There are so many things you should and shouldn’t do when you’ve got blood cancer. While i’ll save that diatribe for another post, right now I wanted to touch on some things which frustrate me as I go through this ‘experience’. (Let’s not call it a journey folks, unless you’re comparing my journey to a trip along the death road in Peru).
How are you? Really, in yourself, how are you? : I mean, what the heck – i’m all about being positive and uplifting in mindset – but asking me how my inner self really is ? I just said “I’m fine, great actually” . This means “None of your damn business, stop asking” . My number one pet peeve. Do you expect me to be some enlightened saggy titted yogi squatting over a tatami mat and being all worldly? Yes? Well think again.
“Oh I really want to do something but I just don’t know how to act around you” – what you WISH your friends would say to you instead of being awkward. PLEASE say this so I can give you some direction on how you can help me.
Touching me on the shoulder softly, almost like you’re terrified of hurting me, looking forlornly into my eyes and then opening your mouth to sigh sympathetically . This is what I call – The Cancer Death Touch – It implies that you’re not only worried about physically hurting the person by touching them, but that you might “catch something”. It’s the kind of touch the grim reaper gives when he’s tagged you as next. It’s creepy when you touch us like this, please, don’t do it.
Sending links to unscientific sites that cite ‘cancer cures’ and ‘X/Y/Z GIVES YOU #ALLOFTHECANCER ZOMG’. Especially if that site has links to American TV Doctors like that fuckwit ‘Dr Oz’. Yeah of course it’s true if you read it on the internet – but spare a thought for your friend going through chemotherapy treatment. They’re probably shit scared, terrified of whether it’s working, they don’t need to be force fed bullshit about coconut oil or oregano carvacols curing their tumour growth. I’m fortunate in that I have a scientific mind and have spent many many many hours pouring over research, comparing & contrasting the pros/cons/benefits & risks of using Chemotherapy to try and (hopefully) cure my blood cancer. I opted to do it because the stats say there’s hope. Drinking kale and Acerola may make me ‘feel’ better, and my wallet lighter – but it’s not going to stop my bone marrow producing abnormal Paraproteins which are trying to kill me. So, I say this with the utmost scientific authority : SHUT UP.
Telling us to take it easy and rest up: Yes, this is great advice, and I do this every day when I sleep, in fact sometimes I have a nap during the day, especially if i’ve been at the gym or for a long walk fighting people in the supermarkets. You mean well, I get this, but cancer patients are already told what to do 90% of their awake time, don’t be an asshole by adding to it.
“My thoughts & Prayers are with you” – First of all, thoughts and prayers don’t treat disease, they don’t pay bills, they don’t help your friend out when they’re having a particularly debilitating day where they have barely enough energy to get up and shower, let alone cook a meal. It’s all so easy in this ‘like and share’ social media influenced world to drop a token ‘thoughts & prayers’ in someones day – how about helping? Can’t help physically? Offer to raise funds – or drop a few hundred in their bank account so they can eat next week. Bills don’t stop while you go through cancer treatment.
The list of no-no’s could go on and on and on, and sure this reads a little angry and ranty, but don’t confuse real talk with steroid induced anger.
Spare a moment for the person in your life that is enduring this, they may not let on exactly how much it’s affecting them, because they want to appear brave and that they can handle it. I can categorically tell you – I AM SHIT SCARED about the next stages of my treatment. Why? Well, because they may very well kill me. And i’m way too young and pretty to be leaving this planet just yet.
Next up on The Healthy Wog: Exercising while undergoing chemo treatment for Blood Cancers. What’s worked for me, what hasn’t.