Monday, December 8, 2014
Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today: 0.00 miles; Running Total: 70.68 miles)
Day 150 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.
Last week I received an email from another cancer patient. I admire her bravery in telling me her story, but oh God, it scared me.
I’ve come to think of these as the ‘horror stories’. That email wasn’t the first. I hear these stories all the time.
There was the lady at Walgreens. A neighbor with good intentions. The man at the pizza parlor. The woman at the grocery store. The woman in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.
Random strangers tell me all about the worst parts of cancer treatment.
Just like no one knows what to say to me about cancer, I don’t know what to say when people tell me their horror stories. I feel like I have to listen since 1) I’m in the cancer club now and 2) they were brave enough to talk about it in the first place.
Also, it feels rude to cut people off in the middle of these stories. And it’s incredibly difficult for me to be intentionally rude.
So I say nothing. And people take the silence as permission to tell more.
I understand. Truly, I do.
People only want to share their burden with someone, want to feel less alone. But I’m fumbling and frightened, too. More often than not, after hearing a horror story I’ll find myself crying in a hot shower watching my hands shake and trying not to scream.
Maybe I’ve painted the wrong picture here on the blog.
If, by focusing on the positive I’ve made my life look too sunny, like it’s all coming up roses, let me clarify:
I do not remotely have my shit together. I am one Xanex away from an epic melt down.
So in my own self-defense, please, tell me positive stories. I really need to hear those.
Or, at the very least, don’t send me scary stories. They don’t help, and they only frighten me more.
I will probably hurt someone’s feelings with this post, and I am sorry for that.
I recognize the irony in the words ‘avoid telling me scary stories’ while I’m telling my own. I considered discontinuing the blog all together because I thought maybe it was opening me up to more stories. Also, what is it doing to you? I’m probably terrifying every reader I have.
But I like my blog and I want to continue.
So if I lose a few of you, I’m very sorry.
Maybe someday I will be better at listening to these stories. Right now I am not.
Today’s silver lining: Having cancer has made me very conscious of how I make other people feel. I think it has made me a better human being.
In this case, I hope I haven’t hurt anyone and that honesty truly is the best policy.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!
Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share? Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.