Are We There Yet?

People throw around a lot of cliché words and phrases when they’re talking about The Cancer.  One that lately has become my least favorite is referring to the whole cancer thing as a “journey”.  Because, really, what’s up with that?  I mean, yeah, I guess it’s better than referring to it as your “cancer death sentence” or your “epic cancer battle” but gee, a journey makes it sound kind of like fun.  Oooh!  We’re going on a journey!  Maybe we’ll see the Grand Canyon, or Mount Rushmore.  It implies movement that, when chemo’s got you on your face kicking the snot out of you, is not happening.  Not only that, but to me it seems like an attempt to some how glamorize The Cancer.  Oh, look how brave you are on that big, exciting, cancer journey of yours! 

 

And no one chooses The Cancer, so what famous journey might we compare it to?  Lewis & Clark?  Nope, they chose to go on their journey.  Magellan?  Nope, can’t compare it to that either.  It’s more like the Trail of Tears.  Nobody asked if you wanted to go.  If they had, you’d have said no.  You’re going someplace you really don’t want to be.  Not everyone on the “journey” with you will even make it there.  Doesn’t that sound great?  I don’t know about the rest of you cancer girls out there, but I’ve spent this whole “journey” trying to get back to my normal.

 

I know I’m sounding a little grumpy these days.  Maybe that’s because I’ve been absolutely bombarded by cancer questions lately.  Now let me be clear, if you’re a survivor, or you’ve been recently diagnosed, I do not mind talking, to you about The Cancer at all.  What wears me down is folks who are basically just asking because that’s the only thing they know (and apparently all they care to know) about me. 

 

Last weekend was a combined service at my church.  That meant that all of the old folks who normally don’t see me, saw me, and they all felt the need to ask about The Cancer.  I told Angie, “It’s like I’ve got two kids.  First they ask how The Cancer’s doing, and then in the next breath they ask how Mini Me is doing.”  In truth, it’s not quite the same, because when they’re asking about The Cancer they use this kind of hushed, cautious tone and they say “How are you?”  Unfortunately, the generic answer is never good enough for them.  I say, “I’m doing fine.”  Then, not satisfied with that, and obviously unable to read my body language which I know has to be screaming “Stop talking about The Cancer!” they’ll inevitably ask something like, “Are you in remission?” 

 

What is it about having The Cancer that makes people think they have some claim on your medical condition?  You know, I don’t walk up to Mildred and say, “How are you?  Is your irritable bowel still angry?” or stop Eunice on her way into the bathroom to ask her how her incontinence is going these days (ba-dump-bump), and when she says, “It’s fine” I don’t say “Are you still wearing Depends?  You know, my great Aunt Madge DIED of incontinence…or was it indigestion?”

 

All of this has me seriously considering whether or not to tell people if The Cancer ever does come back.  Really.  Like, I’m thinking it might be less drama, and less conversation if I just tell folks I’ve got some other disease.  So far, my favorite option is The Gout.  Anybody have any other suggestions?

 

Advertisements

15 Responses to “Are We There Yet?”

  1. Ryan Says:

    You know I luv ya and all, but, honestly, you have me TOTALLY FREAKED OUT about what I am going to say to you at our 20-yr reunion. Can I say, “Hey, you look great,” or is that insinuating that you look great for someone who has had cancer? Can I say, “How have you been,” or is that insinuating that I want to know how the cancer is? If I say, “Good to see you,” are you going to twist it into me saying I am glad you are here and not dead? WHAT CAN I DO? Maybe I will just blow you off HAHAHA!

  2. Mary Creger Says:

    My first thought was to answer your last question and suggest~~~”The terminal heeeby geeeebies”. That is until I read the comment from Ryan. HOOOboy have you opened a can of worms now!

  3. Theresa Says:

    My cousin with The Cancer… would just quickly turn the conversation back to the other person – “I’m fine, what’s going on with you these days.” I know she felt pried into and violated by some inquisitions and further by drop-in visitors who didn’t even know her well. I know people want to express that they care, but if there is ever a time for tact and sensitivity, this is one of them.

