Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Once Burned, Twice Shy

When you tell someone you have cancer, you can rightfully expect anywhere in a range of emotions. Anywhere from, 'oh, that's too bad, my uncle died of it'; taking a step back 'I am late for an appointment''; or, the ever thoughtful, 'how long do you have?' Occasionally you get a nice person who recognizes that you have just been giving a life changing diagnosis and treats you normally and says something like 'can I help you at all?'

 After dealing with that for a few decades, you can understand I can be a bit reluctant to bring up new ailments, like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. But tentatively I have talked about it. I have had quite a range of responses. From a rather outspoken co-worker 'ow, that's a bad one'. From others at the gym 'and you are still here working out, that's great'. Or from friends 'when will it get better?'

In other words, I am pleasantly surprised at the positive responses. I think somewhere inside, I was expecting the people to react the same as they would to a cancer diagnosis. Because it was a big change in my life, similar to a cancer diagnosis.

With the long weekend I allowed myself some downtime where I could contemplate while knitting and watching the cat snore (that's the height of my multi-tasking abilities these days). This gave me time to think about the differences between the two words: cancer and rheumatoid.

Both are life altering. Both leave you changed forever. So why does one have to make people run away?

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