As I have said before, if you haven't walked the walk, you can't talk the talk. This is a pet peeve of mine.
Once you are diagnosed with cancer and thus had your life turned upside down and inside out at the same time, it takes time to return to a balance, that so called 'new normal' you hear about (but never really attain or understand). You may be the same but you aren't. You have new insights into life after going through those experiences. You have 'walked the walk' and are now a member of a new group - cancer people.
Cancer people are the ones who have been the perils of diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation, hope and despair. Its a group of people who never thought they would be in it but are doing okay now that they are there. They are happy they are still alive to participate. They have more emotional ups and downs than anyone else. No one else can understand what life is like for them.
There is another group of well meaning people out there who try to help cancer people but since they haven't 'walked the walk', they can't 'talk the talk' no matter how much they try. These include care givers, providers, and more. Unless an oncologist or oncological nurse has had cancer, they never quite get it. Unless a therapist has had cancer, they never quite get it. Never mind insurance companies who never get anything and just like the word 'no'. (But that's a different blog post.) Or drug development people who really do n't get it.
We cancer people accept their help but realize there may be holes in what they can provide. They do their best but it will never quite be all encompassing. However it is rare that a cancer person's life was not derailed enough so they want and are still able to provide support and care that would fill all the gaps.
As a cancer person, do you really want to open up to your career path and reveal your medical history and face the societal backlash (where people think you are too 'sick' to be a full employee) in order to fully fill the role of a cancer support person? (Again another blog post.)
When cancer people meet, the conversation tone subtly changes. Because we have 'walked the walk' and are now together.