I think I may have written some of this before but I choose not to go back and read this blog because it is so emotional and grammatically hard to read since it is often written during crying spells, pain, and at odd hours of the night. So since I had major surgery and I am doing chemo again I think it is time for a refresher.
Just because I look "good" --fixed my hair, have makeup on, and not in pajama's, doesn't mean I am feeling good. Just because there is the class that says "Look Better, Feel Better" (this class is promoted by the makeup industry to those going thru cancer). I fix my hair and get dressed (currently only when leaving the house, I know many moms who are like that too!) because I don't want to look horrible even though I feel horrible. It takes a lot of energy out of me to do this and often involves planning days ahead to go out--one day get clothes out, another day bath, another day fix hair, and on the day I go out doing nothing but the outing to have energy for it.
Just because I haven't lost all my hair doesn't mean the chemo I am taking is not that bad or hard on me. Chemo is not just one chemo, their our MANY different types of chemo for each different kind of cancer. I, thankfully on this occasion, was born with very thick hair, so my chemo has me loosing about half of my hair. Now, while I know that it is better than having no hair, I still loose my hair all the time and quite annoying, clogging sinks, tubs, my bed, always picking off hairs.
Again, this goes back to different chemos. Just because you know someone who worked through chemo and ran a 5K doesn't mean I can or that I am lazy. Even the same chemo effects people differently. Plus, the surgery and the neuropathy induced from chemo makes it painful to walk, and I am always tired (one reason why I will be getting iron infusion for now on). And other issues I don't want to talk about.
For me, if you have an alternative, please feel free to post it, but if you want me to try it, please consider that I am unable to try all the different cures out there because of cost, unless you are going to buy it. I don't want to tell my kids that they can't do things and we need to eat bread and water (we already live off cheap meals) so I can try and sort through all the different cancer cures out there in hopes of finding one. I have researched many and it is overwhelming the different ones and then making sure you are getting the right supplements because not all supplements are created equally. It was also hard to find people with my specific cancer and the spread I have with a positive story. Example, the closest I found was a stage 1 (earliest stage) that *had surgery* and then did this alternative cure. Well, stage 1 doesn't get chemo or radiation for my cancer so the surgery was the treatment. I do believe there are alternative treatments, I just don't have the full ability to try them all until health insurance covers them. I think of Steve Jobs who had all the resources and couldn't find a treatment.
Even though this blog has been sort of sharing what I have gone through, it is no where near what I have gone through. I haven't post about 70% of the crap. So know it is worse than what you read. And this goes to anyone I talk to in person.
I felt really stupid as soon as I was dx with cancer. I kept thinking of a person I knew who had cancer. I wish I could have been different to this person but I couldn't then. I had no clue about it until I had it. And most likely you will not have a clue either even as I try and explain some of it. That is the *peace* you have when you do not have cancer. I wish I had the peace of not knowing. But having been on both sides it does make me understand and try to understand the non cancer person and where they are coming from.
For me, it is not the "stupid" comments that hurt so much as the not saying anything and pretending cancer is not there or that cancer would go away. I can not pretend it away or ignore it.
I wish I could be that gun ho cancer person that is often the poster person for cancer, I wonder if it is a myth of sorts or at least an omission of the whole truth and glossed over the bad parts.
And some more things to know that resonate with me taken from a list I read online:
“It’s okay to say or do the ‘wrong’ thing.” I did and do!
“I need to know you’re here for me, but if you can’t be, you can still show you care.”
“I am terrified and need to know you’ll forgive me if I snap at you or bite your head off.”
“I need you to listen to me and let me cry.”
“I need to feel hope, but telling me to think positively can make me feel worse.”
“I want you to respect my judgment and treatment decisions.”
“I want you to give me an opening to talk about cancer and then take my lead.”
“If you really want to help me, be specific about your offer, or just help without asking."
“I love being held in your thoughts or prayers.”
“Hearing platitudes or what’s good about cancer can minimize my feelings.”
“I don’t know why I got cancer, and hearing your theory may add grave insult to injury.”
“Don’t take it personally if I don’t return your call or want to see you.”
“I am more grateful than I can say for your care, compassion, and support.”
“I don’t want to hear that I’ll be just fine.”
“I am unique, so please don’t compare me.” Said one survivor, “Don’t tell me how wonderful Lance Armstrong is, not letting cancer get him down’ . . . you don’t read about when he was down or puking or tired, and when you compare me to him or any other famous cancer survivor, I feel like I am less-than because chemo is kicking my butt.”
“The simplest gesture, like a text message every day or two, can mean the world to me.”
Visit—without expecting to be entertained.
Deliver meals (restaurant or homemade) or give food gift certificates.
Have their house cleaned, or clean it yourself.
Help with their children.
Reprinted with permission from Help Me Live, Revised and Expanded: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know. Copyright © 2011 Lori Hope, Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.