After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is cancerous in April 2012 – here are some thoughts on what I wish you would know when it comes to cancer.
- Don’t drop by without calling – I maybe having a rough day, a messy house, still in my pj’s, or simply not wanting company.
- When and if you do stop by. Please don't expect me to cook dinner and entertain you all day - sometimes I feel worn out after 'serving' my company. (Yes, I do realize we don't invite people over - it's just too stressful for me) Don't take it personally.
- Don’t pity me – I have Cancer, yes – but I’m not looking for sympathy. Say a prayer instead – not just for me, but for my hubby and kids as well, this is hard on all of us.
- Don’t tell me, that I don't look sick. I already know that and I have this huge sense of guilt. I don’t look unhealthy. I have long hair. I am not frail. I look like the person next door. I look fine - I don’t look like I have cancer. But, it’s a very scary disease that affects us all in different ways.
- Don’t ask personal questions. General rule of thumb is- if you wouldn’t ask a non-cancer patient then it is NOT okay to ask someone with cancer. I don’t enjoy being interrogated by the following:
What kind of cancer do you have?
Where is it located?
- What Doctor do you
see? How often?
How much time you got?
Tell me all the details, so I know how to pray for you - (Can I just say…. God already knows all the details!)
- Don’t assume that because I’m out grocery shopping or at an event that I am fine – my smile can cover up a lot of pain! It’s not easy living with cancer – acknowledge the fact. Be polite and sensitive about it.
- Don’t say anything about cancer in front of my kids at any time. PERIOD! (This isn’t easy for them either – they don’t need to be reminded that their mom is sick.)
- Don’t gossip about me to your friends or family – I hear stories that have been around the bush a few times – most of them are not true!
- Don't say, "I know how you feel." -Let me just say - You do not have cancer. You do not know how I feel!
- Don't dismiss my fears and concerns. ("Don't talk like that! You're going to be fine. Now pick yourself up and go have lunch!") My fears are real. I wonder daily if I will get the chance to see my kids graduate or play with my grandkids one day.
- Please keep your opinions to yourself. I appreciate your wanting to help – I don't want other doctors, remedies, or info to try - we are well informed and yes, we do massive amounts of research on it regularly.
- If you really want to help, here’s some idea’s:
Offer to watch the kids for a few hours.
Bring a casserole or some cookies.
Clean my house for a day – it often just gets the bare minimum when it comes to cleaning.
Tickets for a family day outing or for a date night are great – quality time with my family is appreciated.
Drop a note in the mail – that simple act goes a long way.
Be a friend – someone I can talk to and be with. Listening is the best gift you can give someone with cancer. Listen to me talk, listen to the hurt, listen to the silence, just be there and listen.
Send a relaxing music cd. My disease is caused by stress – I love music… and bubble baths.
Support my home business – It helps our family and the more customers we have, the less overtime my hubby has to work away from our family, plus you’ll love the products.
- Know that it’s okay to laugh with me. I don't always want to think or talk about my disease. Laughing and talking about other things are welcome distractions.
- Please realize that sometimes just being around people stresses me out. Don’t think I’m a snob because I don’t come to all the events and functions that I’m invited to – I stay home a lot – it’s better for me – please don’t ask me to explain.
- Don’t assume I have friends and family to help – most of my family live in another state and has a life and family of their own. Oh, I have Facebook friends and acquaintances, but I don’t have anyone who will stop by, help snap beans, drink lemonade and have a good girl to girl talk.
- Please know I have cancer fatigue. I am tired of thinking about it. People are tired of hearing about it. I am tired of dealing with it. We all just wish it would go away. Our family is exhausted from months of emotional stress. We are desperate to regain some normalcy, but cancer is that elephant in the room that won’t be ignored.
- Don’t tell me to pray more. Yes, we can all use a little more Faith – but it’s my life we’re talking about- it doesn't go away.
- Please Remember: It’s not my cancer, it’s the cancer. "Cancer does not define me – it’s just part of who I am.”
I am still a person – I still want to live a ‘normal’ life. I still cook, clean, garden, preserve food, do laundry, run a business, and have appointments to keep.
I am still a mom – to three beautiful, but very adventurous kids – one of whom is a special needs child and requires a great deal of patience every day.I am still a wife – to a fabulous and loving husband – A man who I am proud to be his partner.
I am still me – I love music, I love to sing, write, crochet, bake, work in my flowerbeds, work on crafts and interior décor, take walks, enjoy relaxing bubble baths, and sharing Shaklee with others.