I forgot how much fear there is related to cancer and approaching people have with cancer.
What do you say? How do you broach a subject as depressing and life altering with someone you ecounter.
In my experience, people abide by the social norm and don’t bring up the “C” word in conversation.
I hear the word “cancer” less than I hear the other “C word” out of people’s dirty mouths.
I don’t know what they are worried will happen if they say it.
Does it have magical powers like Beetlejuice? Don’t say it three times or you’ll get diagnosed.
I don’t know if people think I’ll lose my mind from the mere reminder I have cancer.
I all ready know. I have probably dealt with it, to the best of my ability, with my close friends and family.
Asking how I am feeling will not send me over the edge. I may burst into tears. This is not your fault.
When I was diagnosed, my favorite reactions came from friends who had chronic, life threatening illnesses.
Colette, a friend from college with MS said, “Awww, Hill, I can’t believe it, but I’m going to say something horrible, now you understand.”
I joined a club on the day of my diagnoses I didn’t even know existed. I’ll call it a “Surviving Club.” For initiation, you have to have feared for your life, you have to made sacrifices, you have to have turned down things you really wanted to do, and you have to misunderstood by everybody healthy.
In this “group” are friends with diagnosis that include MS, Sickle Cell Disease, Hepatitis, Congenital Heart Defects, lupus, the list goes on and on.
We are all defective. I like to say we are “perfectly imperfect.”
Since my diagnosis, I have changed. I’ve changed the way I look. I want to look good for myself, but also because I want to be looked at. I don’t know if this is the secret I think it is.
I want people to see me to think “Awwww, she is so young.” Or “Damn, that is so sad.”
I want people to see my bald head and stare. I’m hoping it’s along the lines of “That could be my daughter, cousin, sister, friends, etc.” and “I feel so bad for her.”
I want to look relatable so people can see that my situation can happen to anybody.
I want to stand up and represent for the sick so they don’t feel they have to hide anymore.
I hope this gives me a platform to comfort others who are in my position and give them permission and the strength to express how they feel and who they are to everybody they encounter.
Knowing this, maybe you will feel more comfortable approaching the subject, at least with me.
Thanks MJ, Melissa,Jenna, Killy, Kristen, and Nirva for showing me some love this weekend and keeping me amused. On the right see the girls from college that hold it down for me.
Not everybody gets this kind of support. I hope you're feeling more comfortable showing some love.
Each person’s response to illness is individual. Many are sensitive. If you do question how to react, pulling away is the wrong answer. Ignoring the problem by disowning the person is the worst you could do.
If all else fails, your safest bet is, just to pretend everything is normal and show some love.
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."