Talking Points

I’ve discovered just how much my sense of self-worth has become tied to my blog. Since firing up the new place, I’ve had a whopping 35 people sign up to receive an email whenever I post a new entry. That 35 out of 359 readers from my former home, or about 10%. Adding insult to injury is the fact that my OWN MOTHER hasn’t signed up! Is that sad, or what? How big of a loser does a person have to be to have their mom blowing them off? I’m crushed.

Of course, I’ve gotten no end of grief from The Foob. “Zee!” he spouts, “I told you they do not want to hear about zee hair, or zee marimbas. They want Zee Foob! Now move over and let me type zee blog!” Of course, it does no good to try to point out to him that he has no arms or hands with which to type. “Do not bother me with zee details!” he barks. I knew I shouldn’t have put his picture on the sidebar. He was bad before, but now he really thinks he owns the place.

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I want to do a little research project here, and for this I need participation from my readers who are also breast cancer survivors. Have you ever been amazed at the complete tactlessness or downright stupidity of people when it comes to talking about cancer? Well, now is your chance to a) vent a little and b) educate the masses. What I want to know is, what is the single most insensitive thing someone has ever said to you in regard to cancer? You can email me your answers HERE. I’ll be collecting your responses until March 18th. Then I’ll compile them and post the results—keeping everyone anonymous, because strangely, we would feel guilty if someone recognized that we were talking about them.

To get the ball rolling, I’ll share a question that I’ve gotten several times. It’s not the most insensitive thing I’ve heard, but it’s annoying to me nonetheless. The question is “Did they get it all?” My first inclination is to say, “No. The doctor decided to leave a piece, just for the fun of it.” Seriously, I HOPE that when Dr Schmidt does surgery, his aim is to “get it all” however, there’s really no guarantee, now is there? I’ve also thought about just answering “No” and then waiting to see what the questioner will ask next. Maybe it’ll be something comforting like, “Oh, so have you picked out your casket yet?” or “Does Hubster plan to remarry?”

Now, I realize that people sometimes don’t know what to say, so let me offer some suggestions. The next time you’re tempted to ask the cancer survivor in your life whether or not “they got it all”, ask instead, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” And the next time you feel the urge to tell your favorite cancer survivor about how your Aunt Tillie died from exactly what they’ve got, instead say, “You look great! Have you been working out?” I know you may find it hard to believe, but this will be way more encouraging to your cancer friend than anything cancer-related you could possibly say.

Trust me.