Monday, March 21, 2016

Sympathetic or Over Sensitive?

When you were diagnosed with cancer, didn't other people with cancer come crawling out of the woodwork? You met all these people to talk to about cancer and help you through your diagnosis and treatment.  You got diagnosed so you can talk to other people in cancerland. That is fine, actually pretty cool. Its actually nice to bond with people who are coping or have coped with the surgeries, chemo, radiation and all that other 'fun' stuff.

But then, if someone you know knows someone else who was diagnosed with cancer, do you feel like they rush to tell you about it? Or are they asking questions of you to help their friend? Or are you just being hypersensitive?

I remember when I was in college a couple of years after my thyroid cancer diagnosis, a guy I knew was diagnosed with cancer. He was brought to a party by a mutual friend who brought him over to me so we could talk. He had a late stage brain cancer, only lived a few months longer, and was in a wheelchair. It was actually great to get to know him better but a very sad conversation.

Afterwards I started thinking (which I should never do, I know) and almost felt like I was expected to talk to him because we both had cancer so therefore we must know each other and be friends. Even though our cancers were completely different on all levels.

Since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have been more open about my medical history and talk to people all over all the time about cancer and other medical issues. I am happy to talking as many people who want to talk to me about medical crap (all cancer is crap).

I had a nightmare dream last night that I met up with an old friend from college (who's brother was married to someone I went to high school with) who was going out for a big dinner an hour before his last hope surgery for lung cancer at a time when I was also hospitalized. In my dream, I felt very stressed about my old friend (who was a melange of a bunch of old friends) being so sick and running out of options when I was hospitalized only for a minor issue and went home the next day. (And who goes out for dinner before surgery?)

When I woke up I felt I had been very put upon my by high school friend and her husband because I had cancer I was supposed to be the 'caretaker' of the sick friend. Then I started thinking about it (I promise I will try to stop thinking as much):

- am I the good sympathetic resident of cancerland; or,
- am I becoming oversensitive to the 'friend of a friend of a friend who was just diagnosed with cancer'; or,
- am I becoming a cynic about all medical crap?

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