Tonight I went to a women’s church group. I like going to these because they are usually fun & they get me out of the house. One of the few times I get out of the house by myself. Not being able to drive kind of sucks & limits what I do.
Lately it has become near impossible to get through one of these evenings without having to answer some uncomfortable questions. I have come to the conclusion that people are really curious in general about death. They are also curious about how people deal with being told, “You have __ years before you will die from your disease.”
In the past I have been able to avoid these questions by turning the conversation around or jumping subjects. I have also been lucky to keep most of what I deal with under wraps so to speak. Not talking about it doesn’t work much anymore because of all the time I have spent in the hospital in recent months & people have actually found out that I have cancer.
It doesn’t bother me to talk about it. In fact anytime I can raise awareness about Carcinoid cancer the better. Being it is so rare I often have to go into great detail with people about what exactly it is & how it affects someone with it. It is fairly easy for me to talk about it because I can detach myself from it all & become the teacher. It’s easy to list facts & numbers.
Now where it gets tricky for me is those uncomfortable questions I mentioned earlier. Like I said the questions about the cancer itself are easy to answer, but when you get into the more personal questions is where I get tripped up.
I had someone ask me not just tonight, but I get this question A LOT… “How do you go on every day?” I always want to look at them & say… “REALLY?” Well let’s see, I get up out of bed everyday take my shower, take care of my kids, husband so on & so on… What do you think I do lie in bed & cry about it? I still have a family & husband to take care of. I still have a life to live. I just have a little obstacle (some days more than others) that gets in the way. I think about it, but I don’t obsess over it all the time.
- How do you handle knowing you are going to die in a few years?
It’s not like I am going to die tomorrow. I don’t dwell on it, if I did I would be a very unhappy person & no one would want to be around me.
- How do your kids handle this?
I dislike this question a lot. My almost 17 year old has full knowledge of what I am dealing with & frankly knows more than I would like her to know. When I was first diagnosed we took her out to a really nice dinner (she was 11 at the time) and we told her over dinner. We told her I had cancer & she asked if I was going to die. I told her not for quite a few years. She said ok and asked if she could have the shrimp. She doesn’t like it when people come over to help. She thinks its charity & she says she’s not a charity case. Other than that I think she handles it pretty well.
The one thing I dislike more than everything else is when people look at me and tell me they know what I am going through. Please don’t compare. If you suffer from an aliment which most of us do. That’s fine you are allowed to be sick to have a bad day/week/month. You are allowed to feel crummy & sick. I will not take that right from anyone, but please don’t tell me you know how I feel. Don’t tell me you know what I am going through. Unless what you have is going to kill you please don’t tell me such things.
People are curious by nature and I know that. I don’t mind answering questions from people I encourage it. For me it is the type of question. Questions like the examples I stated kind of put me in a weird place. I never know how to answer. I don’t want to come off sarcastic, but yet I don’t want to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself either. I am just living day by day the best way I know how. I still have a family to raise I still have a husband I need to be there for. I am going on like anyone would. I just have a shorter amount of time, in which get this life done right.