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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Does Anybody Know How The Story Really Goes...

March 2017

So, thanks to several of my blogger friends, I came across this raw, honest and powerful post... Reminded me a bit of what I was thinking when I posted the following blog post in November 2014. And since I still can't seem to bring myself to write fresh words, just another re-share...I hope to write something soon, and it will probably have nothing to do with cancer. 

I think I think so...  

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?"


Sandra Davis said...

I love you my beautiful, strong, talented and totally unique daughter!


LunaTechChick said...

Love you too, Mom <3

Anonymous said...

Olé, Kimberly! Evelyn from Madrid again here!:-)

I feel things the same way; I sometimes wonder if this uncertainty, this doubt and shade of fear will keep gnawing at the minds and hearts of all women who have had bc forever?....I don't allow myself to brood over it for too long or too often, but still, every few days I can't help myself from checking in google the usual stuff, you know....statistics, articles about long-term outcomes per type / stage / treatment response etc....My onc laughs at me about this, he says that I know about the bc more than some colleagues of his hahaha...During the last check up, I mentioned to him something I had read in an article about a study on the long-term outcome during a follow-up of 24 years, and he said "Why don't you just read a thriller or a magazine instead of all these articles?". It was a joke, of course, but I felt like answering: "I would give a lot to just be able to read thrillers and never feel the urge to look up at a medical article in my life again"...

Is this fear/uncertainty feeling getting weaker with the years?

One thing I have noticed in me since the bc diagnosis is that I am over-sensitive about people asking me how I am. I don't like it, because it is impossible to take in in the light casual way of before bc, even though I am aware that most people do not mean anything particular when they say "How are you doing?"...Always a brief suspicion crosses my mind that they do not say it in the sense of "hello", but in the sense of "how are you doing regarding what you had? Are you all right?"...and this brings back the thought that there is a new normal and things will never be the same as they were before. But this is how it works now, and that's all to it!

...Yes, yo DO look cute with the hat!:-) Beautiful in a gothic-rococoish way:-))



LunaTechChick said...

Hey hey Evelyn! I used to show up to every onc appointment armed with printouts from this article & that....And have since stopped doing that. Yes, as the years progress, "the fear" takes more & more of a back seat, until I get an ache or a pain or anything unusual or weird. Or have to show up to a mammogram.... But I don't believe it's ever going to completely vanish. But, everyone's cancer is different, so Dr Google is really no help in my opinion. All doing that ever did for me was scare the bejeezus outta me.

And, as the years progress, people won't ask you "how are you" in regards to cancer....people won't talk about cancer with you at all most times. After the second year, for me, it just doesn't come up much anymore....

Thanks for the compliment! You're sweet! Thanks so much for reading & chatting with me =)