Sunday, January 11, 2009

On My Own Terms

I want to be a cancer survivor on my own terms, I'm realising. I suspect this is both reasonable and unreasonable (or at least ungrateful), but right now I'm not value-judging it. I'm just telling you what is.

I have friends who I have ongoing conversations with. We talked about stuff before, and we talk about stuff now, and sometimes the stuff is related to cancer, but that isn't all we talk about. I like that.

Here's what I don't like:

I don't like when people I don't really know, with whom I rarely converse, decide that now they know something about me, and they come up to me and get a pained look on their faces and say, "How are you feeling? Are you okay? Really? That's good, 'cause you look great."

Um . . . thanks?

I think a lot of these people are really well-meaning and genuinely concerned, and I feel for them in the awkward scenario of only knowing one thing about me to talk to me about. I mean, I've been in similar situations. (And I probably haven't been any more graceful in them.) But being on the receiving end of this tends to grate after a while. I want to say, at a slightly-louder-than-conversational decibel level, "Hey! Everybody! I am not my cancer! I have other aspects of my life and personality we could explore here! I don't even have cancer anymore, guys! They took it out!"

This, of course, ignores the facts that:

1. There is an upcoming treatment that is making me very, very nervous.

2. If these same people I don't really know started trying to probe into other aspects of my life, I'd probably resent that even more.

3. I am quite happy to talk about having had cancer if it excuses me from doing something I don't want to do.

I can't come up with a conclusion to this post which doesn't imply some sort of value judgment from either myself or you, so instead I will end with an all-purpose quote from the Milk Guy and say,

"There it is, then."


Barry Pike said...

Heh. I think I would like the Milk Guy.

And, even though we don't really converse, I will keep praying for you, too.

Jenn said...

Barry--not that I really know you, either, but yeah--I think you probably would.

And thanks.

Scott R. Davis said...

prayed that God would walk ahead of you through what you fear. May His presence guide your every step.

Peace and be well.