This morning I made lunches for the kids, chatted over breakfast, practiced math and spelling, and hugged them out the door! YAY! Love the normal mornings...thankful for the meds that make it possible!
- When I tell someone I have cancer, their eyes almost always inadvertently flick down to my bust... so I wait a beat, then slowly say, "urinary cancer that has spread to my lungs and right shoulder"...and wait for that information to settle. Then two things happen: the person will either start talking about someone they know who had cancer and is cured or in remission, or the shock will start to show on their face and I will repeat and then add "but the chemo is working and the cancer is shrinking!!!" to help them get over the scary-horrible news a little more gently for the moment.
- People are generous, they want to help, they wish they could wish cancer or disease or hard stuff away. We are constantly good-overwhelmed by the kindness of family, friends, acquaintances, friends-of-friends. Watch for it... I know there is generosity beyond sickness and sucky circumstances, we just have to train ourselves to see it in our every day!
- I feel like I'm missing out on life. A lot. My world has shrunk to my house, my Mom's car, the cancer agency and/or hospital, tv shows, Faceb00k (which is usually slow in the day). At home we have lots of help, and I cannot imagine how we could do this without it, but the help is hard to accept some days, you know?! Some days it makes me feel pushed out of my own parenting or just exacerbates my feelings of missing out on my own life.... grocery shopping, tidying up, a quick run upstairs to grab something I forgot...stupid little things. I'm working on being more gracious. I feel whiny and ungrateful in some areas and I'm trying hard to be better, kinder, more patient.
- In general, people don't know what to say to someone who has cancer, or to the loved one of someone who has cancer. I have observed this to be true in other hard circumstances (miscarriage, death in the family, etc). Here's how it can easily go... honestly, for both of us, it's the first interaction that's the hardest, so my advice for both of us it to just get it over... tears are okay:
- You: "Hey, I heard you have cancer. I'm so sorry, how are you doing?"
- Me: "Ya, it's been a lot, but I'm doing okay. The cancer sucks, but we are okay."
- You... now have two choices: If you are comfortable talking about this: Ask the question on your mind... my answer will be honest but if I don't feel like talking about it, I'll be pretty general and change the topic to a tv show or the weather. If you are NOT comfortable talking about this (which is totally fine): Ask about the kids, or say "You must be watching lots of movies, here's a great one I just enjoyed...." And then the topic will steer in a neutral territory.
- The most important thing: talk, connect, reach out with words.
- Be true to you! As the person with cancer, I honestly have no expectations of you-the-friend/visitor. I think people sick at home are just glad for a connection to their real life before 'this'. If you are a baker, bake. If you are a shopper, drop off a pack of toilet paper or some cut veggies or cut fruit. If you are a texter, text. If you are a prayer, pray. Just do what feels right to you and know that the love and prayers are being received, the fruit will get eaten, and toilet paper is always the right gift! [wink]
Have a great day! I will, too!