Still me

rjjj
rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Good morning friends,
I am going to work today, for a few hours maybe 5. I used to work 12 hour shifts..all day on my feet and still come home and make supper etc. Now i feel 5 is enough and hubbie makes supper. I look forward to going to work but one thing has been bothering me. I live in a very small town and there is not much that is private. The community has been supportive and caring but always questioning. I feel like i have to tell my story at least 2 times per hour. I am so tired of answering the questions and telling the same story over and over. I just want people to talk of something else. Don't get me wrong i appreciate their concern. But i am more than the cancer. I miss the old conversations, laughter and even the gossip. I try to change the subject without being rude. any suggestions?

I know most people are well-meaning..but i really don't appreciate the ones who think i am doomed and tell the stories of all the ones they know who have fought and lost. I guess if you have not been where we have it is hard to understand. Could use some input from my sweet sisters. Thanks and God Bless,
Jackie

Comments

  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    And This Years Cancer Crown Winner is.......
    We feel your pain! Unfortunately you ARE the face of cancer right now in your small community. I promise it will pass; time and continued health, coupled with you doing things un-related to cancer will make who you seem to be fade, and either the old you ( or maybe a NEW you) will push to the forefront of your professional and personal life.

    I think it is a 2 or 3 fold thing with those on the outside ( The Muggles). They are, whether they admit it or not, doing a "there for the grace of God" thing, they are a bit afraid of you in case cancer just might be contagious after all, they perceive you as fragile, and they love you! Those who regale you with horror stories? I don't know what category to put them in! They rank right up there with telling first times moms about infant mortality rates and 45 hour labor pains with no epidurals and mean RNs who hollered "quit being a baby"!!!

    I think you might be able to say to those less than sensitive : Ya know I love you, but I am fresh out of treatment and putting cancer behind me..do you mind not telling me scary stories? and then change the subject! YOU might have to initiate how you laughed at Betty-Lou's gardening hat, or doesn't Julia Roberts look great for having 3 kids, and do you think she has a nanny? Or did anyone see that Good Morning America just had an expose on Acai berries~ they may be a scam in the weight-loss war...there is all sorts of non important stuff out there! Talk about it! Share RE's bathing suit busting Chocolate in a Mug recipe..if cancer comes up, let it be about US and how awesome we are...ppl getting engaged, for instance! LOL

    Let us know what you come up with, and just remember: Time heals all wounds, and also wounds all heels~ there's a place for everyone!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • Ltalcott
    Ltalcott Member Posts: 119
    too much attention
    I would hope that things will settle down fairly quickly. Think of a pat answer to give people--"I'm doing fine, getting stronger, but slowly" or some such, and then change the subject with a big smile. A joke, if you can come up with one, moves past things even faster. If you can make fun of the disease....

    You wouldn't want people not to ask, not to want to know. Sure, some are just nosy, but some care. I use to be very private, but after I was diagnosed, I told everyone I knew, and many that I didn't--seems like I wanted to work it into the conversation.

    You're right, you are not your disease.

    Lisa
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Ltalcott said:

    too much attention
    I would hope that things will settle down fairly quickly. Think of a pat answer to give people--"I'm doing fine, getting stronger, but slowly" or some such, and then change the subject with a big smile. A joke, if you can come up with one, moves past things even faster. If you can make fun of the disease....

    You wouldn't want people not to ask, not to want to know. Sure, some are just nosy, but some care. I use to be very private, but after I was diagnosed, I told everyone I knew, and many that I didn't--seems like I wanted to work it into the conversation.

    You're right, you are not your disease.

    Lisa

    Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Lisa~ you are right! I actually made myself the face of cancer, I wove it into any conversation I was in! I think I wanted to be pitied ( I admit that!) or seen as brave, or maybe it would excuse why I looked so tired! When I was not wanting to be the non-official spokesperson for cancer, I took that initiative. I am still active in cancer-related events, the Relay For Life, and the Revlon 5K for Women's Cancers in Los Angeles, but I am NOT cancer.

