The UofG PGR Blog is a Postgraduate community blog, written by and for postgraduate researchers at the University of Glasgow. This guest entry was written by Vivi, a bisexual cancer survivor, who describes how creating their own support group (which included their dogs and supportive drag queens) helped them navigate multiple cancer diagnoses – and inspired their PhD thesis.
At the time (in the mid-90s) group therapy was a newly integrated part of cancer treatment and was a bit “hit or miss”. For me, it was a miss. My dark humor was not appreciated in the inner circles of CBT and talk therapies.
So how did I survive? Early detection? Experimental drugs? Having excellent health, a strong will, a loving family, and blood pressure one step above a zombie’s? All important factors that I indeed had. But the real key to survival? Finding a support group/system that works for you.
Not many people can say that drag queens and Dobermans saved their lives, but I can. I had two loving Dobermans (Lucy and Ethel) who gave me unconditional love and whose natural instincts saved me from myself on more than one occasion. My drag mother, Lee, lived next door to me. An HIV positive queen and a marvellous human being, she was the leader of my private tribe.