So five hours at the hospital can give even the most narcissistic person pause for reflection. Yesterday was one of those days. I rewound to a time that I had almost forgotten. As we wandered the halls in between tests I made the mistake of going places that I probably shouldn't have.....one being the Surgery Ward....the body does not forget even if the mind pretends to. Had to make a quick exit as I actually began to sweat and get dizzy.....way to raw for that place. In addition, I found myself being very confused and realized that it was probably a good thing my daughter was with me or else I might still be wandering the halls looking for an exit. We certainly had a few good laughs with my lack of directional ability and my moments of complete confusion as to what we were doing or where we were going. It was comical but very revealing at the same time.
Going through this journey there have been very comfortable, calm times, and there have been very disturbing, chaotic times. Unless you have been through a roller coaster ride like this I don't know if one would actually understand how it changes. When no tests, doctor appointment etc are going on it seems like you can convince yourself all is 'normal' and go about your life quite balanced, parking the bus for future use. As soon as the bus starts moving again all those old feelings of dread, fear, and chaos rear their ugly head. My daughter is very familiar with this and so gives me great slack at these times.....not taking anything personal and knowing that something simply said can set off a storm in me. Others may not be so aware! So here are a few do's and don'ts one might put in their store of things you need to know when dealing with me specifically, but anyone undergoing a Cancer journey in general.
1. We don't want to hear about other people's journeys, especially if they haven't survived! It is not the time to have a conversation of comparisons between your friends and us. We aren't in the space to deal with it and might actually hit you......
2. We don't want to hear that everything will be OK. Yes, it might be and God willing it will be....but it might not and that is part of the journey we desperately need to deal with. It is hard for you to hear it but imagine how hard it is for us to live it.
3. We appreciate anything you might do for us. A visit for tea, a casserole for the freezer, or just a phone call to say 'wanted to hear your voice'. Don't just say 'call if you need anything' because we probably won't. First, its hard to ask for help and secondly we don't always know what we really need. Come by and offer to clean or bring a simple lunch. Recently, someone did that for me and it was wonderful (awkward at first as she cleaned both my bathrooms) but after she left I felt so good and had the sparkling bathrooms to boot.
4. Don't not call because you are afraid to bother us. If we don't want to talk we won't answer and there is a good chance we do want to know that people are thinking of us......even if its just to say hi.
5. Pray for us, send positive energy....let the universe and us know that you love us. Nothing is more healing than knowing that people are thinking of you, praying for you and loving you.....the best part of a journey like this has been finding out how many people care and love me. That is a blessing in any one's life but especially someone who is struggling with cancer......at least we know we will be missed if it doesn't go well and that can be very important.
Finally, don't worry if you feel awkward.....its normal we do too. No one deals with illness well but it can be a very positive and uplifting moment for both of us. It isn't about how YOU are feeling, sorry but for this time its all about me. Not often we can say that, and hopefully most won't ever have to, but for now my focus is limited to about 3 feet in front of me. My brain doesn't really grasp what's going on in my own life most of the time, let alone how the rest of the world is dealing with it.
So, be patient with me, love me from near or far, but if you need someone to talk to because you are feeling sad......I am sorry but for now I can't comfort you.....I only have enough energy for me and my family.......
God bless you and thank you for caring.....it means the world to me.