Did y’all notice, once you got a cancer diagnosis, you start getting tons of advice from all sorts of people.
I found that apparently, there is a right way to do cancer and a wrong way, and I’ve been doing it all wrong. How was I supposed to know? I had no idea I was suppose to get signed up for a “how to do cancer correctly” class. So, you can’t blame me. I haven’t been to the cancer re-education camp yet!
I actually met a cancer patient who got in an huff over me mentioning I had cancer before I started treatment. Apparently your discomfort and fear only count when your chemo treatment begins. I guess having a life-threatening illness, exhaustion and pain, invasive tests every other week, and the looming amputation of both of the girls isn’t quite enough. Nope, according to her, you have to lose your hair before you get to be a legitimate cancer sufferer.
Another thing I found out was “disturbing”…I might joke about it. Cancer is serious business, after all – nothing funny about it. “How dare you laugh, don’t you know people are dying of this disease? I know lots of cancer patients and they never joke!” (If you are one of these humorless people whose hackles raise at cancer jokes then I suggest you turn away from this blog immediately and never, ever come back.)
Question: “What do you call a young woman who keeps getting lymphoma over and over again?”
Answer: “A lymphomaniac.”
You might wonder why anybody else could possibly be disturbed by an experience and reaction somebody else is having that doesn’t impact them at all, but then – you are probably emotionally healthy.
Hey, I am not sure I understand the women who get this diagnosis and cries for weeks, or become depressed, or can’t face the truth, or turn to cookies or prayer, but I certainly don’t think that my reality is superior to theirs. This being that we all handle this in a different way. We’re all in this together, baby, whatever gets you through the day.
But then, I have not been awarded my Cancer Police badge and gun yet. Maybe I’ll change when I get to that stage. But then I doubt it.
My being naive never fails to surprise me. I suppose I should have known there are the cancer police. And they all think they can do everything better than you can and are out to teach you a lesson.
In this case, I hope they don’t get the chance.
Then there are those who are less interested in teaching you to handle your cancer to their satisfaction, and more interested in your physical health. And, they think they know just how to cure you.
Oddly enough, it usually doesn’t involve chemotherapy or surgery.
Or an M.D.
I’m not a toucher, but I am thankful for those who have hugged me. I appreciate those who brought me little trinkets that brighten my day, to those who ask how I am and let me answer, and to those who will let me share my concerns – and I am especially grateful to those who will listen to my jokes.
There are good, caring people are everywhere. They far out number the cancer police, who only want to examine our flaws so they can feel better about themselves. So, to those of you newly diagnosed – run from the police types and concentrate on the people who show their concern, even if it isn’t exactly your style. You’ll be the healthier for it.