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Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'm Super! Thanks For Asking!

How many times, when you ask someone how they're doing, do you really want to know how they are doing? Do you ask cause you really want to know, or is it just part of your greeting? And when people say they're doing fine/great/super, do you think they really are doing fine/great/super, or is their reply just an automatic response to a greeting?  

I used to do breast cancer so much differently.  In 2009, once I was able to stop crying and pull my shit together after getting the diagnosis, I had made up my mind that I was "tougher and WAY cooler than any stupid infiltrating ductal carcinoma", stage 3a.  And I put on my pink stuff and told any and everybody who would listen that I "HAD bc.  Past tense".  And that I have "already beaten it, cause my scans are clear!"

Oh how naive.  How naive and how unprepared I was.  

And for a couple of years, when someone would see me out and about, they would ask "How are you doing? How are you feeling?"  And regardless of how I was actually doing or feeling at the time, I would chirp "I'm GREAT! I'm kickin cancer's ass!" *Hug* "Thanks for asking! How are YOU?" And then sometimes the convo would go on about what was going on treatment wise, which I would riddle with jokes and sarcastic comments, sort of giving the finger to bc.  I tried to be as humorous as possible and appear to be the most courageous, bad ass, cancer ass kicker anyone had ever seen.  

*Insert eyeball roll here*

At least half of the time back then, if I had answered truthfully, I would have said that I was really terrified of the surgeries pending.  Or that I was totally upset that I'm bald.  And it wasn't until active treatment ended that it occurred to me that, bc people are never, ever really out of the woods. And I spent a good 2 years in a state of complete panic over the possibility of recurrence, or mets.  So during that time, if I had been honest, I would have expressed those thoughts, rather than "I'm great! *Insert # of years* cancer free (?!) and still kickin!"

*Insert eyeball roll here*

Why did I do this?

Because I didn't (still don't) think some people want to hear the horror story that is the new normal for a bc person.  And I'm pretty sure that if I had been 100% honest with everyone, all the time, some people would probably stop asking about how I am. Maybe even go the other way when they see me coming... 

I think it's because it makes people sad, or fearful when they hear someone with bc not doing the whole Pink *Rah Rah, I'm a Warrior! I Fight Like A Girl! I kick cancer's ass!*  stuff and then they just think that you're not doing it right.  You're supposed to be wearing a pink tutu and boa and shouting "C'mon cancer! Bring it on! I got this!"  

Whatever.  I can't do that shit anymore.  Haven't been able to in awhile.  

And here's another reason why...Honestly, some people don't know me well enough for me to have even wanted to be all full disclosure with them. But I no longer "chirp" the pink party line.  Just can't do it. 

So if I do say "I'm SUPER! Thanks for asking!", I actually mean it. 
"Don't you think I look cute in this hat?"


Nancy's Point said...

Hi Kimberly, I think you're right, cancer or no cancer, some people ask how you are doing, but don't really want to hear or know the truth. When I think about it though, there probably aren't that many people I want to share the whole truth with anyway. And I do think as time passes, lots of us become bolder, more outspoken and less willing to 'chirp' the pink party. Great post.

LunaTechChick said...

I agree, that I think as I've gotten older, I've lost my "filter". I am now unfiltered. But yeah, only those v close to me ever knew exactly how I was at that time. Thanks so much for reading & commenting too :)

Claudia Schmidt said...

This is such a good post. I try to be honest about the roller coaster ride of emotions that race through me when someone asks me how I'm doing, but I think you're right. Most people don't want to hear the scary side of life after a diagnosis, with all it's uncertainties. Thank you for articulating it so wel, so personally, so honestly.

LunaTechChick said...

Awww, thanks so much Claudia...not sure why I felt like posting that...but I know that now, when I ask someone else how they are, I really do want to know. And people better brace themselves when they ask me, cause I'm gonna tell it like it is. Thankfully, lately, the answer really has been that I'm doing great! Thanks for reading & for your nice comments :)

Claudia Schmidt said...

Just saw the new posting, and I have to tell you - YOU HAVE FREAKING GORGEOUS HAIR! I'm jealous, there I've said it, even though I'm happy to even have any hair after losing mine to chemo 5 years ago, I still will acknowledge that your awesome hair evn still, generates "thick hair envy" in me :) You go girl, rock that hair. xoxo

LunaTechChick said...

Awwww, thanks so much Claudia!! Hair has always been my thing & I do try to take v good care of it. But thanks so much for your kind words. I prob should have gone to Cosmetology school to do hair since I've always loved it so much. And I just might yet! I'll be the oldest beauty school student in there lol! Thanks so much! xx