Survivorship – Day 10
It was recently pointed out to me that some people are scared to talk to me because they think they’ll say the wrong thing. And some people that do talk say something that isn’t quite as helpful as they might be thinking it is. I’m sure it’s pretty freaking hard to figure out what to say when your daughter/friend/mom/lover or even dog has cancer. It’s truly an inconceivable thing, yet it happens all the time around the globe to thousands of people every day.
Here are some helpful things to say: I love you. Is there a site someone has set up for you so that I can stay informed and sign up to help you without having to call you? (Why yes, there is! https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/638381/login/?logout&language=en) I can’t imagine how hard this is. I am here for whatever support you need. How can I help you today?
Here are some less-than-helpful things: Don’t eat ___; it causes cancer. Did you hear about xyz treatment? You should try it. In fact, it would be quite helpful if you never said the words SHOULD or DON’T to a cancer patient. Or at least to me. The good thing is that even if you do make a feaux-pas I have lots of grace and I know all the words come from love.
The thing is, I may have PTSD and chemo brain and all sorts of other crazy side-effects of getting diagnosed/treated/tortured, but I still have my intuition. And when I’m not feeling smart and able to make decisions, I’ll come to you for your advice. If you come to me and offer, even out of the huge love in your heart, it sometimes sounds like a judgment. Or it goes in one ear and out the other.
It would also be good to know that when we are on the phone I might totally zone out. Don’t take that personally. And if you call me I may not call you back. Text and email is a little easier than voice mail.
One final thing, while we’re at it, is that most days I don’t really want you to tell me I can do it, or it’ll be great when this is all over, or that lots of people survive breast cancer and live another 800 years. I do know that, I promise. But some days I feel like shit, and that’s just part of it. If you happen to try to bring your rays of sunshiny positivity on those days then I might hit you. So resist the urge to fast forward to the end of this journey when I’m on whomever’s fabulous talk show follows Oprah with my best-selling book and just be in the moment with me and tell me you love me and are praying for me.
Please keep praying. Thanks!!!