All of this may sound self-pitying, but the truth is that it was strangely freeing. Now that I was somebody others would look at and say "At least I'm not that guy," I realized that didn't really help them any, and it sure as hell didn't do me any good. Why had I ever thought that somebody else's pain was supposed to make me feel better, anyway? Misery isn't a competition, and nobody wins the gold in the Sadness Olympics. For the first time, my emotional state and actual situation aligned, and I got some perspective in the process.
You Can Play the Cancer Card To Get Stuff (And Get Out Of Stuff)
You know those news stories about scummy people who lie about having cancer so they can get attention, gifts, etc.? Well, when you've got cancer, you don't have to lie! When you ask people to do stuff, they'll often say yes, because nobody wants to disappoint the Cancer Guy. Sometimes you don't even have to ask.
Let's say you can't pay your rent. Maybe you're too sick to work, or maybe you were just never great at paying rent even in times of perfect health. Well, if your landlord finds out you have cancer, they may not only ease up a bit, but also feel guilty enough to bring you banana bread. (Another cancer perk: so much free banana bread.) You get the kind of slack that, in a perfect world, everyone would get all the time. And all it takes is the looming specter of death.
Sometimes your ol' buddy the Big C can get you out of jams too. Like, maybe you've got some social obligation and you don't wanna go. Just say you're not feeling well (and it won't be a lie), and not only will nobody think badly of you, but maybe they'll all spend the evening talking about how noble and brave you are.