Life with thyroid cancer has been so interesting. I’ve learned so much about people…so much. For the most part, people are really good. I’ve been surprised. I’ve been shocked…mostly I’ve been comforted.
Previous to my diagnosis I can’t say that I’ve been the best support to others who have hard medical diagnosis. I’ve thought I tried…but just didn’t know what to say…how much to say…does the person want to talk about it…what do I do to actually help? All of it was so confusing and complicated.
I’ve had some really awesome talks with my niece Jody. She is a breast cancer survivor. She’s a great sounding board. I can say anything…anything at all to her and being she too has had cancer, she gets it.
Here’s something Jody said, “Cancer is a great way to sift through the real-ness of some relationships in our lives. People will either back away, rush in, or observe and take note helping where needed.”
She is so right. Sifting through the real-ness of relationships has really been enlightening.
I really believe that some people really don’t know what to say. I think some people are quiet and say nothing because they are afraid to say the wrong thing.
Jody shared a great article…
You can find it here. For the most part, the article is pretty good. The only part I don’t agree with is who is in the inner circle. For me, I would put Hubby and the kids in the inner circle too. Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean that I want to quit being their mom. I don’t want Kalissa to hide her morning sickness from me because she is doesn’t want me to worry. I don’t want Buck to hide his divorce issues from me either. I am still their mom…cancer or not. I still want to feel wanted and needed.
I also want the kids and Hubby to talk to me about their fears. I know the kids are afraid of how to deal with their Dad if I’m gone. Who but me, is a better person to talk about that with? I’ve lived with him all these years and can best predict how he’d be and what would best help him. I want them to share their fears with me.
The kids can totally dump to me. Hubby can too….anybody else? Nope…not their fears about my cancer. Share their problems and life..yes… Their fears about my cancer nope.
For the most part, people have been pretty good.
I’ve had some not so good experiences…like someone sharing that my cancer adds to the list of people “they” are dealing with who have cancer in their lives and that now Joey Feek even died from cancer. This was a blog reader who rarely comments and I don’t have a real life relationship with….it made me feel like I was burdening them with “my” cancer and that my cancer added to the people on their list.
I’ve had friends and family not even acknowledge my cancer. That’s made me feel contagious.
I had a brother call and talk to me for over an hour….I loved that! We normally don’t talk lots anymore. At family get togethers the men end up talking more with the men and the women the women. I loved getting his call.
I’ve had people send get well notes and cards…those I’ve loved. I know that people take time from their day to send them.
I’ve had people offer to help and then more or less yell at me because they knew I wouldn’t ask for help…that’s just not me. I told my brother this and we both laughed. We grew up in the same household. Immediately he quoted my Dad..”If you want it done right, do it yourself”…and I quoted my mom. “A good man helps himself”. We both know that we, as Johnson kids growing up, NEVER ask for help unless there is no way we can do it ourselves. Just because I have cancer…that didn’t change. I also know that should I ask him for anything..he knows the code and will come running. He doesn’t need to tell me he’d be there. I KNOW!
I’ve had old high school friends drop a note and say “hey…sorry this is happening to you”. Then we get a chance to catch up….I like that.
I’ve had people just do things without asking like the neighbor lady making a cake. That I really appreciated as it was one less thing I had to do. I always have something here baked for Hubby to take in his lunch…that day I didn’t have to.
I had a blog reader who lives close to Lacrosse and has a cabin on the river offer us the use of her cabin…How sweet??! How generous!!
Kelli came one day and cleaned up all the dog poop from the winter now that the snow is gone. She didn’t ask..didn’t offer…just did it. I REALLY appreciated that!!
I love all the notes from blog readers with well wishes or times they tell me about someone they know someone that beat cancer…those stories are always inspiring. I’ve really appreciate all the notes sent and comments left.
I’ve had people come unglued and start crying about my diagnosis….that’s hard…especially when I didn’t think they cared. That makes me feel awkward…really awkward.
I’ve had AMAZING childcare parents. They’ve all said “do whatever you need. We’ll figure it out.” I so appreciate that. They haven’t acted like my problem was a problem to them at all….when I actually know it is a problem to them. I SO appreciate their willingness to work with me.
I’ve had people ask how I am…I’ve said good. Then I’ve been grilled and told that I have cancer, how can I be good? It’s so weird that people don’t understand that even though I have cancer, I can be good. I’m not curled up in a ball and miserable. I’m good. I am happy. I’m glad for each day I get. I love my husband. I love my life. I love my kids. I love my home. I love my dog. My medical issue I don’t especially love but even in that, there are things I love. My doctor is great…I have a good prognosis. I have a cancer that can be stabilized. I am good.
If you, like me, don’t know what to say to someone who is experiencing medical issues, take a look at that article. It really is pretty good…I do have to say, that I would prefer people simply say “I’m sorry this is happening to you”… vs. nothing at all. When nothing at all is said, I feel like the elephant in the room.
For the most part…..People have been pretty good. Jody was so right when she said, “Cancer is a great way to sift through the real-ness of some relationships in our lives.” Previous to my diagnosis, I would have never known that. I never knew how many good people there are still out there. It’s been something I am so happy to learn. Rather than look at all the bad with this diagnosis I’m trying really hard to celebrate all of the good…You blog readers are really a big part of the good. THANKS!!