I firmly believe everyone needs to expend some anger on occasion. And today's my day. Not because I'm in a bad mood but because I just wrote an article addressing "how to greet a cancer patient" for Ehow. It ticked me off for a number of reasons. Let's begin with common sense.
It should be common sense that cancer patients need an extremely clean environment. It's a given, right? So why do we need to remind everyone? Is it because everyone is so self-absorbed? I think so.
After 8 continual months of treatment, I AM NOT okay right now. I don't feel well, I'm tired, I have bone pain, I hate my lack of hair - in short, I feel like crap. It's better than last week but it by no means is good. I'm disgusted with all this and the seemingly never-ending feeling of being sucked into a quagmire. It's gotten REAL old at this point.
Every time I think of cancer cliches, I see red. The dumb things people say just never ends. This isn't because it's happened to me lately. It's just principal. Why should we have to rant against the stupid things people say to us as cancer patients? Aren't we going through enough already? The excuse of "they just don't know any better or even what to say" is just that - an excuse. Get a grip. Next time someone tells me something, I'm going off. Be warned.
Forrest Gump's Mom had it right - stupid is as stupid does. This is taking up a full chapter in my book.
I watched Steffie crush multiple boxes so I could get the recycling together yesterday. We had a mound of boxes because we missed last weeks pickup. What I really imagined was her crushing hundreds of pink ribbon lapel pins and frou-frou pink BS that drives me crazy. Bonfire, here I come.
Hello? Where did everyone go? I'm not okay. Repeat after me - I'm not okay. Everyone who cares for someone who has cancer needs to get a fricking grip and realize the fun and games don't end when treatment finishes. The hell just begins and a helping hand would be greatly appreciated. Fatigue sets in with a vengeance, motivation and self-esteem crashes. Recovery seems like an endless abyss after going through the hell of 8 months of surgey and treatment. And guess what? You have to live with the fact that you didn't help, you were too busy, you were afraid to address your own fear of cancer. YOU. Can you deal with it?
Don't lie to me. I know I look like a cancer patient. I just finished treatment, for God's sake! Remember my beautiful long hair? It was long for a reason - because I looked good that way. I don't look good with short hair. It sucks. Along with the plethora of other physical stuff that isn't the same, believe me, you don't want to mention this to me. Not a good idea.
My kids have a mother who is recovering. For God's sake, cut them some slack. They live with me and while I try to keep things normal, things aren't normal and haven't been for awhile. Seeing a parent in pain regularly and sick is rough on a child. Please keep you own child from harassing my kid over stupid stuff. Or you're gonna hear it from me. Keep your own and your kid's petty bullshit to yourselves. If you can't, then I will do it for you.
Oh yea, and guess what? You can feel like shit and still be an effective parent. Let ME discipline my own children, MY WAY. Guaranteed my kids are better behaved and more aware of proper behavior than yours. Why is that, you say? Because my kids know about compassion, something sorely lacking in this world today. And my kids know I'm their PARENT first and then their friend. And guess what else? Their meltdowns have a reason - a sick parent. Your kid's melt down just because you're a crappy parent.
Don't address what is different about me. Believe me, I know it. I don't want to hear how you're losing weight. Try taking 4 months of steroids and see if you've retained your figure. Throw in some Tamoxifen and then we'll talk. I'm exercising every day. I'm toning muscles that haven't been used for anything other than sleeping for 8 months. Get a fricking grip. At this point, I don't care if you look like a Vogue model.
My boobs aren't an issue. Everything else is. Kindly move your eyes above chest level and look me in the eye. If you want to see the results of breast cancer, I'll gladly show you. I lost my modesty months ago.
God help the policeman that stops me because I don't have the chest strap across my chest when driving. And God help Md's governor Martin O'Malley if I get a ticket. I use the lap belt only, I'm an adult, and I pay my taxes. It hurts my boob. Wanna see why?
Cancer isn't free. It costs money. Copays and prescriptions cost a ton of money I would otherwise be spending on my kids. I don't have anything extra. So spare me your own "I'm poor" pity party. Trying spending your vacation money and savings on drugs and copays that you will never see again. All to keep yourself alive. It's great fun. I'm thinking my out of pocket expenses exceed $4000 for a one-income family. My medical treatment has to be over $500,000. Yes that's five hundred thousand. Try having that hanging over your head for awhile and then we'll talk about money.
Wigs suck. They aren't an answer to missing hair for me. Don't ask me anymore why I don't wear my wig. It's hot as hell and makes me have hot flashes on top of my hot flashes. I don't look like me at all. Add that to the bonfire.
Don't you dare take my picture. This is my nightmare, my life, and my body and mind that have been trashed and dragged through the mud. It's not cute, I don't care how cuddly it is - I want nothing to remind me of how shitty I look and how shitty I feel. It's beyond unkind and no one should take a cancer patient's picture unless they ask. Call it vanity or whatever. Take a walk in my shoes for awhile - a real walk for once. Get into the nitty gritty of imagining how YOU would feel in my shoes. And use your God given common sense.
I'm entitled to my pity party. Try waking up everyday, knowing you've had cancer, are going through treatment or on the road to recovery. Try having a daily reminder that your femininity has been shredded and you feel like shit. Try living with the knowledge that you face this beast every day and that it might end your life. Recovery involves both the physical and mental coping and IT IS NOT EASY. If you can't deal, then go away. Literally.