. That should bring in some business, I thought.  

About 20 minutes after I posted the Craigslist ad, I got an email.  

“Do you have any lingerie?”  

I thought of some old bras I had.  

My grandmother had a superstition about used bras. She never bought bras used because she believed that she could “pick up” breast cancer from them. This superstition was passed down to my mother. Mom won’t buy used bras. But I have, on occasion, bought a used bra or two. I know this is not where I got my cancer, but I think I can afford from now on to buy new.  

I cringed.  

“What size?” I typed, hoping against hope that the request was legitimate, whatever that meant. I had about a dozen old brassieres that I couldn’t wear anymore that were in excellent shape.  


This had to be a guy. Lingerie didn’t come in size 16. It came in S, M, L, XL. It came in 40B or 34C. Underpants came in 5,6,7,8 etc.  

“Wow,” I thought. “This guy wants to wear my old lingerie and have a fling with me. Or maybe he just wants to harass me online.”  

“I don’t have any lingerie for sale,” I typed.  

About five minutes later, I got another email. It was from him. “I’m so sorry for the strange request.”  

At this point, I wanted to type “Go away,” but I thought I would just ignore and forget the whole thing.  

More “I’m sorrys” kept coming. He sent me 10 apologies in all.  

Finally, I took pity on him and typed “No problem.”  

And lo and behold, he went away.  

I imagine that he was an elderly man with a women’s underwear fetish. Since I didn’t oblige him, he was afraid that he had sincerely offended me.  

The clothes are still draped on my couches. My plan now is to donate them to a charity such as the battered women’s shelter, or one that prepares women for the workplace. Craigslist is just a bit too adventurous for me.  

All I know is that the clothes are going. I hate those rags that I wore in poor health.  

Good bye, clothes.  

Good bye, cancer.  

And no, old man, you can’t have my used lingerie.  
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