|Similar size to the bag-o-drugs|
I was prescribed on my vacation
So with all that said, today I am still quite under-the-weather and still feeling somewhat irritated with life, the universe and my battered immune system, which doesn't seem to be able to protect me as well as it used to from all of these little nasties. But enough with feeling sorry for myself ! Here's what I'm irked about today.
I had an email today from an old friend, whom I haven't seen in at least a few years, although we've traded the odd greeting over Facebook. So she sends me this email that basically says, "Hi. How are you feeling ? I keep up with your news via Paula (a mutual friend). Hope to hear from your soon. Love X."
There's a few things about the nature of this email that ticked me off, so strap yourselves in, here's my first real rant for 2011.
I just don't know how I'm supposed to answer this question. I mean what is it that you want to hear when you ask me that ? Do you really want a run-down of my entire medical file, or do you just want to hear me say "good, good" so you can feel okay about the rest of our conversation and we won't have to go THERE. Christopher Hitchens, columnist for Vanity Fair, deigns sometimes to simply answer "I seem to have cancer today". (See his article, Miss Manners And the Big C). I usually just turn it around, by asking the other person how they're feeling.
Someone in my family recently said to me that many people struggle with what to actually say to me as they don't know, and they're afraid of saying the wrong thing. The problem with this kind of an attitude, is that it usually translates into saying nothing to me at all, and that's not right. I've always tried to be open about what is going on with me, but I don't feel the need to open all my conversations by talking about my cancer. So why should you feel the need to either ? However, I can certainly understand if you have questions, so how about something like this?
"Hi. What have you been up to ? *talk for a good 5-minutes or so on any topic of your choosing* then feel free to throw in, "So how's your treatment going?" or "How's things with you these days?". You see by this time, you've indicated that you're really interested in hearing about what's going on with me on both the normal life-in-general front and the cancer-front. And if I'm in the mood to talk about the cancer-front, then I'll tell you and I'll be perfectly happy to answer any questions you might have. If I'm not in the mood to talk about it, I might say something like "Hey, do you mind if we don't talk about this right now, but I'd be happy to do it another time". And hopefully because you know me so well, you'll respect that, and we can just get on with it. The thing is, I don't hold the key to the all the rules of cancer etiquette just because I have it. But I am still a person with feelings, and I'm not a walking medical file or oddity and nor should this be the only thing that we have to talk about.
2. "I keep up with your news via our mutual friend". So why are you bothering to talk with me at all ?
3. "Hope to hear from you soon". So you send me a three-line email and now you are expecting me to send you a full accounting of what's going on with me without even bothering to tell me what's going on with you? I don't think so. Friendship is a two-way street. You get a bit about me, if I get a bit about you. Pretty simple, right ?
All I'm saying is just have a normal conversation with me. If you want to know about what's going on with the cancer, then just ask. But don't be offended if I decline to answer, or don't be shocked if you get more information than you bargained for. Most of all, just treat me normally. It's not required that you ask me how I'm feeling every time you talk to me.
Ask me how I'm feeling today though, and the answer is, "grumpy!"