Cancer Files

It seems everyday I have something new in the mail box.

Mostly it’s been get well cards.  I really appreciate it.  With my busy life, I know it’s hard for me to squeak in time to write cards so when I get them I really know that people have taken time for me.  It makes me feel like I have my own set of cheerleaders.  It keeps me in a really happy place.  I’ve been taking the cards and putting them up on the dresser in my bedroom.  If I get a little tired of it all, I just go read them.

I see them at night before I go to bed and that’s very cheering too.

Some cards have come from family, some from blog readers, some from area people and some one who was my college days bestest friend (still is) that included a LONG letter.  I love the cards that have been sent but Stacey’s was awesome.  She is a scrapbooker and makes cards….how cute is this homemade card??

Isn’t that the perfect card for a card maker to send a quilter??

Here’s a card that came with fabric from Judy.

stash-11She shared her cancer story with me.  It was very touching….25 years she’s been cancer free.  Congrats to you Judy…CONGRATS!!  Your story was touching.

A card from Nell was awesome.  It’s neat to know that once in a lifetime contacts can have an important impact on my life.  THANKS!

On the way to Lacrosse last week I was explaining to Kalissa and Karl how life has changed since the diagnosis.  Here’s a little example.

I went to the post office to drop off a couple packages.  The postmaster is a lady from the community that I know.  We’re not friends per say but acquaintances.  She asked, “How are you?”  Now days, that’s a loaded question.

Here’s what quickly happens in my brain when asked…..

Is she just saying how are you as in “how’s the weather” sort of small talk or does she know I have cancer and is really asking “How is the cancer going”.  Then I make a really fast assessment.  Does she know I have cancer?…well…I think she might.  She has a child that graduated the same year as Kelli so she likely heard from him…or she likely heard because she’s the postmaster in our town with the population of 250 people.  Word likely got to her.

So I say…”I’m feeling pretty good…a little more tired but good.”  It’s a safe answer.  I don’t want to block her out yet I don’t want to drag her into my mess.  It’s a safe answer whether she knows or not.

She nods and says, “Good. I’m glad you’re doing good.”  Quickly from the nod I and conversation I can tell….Yes, she knows I have cancer.  She’s a wonderful lady and we talk a bit more then I’m off.

It seems when I’m out and about there’s always a cloud over my head.  Cancer definitely is an elephant in the conversation.

One of my biggest hopes through all of this is that I can get back to a day when “How are you?” is just simple small talk.

I can’t say how VERY thankful I am that all of you are sharing your stories with me.  There is something wonderful when talking with someone whose words, like Judy’s, start with “I had cancer”.  Immediately my brain and heart say…”this is a kindred spirit”.  They “get” it without me even having to find the words to say.

I really want some good to come out of my cancer journey.  One of the reasons I write about it is to share some of the things and thoughts a cancer victim experiences.  For me, before this, I was someone who didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to act…that always made me feel uncomfortable around someone struggling.  I had always wished someone would share their experiences so I’d know better how act and how to be supportive.  I’m guessing there are some of you who are curious, just as I was…so I guess, I’ll keep sharing.

5 thoughts on “Cancer Files”

  1. While I don’t have cancer, I do have a chronic illness (12 years and counting) so I completely understand the “how are you” dilemma. I find that people say it, but they really don’t want to hear anything other than “I’m fine”.

  2. Thank you Jo. Please just continue being the “you” we readers love and share as you are able to do. You will never know how much your journey is life changing for others. (including me) Thank you again.

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