    As for another disease, hmmm hypertestosteronism? Ingrown toenails, jock itch?

  4. Faye Adamson Says:

    You sure do make me think about things differently than I used to. But, if I see you at church and ask you how you are doing….I really mean it at face value. I always joke with a good friend of mine that if someone asks me how I am, I just tell them the truth at that moment and if I am struggling with something, they usually dont want to hear all the details and just kinda cut the conversation short with something like ” I will pray for you” and just walk away! If you dont really want to know…dont ask cause I will tell you.

  5. Mamma Jamma Says:

    I had a classmate email me the other day wanting to know how I was doing on my “health recovery”. I said I feel pretty normal now and my energy level is good, everything is fine. He emailed me back and said ” good for you, glad to hear you’re maintaining at this point”. I suspect he will continue to bug me with those kind of comments for quite a long while since he didn’t sound too sure that I was really okay. Heh, heh. I’m sure you know who it was.

  6. Kylie Says:

    Hey, I kinda like Epic Cancer Battle myself. Also, Bob has Gout. I wouldn’t pick that one, cause then you’d have to limp around to make it believable, and listen to people tell you that you should stop drinking and eating shellfish.

  7. Donna Church Says:

    I actually remember being in so much pain with my back that I couldn’t move as I sat in Church and poor Pastor Mark who was trying to help asked me what I needed and I said very hatefully “TO WALK!!!!!!” I later apologized when I came to my senses and could move. You sometimes just want to wear a sign “Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies.”
    I guess it is hard for people to understand until they have walked the same path.

  8. The Moody Foodie Says:

    Ryan~
    No worries, my friend. I don’t plan on going to the reunion. Problem solved.

  9. The Moody Foodie Says:

    Theresa~
    Jock itch—I bet THAT would shut them up.

    Faye~
    It’s not that I’m all of a sudden anti-social. You know that. And you also know that there’s way more to me than my medical history….and I consider it just that, HISTORY. I guess that it just really bugs me to think that when people see me, the first thing they think is “cancer”. Ick.

  10. The Moody Foodie Says:

    Mamma~
    Yes, I know of whom you speak. And HE is a drama queen. At least you don’t have to see him in person!

    Kylie~
    How about Ultimate Cancer Challenge? Gout is just so much fun to say, though. You know, “I got The Gout” just rolls off the tongue in the most deliciously ghetto sort of way.

  11. Evalyn Says:

    What about leprosy–might keep their distance then!

  12. throwslikeagirl74 Says:

    “How are you? Is your irritable bowel still angry?” OMG. I’m still laughing.

  13. You Say “Cancer”, I Say “La-La-La I Can’t Hear You” « In The Pink Says:

    […] February is also the anniversary of my diagnosis, which was 3 years ago.  To look at me you’d never know, unless you know.   And therein lies the problem, because some people who know seem to have forgotten everything else they know about me.  The Cancer, it seems, has overshadowed any previous identity I had.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that is one of the most difficult things about having the daggone cancer!  Seriously.  Being bald was a pain, but it only lasted a few months.  How many years will it take for people to stop associating me with The Cancer?  […]

  14. You Say “Cancer”, I Say “La-La-La I Can’t Hear You” | Stacey Muncie, Freelance Storyteller Says:

    […] February is also the anniversary of my diagnosis, which was 3 years ago.  To look at me you’d never know, unless you know.   And therein lies the problem, because some people who know seem to have forgotten everything else they know about me.  The Cancer, it seems, has overshadowed any previous identity I had.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that is one of the most difficult things about having the daggone cancer!  Seriously.  Being bald was a pain, but it only lasted a few months.  How many years will it take for people to stop associating me with The Cancer?  […]

  15. An Unexpected Answer | Stacey Muncie, Freelance Storyteller Says:

    […] “inspired” by somebody else’s cancer “journey.” (A few years ago, I addressed my confusion at the inspiration thing. So…what exactly have I inspired you to do, get […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: