Most people don’t know how to deal with someone who has cancer. I know it is not a matter of they don’t care, because I know they do. But it is a ton of info to process and empathize with that a person’s life has now been turned upside down. Even the concept of “life” is now a question.
When my brother Jeff was diagnosed with a Lymphoma, he constantly down-played everything and was very private about the details. And he seemed to be doing okay for many years, so it was rarely discussed, which was the way Jeff seemed to want it and I was glad to go along with.
When Nancy’s Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and later with a soft tissue tumor, we were aware of her treatments and the daily ups and downs of her condition. However, as much as I loved Ann and worried about her, I had my own life to keep living including my job and taking care of my family. I am kind of embarrassed to say that most times when we got into the details of Ann’s situation, I would become overwhelmed and tune everything out. I really did care about her, it was just very hard to handle her cancer and everything that went along with it and keeping all the balls up in the air with my own life.
While I understand all of the different forces that were at work, I did, and still do, feel guilty about how I dealt with Jeff and Ann’s cancers.
So I totally get it now that I am on the other side of the fence. I know that people really do care when they ask how am I doing. But now I also understand that they can only process a piece of what I am dealing with, not all of the details. But that’s okay. I get it. Been there, done that. So I am very grateful for any and all concern that my family and friends have for me.
And I thank God for my wife, Nancy, who has lived my daily struggles along side of me, while managing to hold her own life together.