We reluctant participants talk while sitting around during chemotherapy, waiting in lobbies, or cuing up to have blood drawn. We feel like rats in the same sinking ship, and talking is the one way we unite to survive. We compare types of cancer, methods of treatments, the severity of the side effects, and… the quality of the people in our lives who may or may not be standing side-by-side with us at the moment.
Clare is a repeat reluctant participant. 16 years ago she had an extremely rare form of eye cancer. Today she has legit breast cancer. Her husband was not present when we talked.
She approached the Sock Swag basket, started sorting through the Swag while inquiring about the reason and backstory regarding the socks. I gladly shared the information as she grabbed a couple of pairs of Swag. From there we launched into various parts of conversations between two reluctant participants. Eventually she mentioned her husband’s absence of support during such a trying time.
Upfront… I do not know the dynamics of any marriage but mine and my Wendy’s. So I take what I hear at face value when talking reluctant participants.
Clare describe her husband’s disposition regarding her current condition. In essence, he is denying the possibility cuz he has not seen anything that confirms that she has breast cancer. So… his denial inspires him to withhold support during Clare’s trying time. I could not help but think about such rationale.
I have seen more than enough people use some “medical issue” to get out of a situation… like, “I got a headache.” It is something that has to be taken at face value. Others have thrown a mental or emotional card on the table to avoid another person or group of people. Again I cannot prove you wrong, and you cannot prove yourself right. So we take things at face value. However… never in my years on the globe have I seen or heard any person throw the cancer card on the table as a means of avoiding something. Believe me… you are better off facing that person or situation than you are facing cancer!!!
Clare’s face immediately showed the pain of denial. She was alone… and lonely as she walked through an entirely different part of the cancer space with no one at her side. My Wendy and I felt alone at times, but we were never lonely. We seriously depend on each other to get through this mess. She’s been an amazing part of my recovery.
I guess my thing is this: I know people do not get along, especially in a marriage. I get it, buuuuuuut….
Isn’t it possible to suspend hostilities long enough to help a person get through a no-shit ugly time in her or his life?
Must you really SUCK that hard?
Unfortunately for some, the answer is, “Yes… I really must!”
Cancer is no respecter of persons or classes of people. You go in for an annual physical and are told a week later that you have Stage 4 cancer.
Cancer says, “Tag… you’re it! Sometimes that is how it happens… thanks for playing along!"
It is a significant mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical experience that is guaranteed to change your life. Please, when your “loved one” tells you about her or his cancer diagnosis… show some compassion, suspend the hostilities, and be a big enough person to make a difference in the life of a person who is about to struggle throughout the course of her or his treatment.
Is that really asking too much?
Don’t Suck So Hard!!!