Saturday, November 26, 2011

"I have cancer. How are you?"

Today was my first day out and about running errands since I was diagnosed.  I have been consumed by phone calls, doctor's appointments and emails this past week.  Not to mention trying to plan my entire 2 months of recovery, shop for Christmas, and prep mentally for surgery.  I had an extremely productive day today, which left me exhausted to the point that I had to ask someone to put my daughter to bed for me (thank you Brooke!).  My fatigue seems really bad as of late.  I'm thinking it's due to the fact that I really don't have much of an appetite.  I can go half the day before realizing that I haven't eaten anything.  This is very odd for me because I am a HUGE breakfast fan.  I am usually nauseous within an hour of waking up if I haven't eaten anything.  Not anymore.  I think my brain is trying to protect my bowels from the aggravation and discomfort of food passing through them by telling me that I am not hungry.  What a thoughtful brain I have!  But, I digress...

My "Cancer Brain" is still active.  I seem to walk into a room and forget why I am there.  I needed to read my shopping list 3 times before I actually understood what it said.  It took me so much longer than it should have to complete the simple act of buying groceries.  Mind you, I am eating differently so there were a few unfamiliar products that I had to investigate.  It's strange being out in the world when you have something big going on.  People continue on their day to day activities completely oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong with you.  I remember thinking this when I was recovering from my c-section.  I would go out, in pain, and people would be cutting me off and would just generally be their inconsiderate selves.  It drove me crazy!  I wanted to tell them everything that was wrong with me so that maybe they'd be a bit more considerate.  But we don't think that way when we're out and about.  We are focused on what we need to do.  We don't have the time to be thinking about the different situations that all these humans around us are experiencing.

Today, the checkout girls asked me their typical, "How are  you?".  Being the honest and forthright person that I am, I almost replied with, "I was diagnosed with cancer this week.  How are you?".  I don't mean it as an attention grabber or an attempt to gain sympathy.  They asked!  But, I stopped myself from replying that way because, really, who wants to hear it?  Most people don't expect an honest answer when they ask that question.  Especially people who are paid to say those words and get in trouble if they don't follow the 'script' (I know this from experience).  It kind of makes me sad that we are all wandering around out there, rubbing shoulders and interacting, but are so closed in by the walls we put up that we can't really have an honest relationship with each other.  It makes me value those people in my life with whom I can be truly honest and free.  The people who don't judge me for my craziness, or for my eccentricities.  The people who accept me, ego and all, despite all my failings.  It would be nice if we could be that way with everyone, but in reality, there simply isn't the time.

1 comment:

  1. Annette,

    Wow, it takes great courage and strength of character to share and write your experience. Standing O! I hope that the process helps to bring healing to you as well as many others through your testimony. You and your family are in our prayers.
    Love, Alayne