I feel even worse for the people who don't deal with me on a daily basis. Not in a vain "I'm such a great person" way. I feel sorry for those who don't talk to me on a regular basis because they often don't know what to say or how to treat me. Here's the big secret I've realized: No one has behaved inappropriately or irreparably offended me. No one. Not one person. Surprised? I am. It's due largely in part that I have amazing family and friends - I know no one is a mean person. So even when someone says something odd, I know it's coming from a good place. It's also because there's no wrong way to act. I'll repeat that, because it's important. There is no wrong way to act.
There are three basic buckets of the way people treat me:
- Some people are afraid to talk to me and avoid me. That's fine. I'm happy to talk to anyone about any questions they have. However, if I make someone uncomfortable because of my illness, then they can avoid me and I'm not offended. It's just their way of keeping the norm.
- Others talk only about me being sick. That's fine. They ask how I'm feeling, let me complain, ask questions, let me complain more. That works for me. I'm happy to talk about me. It is one of my favorite subjects. (I should say that this is a matter of personal preference. Not everyone is as open about their health issues as I am and for very good reasons. When I went through my first surgery/chemo over 500+ people literally got updates on the function of my large intestines. That was my choice.)
- Lastly, there are people who talk to me about anything but being sick. Also ok. I'm happy for those people that treat me like I'm not sick and tell me about their lives. I want to know about other's lives to still feel normal.
I had a coworker ask me what he could do to help. Simple question and very kind. The best thing I could come up with to help me that day was "tell me about what's going on in your life". I wanted to know - and I wanted to talk about something other than being sick. I love my friends that let me do that. They call, ask me how I'm feeling, listen, and then tell me about their crazy wild adventures.
Even if you don't have wild crazy adventures, that's ok too. I'm just happy that you care. :)
On a scheduling note, I'll be doing chemo again on Monday, inpatient in the hospital. I'll hopefully be out of the hospital on Wednesday. This chemo shouldn't be as bad, largely in part because my momma doesn't have chemo this week. I've been feeling pretty bad on most days, but surviving. My mom and I hi-five at the end of each day and recite our mantra "we survived".