After years of living in cancerland, I have learned our cancer friends become most important. Before cancer, you meet someone with a cancer diagnosis, and you can get stuck in this awkward pause thing.
Am I supposed to ask how they are doing? Or will they think I am prying? Do I mention cancer, or not? Do ask I when they are going to a hospice? Do I ask to bring them a casserole? You aren't really sure. And you really do not want to offend them, because, well, they have CANCER! And you cut them some slack if they aren't up for socializing.... is cancer catching?
Once you have a cancer diagnosis under your belt, you understand and realize that you probably won't say anything stupid, like all those other non-cancer people have said to you, like 'are you dying?' Or, 'do you know how long you have?'. You realize you can be yourself and crack stupid jokes about medical professionals and how other people don't understand your life.
Before cancer when you meet someone you might be a bit reticent because you don't really know them. But when both of you have cancer, you can start talking right away. You have a mutual topic of conversation. The first topic usually is how treatment is going or how the rest of your family doesn't get it.
Your cancer friends understand you like no one else. You can talk to them about those 'holy crap' moments at 3 AM (doesn't everyone wake up and think the cancer cooties have returned?) You can call them when you think something 'bad' is going on. And you call them first, when you get good news from your oncologist (who is your other best friend).
Slowly your cancer friends become some of your closest friends in your life. Once a cancer friend has 'held your hand' through another roller coaster ride, you are bonded for life. You will always reconnect to them, no matter how much time or how many miles have kept you apart. You are happy to get together with them at a drop of a hat.
While cancer may kill us, it creates a bond like no other with others who are going through the same thing.
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