"What Stage is Your Cancer?" (And Other Follies)
I want to start out by saying that I have a pretty dope group of friends, family, colleagues, former colleagues, bosses, etc. Dope isn't even doing it justice. The amount of support I have received has been off the charts.
When I decided to go very public about my Breast Cancer, which was the day before my surgery I made the decision to create awareness for others and to try and give someone who knows someone, a person to relate to.
The caveat to that, is you really open yourself up to a lot of questions, and constant texts, calls, messages, and so on.
I was prepared for that, or so I thought.
I have learned a lot about myself so far throughout this process, and there are some things that just trigger me when I hear them. I have gotten the gamut of text messages and questions, but some that I have gotten quite a bit are:
"Do you know the stage of your cancer yet? What are the latest updates?" - I understand you want to know. I too, would love that info. When I get that info, you will know at some point. But for now, can I just not think about mortality and bad news for one nanosecond?!
"How are you feeling today?" - Still have cancer. So... I guess we can file that under not great?
"You are the strongest person I know." - I actually want to create a drinking game to this one. I would be hammered.
Fact is, if you are reading this and you have texted me this, I am not mad at you nor do I think you are a bad friend. To be honest, all of these things I would have probably text you before I got cancer, because I had zero idea how to react to news like that. What I have learned is that everyone reacts and copes with adversity differently. Myself included.
I started reading a book called, "How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick" by Letty Cottin Pogrebin. This book is perfect in understanding this very subject. I had no idea the way seemingly thoughtful questions and comments around illness could be construed on the other end. Until I became the person on the other end.
Everyone is different. All I know is I want to be treated normally, and not like a cancer patient. For one second, I want to be normal again.
I really want to say thank you again to my entire support system. Please don't take this personally, I am still learning how to live with this too.