    By the way~ your picture is lovely, and your hair is Beautiful!!!!

    Thanks for the input!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    suggestion
    If you are tired of telling your story, isn't there a way to blog on this site? You could put updates there and just have them check that. They could read the main page you wrote too.
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    When others are too much
    Jackie,

    Yes, I totally get where you're coming from. People at my work behave in similar ways. They stand a few steps back from me and talk in loud whispers as though I'm going to pass out at any moment. They've also stopped including me in social conversations, as though I couldn't possibly be interested in anything other than cancer. I think in some ways people put you in a category when you're sick: Land of Sick People, or The Doomed. It's the most pervasive thing about you right now and it's hard to think of anything else. I think, in general, people don't know how to react. Would it be rude to talk about it? Rude not to? Some people handle this by not talking to you at all. Some talk, but seem to say all the wrong things (like those dolts who talk about people who've died). I have a friend that thinks if he sympathizes with me about the fatigue of chemo, he would be enabling my "laziness." I have friends who no longer call. In the end, I just want to be treated normally again. Jackie, I think that will come in time. In the meantime, it's good to think of a stock response like someone else suggested and then change the subject. They will get the picture.

    I'm glad you're at work again. Five hours is great.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Marcia527 said:

    suggestion
    If you are tired of telling your story, isn't there a way to blog on this site? You could put updates there and just have them check that. They could read the main page you wrote too.

    You are smart, Marcia!!!!
    There ya go---yes, there is a blog site here! Repeat after me: "thanks for asking, I appreciate that! I have a blog on the ACS website; you can follow how I am doing there. So, where do you want to go for lunch? Wasn't JoAnne's dress GORGEOUS? And, hey! You've lost weight, haven't you???"

    :-)

    Hugs, Claudia
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    Getting back into the Main Stream
    Hi Jackie

    I recently wrote a blog here about friendships and cancer, to be honest people certainly can be quirky when face with something that scares them and cancer scares us all.

    When you are faced with answering yet another "how is the cancer" question smile sweetly and say something like "you are so kind for asking I am truly fine now tell me how you are, how is your family, whats the latest gossip, you know I have been out of the loop for so long I need my friends to get me back into the swing of things". It's long but also derailing.

    Congrats on getting back to work and reclaiming a bit of your lost normal, 5 hours sounds much better than 12. When the clods begin to tell you the horror stories please tell them that you do not mean to be rude but hearing such sad stories is not really healthy for you and do so before they finish as they should really know better!

    Sending you my best,

    RE
  • Joycelouise
    Joycelouise Member Posts: 482
    All the ladies have good
    All the ladies have good suggestions for how to turn the tide of the conversation. When I used to get unkind, insensitive, or borish remarks, I used to smirk inwardly thinking of the great post to you all that I would write when I got home. When I had my twins, strangers used to ask me if I had inutero. I learned from dear Abby column to return a personal question that you don't feel like answering with, "Why do you want to know" Said sweetly, it has just the right message.
    The worse thing is when people you really want to be friends with don't get it. Sigh. Sigh. It helped me a little to get through such moments by thinking how I don't always know the right thing to say, either. But it just plain hurts. Sigh.
    But, hey, you've always got us! love, Joyce
  • tami90650
    tami90650 Member Posts: 82
    it gets better
    I have 2 years now cancer free and it does get better. Cancer will not be the main topic of all the conversation you have. But remember how you felt through this time. You may run into a lady totally bald and just want to go up and hug her and tell her shwe can do it. Or youll read on here a lady is where you were once at and shes scared and struggling and you will give her your phone number and be that listener others were for you. This experience one day you will see. is a blessing I promise
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member

