So, you thought you were done? Part 2

If you have not read the comments written in reply to my last post, please do.  They were right on target and really got me thinking more about this issue.  I have been reflecting on why it’s so hard to really share true feelings when they are, indeed, not cheery ones.  This recently hit hard when I was with a group of survivors.  Two new women asked me about the support group I attend.  One told me that she found it hardest to really talk to the two people closest to her.  Although this did not surprise me, I must admit hearing it so plainly blew me away.   Think about that statement.  Does it also hit you hard, too??

I think this issue applies to any person going through a serious, traumatic event.  So, I’m hoping this post is reaching those, too.  (Send it on, please).   That’s why we have coined popular phrases like “he’s in a better place.”  Think of all the times you’ve acted as if everything is going great mainly because you know that’s what the person asking wants to hear.  Why do we do that??  Are we afraid they will not be there if we are honest?  Is it embarrassing and uncomfortable?  Are you worried that they may not understand?  Now, change roles…why do we put on the cheerful face when others try to express their true feelings?  Have you ever dismissed a concern?  I am certainly guilty here.  Ever heard anyone say they couldn’t remember things anymore or complain about something and you responded that you forget all the time, etc?

Or, maybe, as a cancer survivor, you feel guilty complaining because you are ALIVE and you have known so many others that deserve to be and are not.  Just telling it like it is…

And, just in case you wanted to know….I am tired of feeling tired, of my legs hurting, these darn GI problems and feeling a little blue lately 🙂

13 Comments

  1. Nicole W.

    I remember when I asked a friend of mine how he was doing in passing (I hadn’t seen him in awhile) and he stopped and said, “My mother is at home dying of cancer.” It stopped me in my tracks but it was the most honest answer I’d ever had to that question that is usually answered with the knee jerk, “Fine.” I skipped class and we had a long talk. I don’t know if I helped him at all but he allowed me the chance by answering that question honestly.

    Like

    • Hi Nicole W.,

      You did an amazing thing. This is why people need to be honest. That person may have been hurting and you reached out when he needed it most. Even if you never see that person again, I can almost guarantee you that he will never forget you.

      Very wonderful thing you did indeed.

      Best,

      Sunny

      Like

  2. I spent a long time being angry, frustrated, and annoyed at the platitudes I’d hear during my mother’s illness and after she passed. I truly found out who my “real” friends were – not because they were or weren’t there for me, but because they just let me “feel”.

    People don’t want to feel ‘negative’ emotions; they don’t want to be sad, hurt, or reminded of their own pain; they want to hear something, take it in, and quickly move on. Unfortunately, our plights with cancer are much bigger than that and much bigger than anyone can ever believe. The truth is that life isn’t pretty and pain is inevitable – and it’s okay to feel it…to let yourself bask in the pain for a while, to wallow and hurt and scream…no matter how long it takes…it’s all okay.

    The fears arise from the myth that being sad will turn into a snowball of depression, etc. Those who are now closest to me truly ‘got’ that no, it’s not always like that, and if it is, so be it – you’ll get through.

    It’s easier to put on that ‘cheerful face’ because we don’t want to deal with it. Now that I’ve experienced true heartbreak, pain, and loss, I know better – I think all of us reading this do now. The only way people will ever ‘get it’ is to go through it . Of course, I’m not wishing that they or their loved one(s) get cancer, but you see what I’m saying.

    A truly empathetic person is a rare find, but they exist. That’s why I totally get not being able to vent to your friends – not everyone has that special ability to just listen…we all are saddled with the precious ability to help and be spurred to action; what many people need to realize is that allowing someone to be sad and weep is the most important action you can perform.

    Best,

    Sunny and Take Back Teal

    Like

  3. Willamina Sugg

    Well, Patsy, if you want to know. I’m tired of waking up feeling stiff and don’t want to move. I took a break from my meds (Aromasin) and it was amazing how good I felt….like my ole self. But if Aromasin, and all the others I’ve tried, keeps the cancer at bay, I will take it and be grateful. So, if you haven’t been there and you ask…..I’m fine. Thankful to be cancer free.

    Like

    • Just thinking of you today. Good to hear from you!

      Like

      • Willamina Sugg

        I saw “I’m still breathing” blog on your page. It took me 3 days to read about her from the beginning. WOW…..she’s been through soooo much. I would like to know more about your journey. What I know is what you told me at KG’s tribrute. Have you documented it?

        Like

      • You can read about it at my caringbridge site that I started about a year after my diagnosis. I no longer update it. Just go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/patsyhinson. If you think it would be helpful, I’ll be glad to write about it more here, too.

        Like

  4. Becky a.

    I was just talking about this very topic yesterday. I agree with so many above comments…..I’ve been guilty of all. I feel that my family is tired/afraid to keep listening to me talk “about my cancer.” Some days I’m sick of listening to myself too.

    Like

  5. Sally

    I find it difficult to talk to my family (husband and two teenage kids). My cancer is part of my daily life in some way or another but not theirs. Talking with fellow cancer survivors often transcends alot of that and I’ve felt guilty about being able to share thoughts and fears with those who have shared the experience and not the man I love. I’ve moved past initially wanting them in “my world” and involved with my cancer. Their world is the better one and I need to allow myself to float into theirs more often. Sometimes it feels like parallel lives. We find support where we need it and I’m definitely grateful for the variety of friends and family to support me in the various ways needed. In two weeks I’ll celebrate my 2 year ovarian cancer-free anniversary!

    Like

    • Wow! I needed to hear your sentence “Their world is the better one and I need to allow myself to float into theirs more often.” Thank you for this powerful reminder.

      Like

  6. Darelyn Daniels

    I too, find it difficult to discuss my cancer with my family. I don’t like to complain.My husband and daughter worry enough. I don’t want to cause additional concern. I’m most tired in the evening,after a long day. I become clumsy, and my body aches. My body aches all day,every day. It’s just worse in the evening. I get tired of hurting,but put on an act of “I’m okay”,to keep the family from worrying. I get tired of hearing,”You’re so brave!” I’m not brave! I’m only doing what I must, to survive. I try not to be afraid.But,sometimes it is hard not to feel a little frightened. I don’t know what emergency room visit is around the corner. Will it be a temperature of over 100.5 again? Possibly fluid on the stomach or lung once more,that will need to be drained? I’ve battled this monster four times! I’ll keep on fighting,because I don’t give up easily. I want to celebrate a cancer free birthday. A long cancer free birthday. I wish that for all of us!

    Like

    • My wish is that you many very long cancer free birthdays.

      Like

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