Being Careful What We Say

A friend posed the question on her facebook page, asking if anyone had made a New Year's Resolution. I almost responded with, "To stay alive! ;)" but then remembered that not everyone would take it tongue in cheek. Some would chuckle (maybe her and some of our mutual friends), but I'm sure someone would say, "Holy Crap!  I can't believe she said that!"  So, I didn't post, not wanting to turn her uplifting post in to something morbid. This brings to mind a few things cancer patients (or any chronically ill person, really) struggle with/adjust to.

Humor -- We have to have it. Sometimes we laugh at the most off the wall things. Sometimes people think, "Oh, my gosh, I can't believe he/she thinks that is in the least bit funny!" Sometimes we have to laugh about it, or we'll spend all of our time crying about it.  Here's an example of this that has nothing to do with my cancer:  When my sister died, we had gone through years of cancer treatments, and all the highs and lows, with her.  The last time she was in the hospital, we spent nine days with her, watching her die.  We helped her say goodbye to her friends and family.  We planned her funeral.  The day of the viewing, my other sisters and I (and husbands and kids) went to dinner between viewing times.  We were a few minutes late getting back to the funeral home.  Someone said something funny, so we were laughing as we walked in the door.  All heads turned and looked as us like we were all kinds of crazy.  Let me tell you this:  we had grieved her loss before she was gone.  Grief is a heavy thing.  Sometimes you need some relief from it.  So if I laugh about something that has to do with my cancer ... laugh with me.

Being careful what we say --  Sometimes people say, "How's it going?" or "How are you today?" and it's just a way to acknowledge/say hello. Sometimes they actually want to hear the real answer. Sometimes it's hard to tell which. Yesterday, someone asked how I was doing. Being honest, I said, "I'm feeling a little off today, so I'm just going to sit over here quietly for a few minutes if you don't mind."  The look on his face.  Then I remembered -- he really doesn't know my story; he was just being polite.  Then I spent a few minutes trying to make the conversation more comfortable.

Here's a thing I hear about with cancer patients -- Why does it seem as though it's my responsibility to make you feel better about my cancer?  So many times we find ourselves in the position of not only explaining our diagnosis and prognosis to people, but sometimes comforting them about it.  "I'll be okay."  "No worries, my body's handling my treatments fairly well."  I think it's maybe the look on the face of the person I'm talking to that makes me automatically want to not make them feel bad.  I'm really not sure.  I know this sounds a little disjointed, but it's been on my mind.  Usually I would let it sit for a day or two and come back to make changes, but it's been stewing for a while and I'm not sure I could explain it any better.  Ha! Almost put a LOL at the end of that sentence.  See what I mean about humor, and trying to make things not so heavy? 



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