I’ve always been a stoic person -- dealing with pain or hardship and trying really hard to not show it to others (except Matt, my spouse, of course; he has to endure my bitching and complaining). I always figured everyone had problems: making a fuss about mine isn’t going to make mine better and sure is going to make things harder for everyone else.
When I had surgery for my heart defect (January 2015) I didn’t make a big deal about it. I told few people, was in and out of the hospital lickety-split, went back to work 13 days after I got out of the hospital and basically returned to the life I had before.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2015 (obviously, not a good year for me) I did the same thing: told only those who needed to know, started the chemo and endured the side effects with little complaint. When I go out to see people I do everything in my power to put on a happy face. There are whole groups of people who interact with me who don’t know I have cancer because I’m always so upbeat and optimistic. But cancer and chemo are exhausting; and, while things are better now (reduced chemo, etc.), it’s still a challenge.
I think because I present my “can do” attitude, they think my cancer is not bothering me. I was discussing this very issue with Matt just a few days ago. I think people are expecting more from me because they think “His cancer isn’t bothering him, so he can do this.” Well, it is bothering me and, increasingly, I can’t do it.
Now, of course, when I have to turn down things -- like lunch dates, extra work assignments, etc., which is bad enough -- I also have to explain that my cancer and chemo are the reasons why. I can just imagine people thinking “He’s lying. He’s always been fine with his cancer and chemo. It’s just an excuse.”
I’m not sure what to do: I don’t want to have to explain everything to everyone, I don’t want pity, and I don’t want people to stop inviting me to lunch because they’re afraid of exhausting me. I guess the best I can hope for is an understanding that I have good days and I have bad days. I like to laugh and carry on like everyone else and I certainly don’t want to be defined by my cancer.
20 August 2016
03 August 2016
02 August 2016
My incredibly talented spouse, Matt, just started a big sale of his original silk-screen prints in his Etsy store! The prints are of famous children's-book characters silk-screened onto pages of their own stories! He takes old and damaged books, puts the pages on Bristol board and then adds several layers of silk screened images to them. It's recycling at its best! He's got lots to choose from, including Nancy Drew, Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz), Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes, and even some dog and cat prints! Remember, the winter holidays are right around the corner. It's never too early to start buying presents! Just go to his LitKids store, before the end of September, and enter the checkout code DOGDAYS. You'll get $5.00 off your purchase of $20.00 or more. Shop now!