[cancer] Life’s problems, department of other people

I’ve said before, cancer is a social disease. It affects everyone around me in ways I cannot even begin to count. I keep running into this with my friends, family and loved ones. I’ve had people say to me, “Wow, I feel lousy with the flu — Oh, wait, you have cancer, never mind.”

To which my response is always, “And? My cancer doesn’t make your flu any less unpleasant.”

Flu, work issues, indigestion, divorce, health, life issues. Stuff happens to us. My life isn’t yours, yours isn’t mine, and whatever’s up with you isn’t any less important or troublesome just because I’m down inside the chemotherapy meat grinder.

It’s something I hang on to, for my sense of normal. That everyone else’s life goes on, good, bad and indifferent. My cancer doesn’t devalue your experience. Your experience enhances mine. It’s such a simple, difficult thing.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] Life’s problems, department of other people

  1. It is a simple, difficult thing – as usual, you’ve found the right words. I think sometimes people are afraid of somehow devaluing your experience by mentioning theirs, which in itself is silly, when looked at objectively. We’re a funny thing, we human types.

  2. Jan says:


    When I was diagnosed with cancer I really did not tell anyone outside of my immediate family. I am self employed so I did not dare tell my clients in fear that they might think I could not do the work as I had before. Sure after surgery it was a bit of a process but I didn’t receive complaints.

    You are right that well meaning folks don’t know how to deal with what you are going through. It’s not that they don’t want to tell you about their ‘cold’ or ‘sinus infection’, etc., it is simply they look at your battle and their battle is so small. You, as well, need to see it from their end as it is really just their heart felt concern going out to you. They don’t want to burden you and that equals caring – in a big way.

    So, accept their response as you want them to accept yours.

    I say this with great respect for what you are going through. Please know I am, and will continue to send you healing thoughts.


  3. Meran says:

    Thanks for the understanding Jay. I had a week of hard flu in Nov and have had complications since then. New doc today gave me scripts for severe chronic sinus infection (something I’ve never had problems with), one an antibiotic that my insurance company is fighting me on. It had worked it’s way down into my chest, causing bronchitis. That’s 3 months of this crap!!
    I’ll be working with Blue Cross tomorrow to get this settled… Then maybe I can be healthy again..
    As we get older, our healing rates change; flu kills many thousands each year.. It’s not a small thing (I was surprised by the stats!)
    I’ll be glad to be NOT one of those this year! (one of the reasons I changed docs).
    Your challenge is heavy, undisputedly. However, I think I’ve had more bedtime/downtime than what YOU’ve been reporting. Made me sad, mostly, but also happy for you that you could get some good times in during your trials. 🙂

Comments are closed.