Cancer, we’re through.

Having cancer is a bit like a bad relationship.  You don’t want to talk about it, but it can rule your life and limit your options.  Even when you’re out and about, it’s there with you, trying to drag you down.  There’s a shame attached, which is a little ridiculous, because, get this, it’s not your fault.   Here’s the thing, though.  As I tweeted this morning:

I’m tired of covering up for cancer. From now on, if I can’t make a meeting because I have a scan, a test, or a follow-up, I’m saying why.

Will this make my colleagues uncomfortable?  Perhaps.  I’m sorry about that.  I truly am.  But making up excuses just makes me look like a flake.  And if I don’t say anything, you’ll assume it’s cause I have to stay home and take care of my kids.  I love my kids.  I love to take care of them. But this?  Is not their fault.  It’s not anyone’s fault, really.  Cancer just happens.

It happened to me.

It continues to happen to me.

Every time I think I’m over it, it comes back and beats me up a little more.

I don’t mean to be in your face about it.  I don’t.  It’s a bit like pushing wigs on chemo patients, however.  I am tired of covering up my fight in order to avoid making anyone else uncomfortable.

Cancer should make people uncomfortable.  Cancer should make people mad.  Cancer should make us take action.

Cross posted on Mothers With Cancer.

21 Responses to Cancer, we’re through.

  1. Susan K says:

    I think you are spending far too much time worrying about what other people think! Who says it makes them uncomfortable? OK, sure, maybe a few people squirmed when they saw you for the first time without hair. But cancer is a fact of life. And if you go through life avoiding the conversations, you’ll end up missing the exchanges like you had with Beth when she asked about your necklace… I thought that was a great exchange. Was I wrong?

    So please, blame your absences on the appointments. And don’t feel bad about it and don’t worry about it. It is honest and, regrettably, is what is happening now in your life. People can just deal.

  2. Kit Harland says:

    I found your blog on Just a Beach Kat.
    Take care of yourself and do what is best for YOU right now…
    You are in my thoughts and prayers,
    Kit

  3. NoRegrets says:

    OK, good. It’s part of what I do with my mental illness too… get it out there.
    But crap (reading your twitter thing) every day??? wow… what a pain.

  4. Kate says:

    Askmoxie.com has a topic today that I think could use your help and input. I did not want to directly link to your how to help a friend section without your permission.

    Thanks

    PS You are right-cancer does make people uncomfortable. It makes them wonder about your future and their own. But, uncomfortable is not really a bad thing. So yes, make people think about it!

  5. Linda says:

    The idea of covering up for cancer almost sounds like having an abusive husband and saying, “Oh, this bruise? I fell down the steps.” The situation sucks but is absolutely not your fault, and the more you speak your truth, the more support is there for you and others with cancer.

    Maybe your updates will get someone motivated to do a self-exam, get a mammogram, or give time and/or money to the cause.

    Seems like a plan!

    Hugs from a (usual) lurker —

  6. whymommy says:

    Kate, take it. Link away. I’m perfectly happy for any of you (actual readers, not spambots!) to use anything I’ve written; just link back to my site with a note that I wrote it, ‘k?

    Thanks for the votes of confidence….

  7. tori says:

    Yes! I absolutely agree.

  8. mumma boo says:

    Speak up, be honest. It’s the only way people will know just how hard a battle you’re fighting. Don’t worry about what others think – that’s their issue, not yours. Take care of yourself and your family – that’s what matters. But I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I? You already know that. 🙂 Take care, whymommy. We’re praying for you.

  9. This is truth, cancer makes people dreadfully uncomfortable. Doesn’t mean they are bad people or even bad friends but yes, it does, like many other things outside of our/their control, make them question their own lives to a point that it’s easier to ‘pretend’ it isn’t an issue, even if that makes them behave badly/not in the most understanding way.

    Sigh. I could totally hi-jack your comments about this but I need to suck it up and get back to posting on my own blog because I too have been ‘hiding’, intentionally or not because it makes people so squirmy.

    Hugs. You’re the best. Thanks.

  10. Nicole says:

    🙂 Everybody deals with cancer in their own way. Me? I told pretty much everybody who would listen. There was no cancer closet for me. But then, I didn’t have the pressures of the workplace to deal with. 🙂 It is sweet of you to worry about making your co workers uncomfortable, but that’s really not your job. That’s their issue. So I agree, let them in on your reality. 🙂

  11. I really like this post. You are one amazingly brave lady.

  12. strugi says:

    Thanks

    Kate

  13. Brmom says:

    I say, especially here on your own blog! — let it rip! That’s what this page should be for, along with the incredible page it has been for knowledge and information – but what you really started this page for was a journal of sorts, right? Long before cancer, a sounding voice, letting it all out whether it was talking about being a mom, being pregnant, and then cancer, whatever life entailed – this is a place for you to be as honest as you’d like to be. I hope it helps a little knowing somewhere, somehow out there many of us are listening and you can say whatever you want here.

    I admire you and I think you are entitled to tell people whatever you wish. They can deal with how they feel about it, but most importantly, on your end you need to say whatever makes you feel the best.

    Sorry for the rambling . . writing = not my strongest talent (obviously)!

  14. I agree that cancer SHOULD make people uncomfortable… and angry. But, it should not make us uncomfortable to the point of not being able to respond in a supportive, empathetic way.

    You should continue to tell the true story of your journey, to whomever you feel you want to. Don’t “cover it up”.

    You are not making excuses. You are showing the world what an incredibly strong Survivor looks like.

    And you are giving the rest of the world an opportunity to respond with support. By doing so, you are also educating people to become more aware.

    Bless you– love, as always, CGF xoxo

  15. Susan, I wrote you a few months back for a dietician recommendation for my dad before his chemo. His finished his treatment this week and is doing ok.
    Unfortunately during that time my mom has been diagnosed w/advanced cancer. She was so worried about my dad that she ignored all her own symptoms. She’s having surgery on Tuesday and my dad’s immune system is too compromised for him to go with her.

    Cancer is an evil that definitely makes people uncomfortable, including myself. I haven’t told many of my friends because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable. My mom doesn’t want people to know b/c it makes her uncomfortable. i am so angry right now that I don’t even have a point to this comment!

    thank you again for sharing your story. and for being strong enough for those of us who are not.

  16. You ARE one brave lady! And you are exactly right. And you being willing to not make excuses for cancer and to make people uncomfortable makes it that much easier for others who come behind you.

  17. Amen!
    I cannot stand when people are uncomfortable with others’ illnesses and cancer.

    xo

  18. Anne says:

    Don’t hide it. The days when people called cancer “the big C” are past!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Amen! I’ve gone through a big shift on this. At first, I only told people I saw in person (unless I knew they were cancer survivors themselves) because I wasn’t comfortable with the assumptions people made about me – that I was debilitated and bedridden, which I wasn’t. Then again, 90% of the people I work with, I only see once a year. Now that I’m done with active treatment, I’m more open about it.

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