    All the ladies have good
    All the ladies have good suggestions for how to turn the tide of the conversation. When I used to get unkind, insensitive, or borish remarks, I used to smirk inwardly thinking of the great post to you all that I would write when I got home. When I had my twins, strangers used to ask me if I had inutero. I learned from dear Abby column to return a personal question that you don't feel like answering with, "Why do you want to know" Said sweetly, it has just the right message.
    The worse thing is when people you really want to be friends with don't get it. Sigh. Sigh. It helped me a little to get through such moments by thinking how I don't always know the right thing to say, either. But it just plain hurts. Sigh.
    But, hey, you've always got us! love, Joyce

    I got you babe
    I do have all of you wonderful supporting sisters who get it. You know exactly what to say to make me feel better. I also know in my heart that you mean every word, and lived through the same nightmare so only give me the best advice always. You can always make me smile and sometimes laugh so hard i cry. What a bunch of intelligent, witty, funny, courageous and truly amazing friends and mentors i have here. You are my blessings!
    Thank you for being you,
    jackie
  • Ltalcott
    Ltalcott Member Posts: 119
    rjjj said:

    I got you babe
    I do have all of you wonderful supporting sisters who get it. You know exactly what to say to make me feel better. I also know in my heart that you mean every word, and lived through the same nightmare so only give me the best advice always. You can always make me smile and sometimes laugh so hard i cry. What a bunch of intelligent, witty, funny, courageous and truly amazing friends and mentors i have here. You are my blessings!
    Thank you for being you,
    jackie

    how did the day go
    Jackie,

    So how did work go? I work full-time, and don't know when I'll go back. How do you decide?

    Lisa
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    Ltalcott said:

    how did the day go
    Jackie,

    So how did work go? I work full-time, and don't know when I'll go back. How do you decide?

    Lisa

    Hi Lisa
    After my mastectomy I didn't go to work for a couple months. My co-workers were great and brought home-cooked meals, organized a day for me when they brought everything from gas-cards, restaurant cards, to cute hats and fuzzy pink robes. Many co-workers donated their sick time and vacation time to me. I was so touched and very blessed. I work as a CNA in a hospital so I when i couldn't lift ( i also developed lymphedemia) they told me i could do activities with our residents. We played it by ear not putting me on a schedule but allowing me to come and go as i pleased. I started just putting in 2-3 hours when i felt good. I realized when my days were that i felt good usually the last 10-12 days before the next treatment, and would put in some time. Lately I've felt pretty good except the first 4-6 days after treatment and have been doing more and more days, but 5 hours or so and i tire out.

    I have done 4 tx and have 2 left. My 5th will be April 1st. and then i will have just one more left. I won't be able to work when i get the 6 wks of radiation, since I will have to travel quite a long distance.

    I know i must sound like an un-appreciative ingrate, when I complain of having to answer their questions and listen to their stories of gloom. But these remarks usually don't come from the ones who have been so sweet all along. I guess you get to know who your friends really are at times like these. I have just been trying to avoid the negative ones who like to tell you their scary stories and watch you squirm. I will love those forever that have given me such encouragement..just as i love love love all our sweet sisters on this board. I really have been lucky to have this support and administration at work letting me choose when and how long i work.

    I think you will know when you feel like you can handle work again. Just don't let yourself get too run down or tired. Talk to your boss maybe they can also let you have a self-set schedule. Good luck and sorry i rambled on so long. Wishing you all the best.
    Jackie
  • redriverartist
    redriverartist Member Posts: 54
    tami90650 said:

    it gets better
    I have 2 years now cancer free and it does get better. Cancer will not be the main topic of all the conversation you have. But remember how you felt through this time. You may run into a lady totally bald and just want to go up and hug her and tell her shwe can do it. Or youll read on here a lady is where you were once at and shes scared and struggling and you will give her your phone number and be that listener others were for you. This experience one day you will see. is a blessing I promise

    Waiting....
    I'm just waiting for the dolt who asks "which one was it"? My answer will be "the middle one" with a very straight face. But for those who need me, I'll be there anytime. As my sisters and angels have been for me.

    I'm still the local starving artist, on the city beautification committee, make & wrap gift baskets for a local store and ask pointed questions at city council meetings. I just happen to have had breast cancer for a short time.

    Bless you all, Teresa