This was written by my friend Kathy. Let me explain a little: Kathy and I have never met, yet we both feel closer to each other than you could ever imagine. When I found out what I was going to have to do to fight breast cancer, I was talking to my cousin-in-law Vicki, who said that she absolutely has to put me in touch with her friend Kathy, who was going through the same thing. And she was right. Kathy and I started talking like we have known each other all our lives. Maybe it is because we were going through exactly the same treatments – and Kathy was a week ahead of me. Discussing our situations, asking ourselves questions that only two people facing the same thing can ask, laughing through our chemo treatments…. I do believe that we are friends for life.
Kathy is a Canadian (oh yes – she does call herself Canadian Ninja and I do understand why) She lives in Dunedin, Florida with her husband Joe but her roots are in beautiful Haliburton, Ontario.
And just to give you an example of what makes us laugh when being injected with the poison that will save out lives: we collectively came up with a vision that we use when having to face the pain of injections:”Picture Johnny Depp wearing nothing but his pirate hat” Does it put a smile on your face? if sure does on ours…..
Here is what Kathy has to say about fighting cancer – please read and remember:
I’m NOT sick……..I just have Cancer!!
This is a statement that I have made numerous times since being diagnosed with breast cancer in December of last year ( 2012). To someone who is “ healthy” , I am sure that my statement sounds preposterous and crazy….or worse , that I may be in complete denial of my condition!!! Let me assure you that I know full well what my condition IS and how it is being treated.
Let me explain….. I do NOT feel “sick” and except for the fact that the chemotherapy drugs have made me lose my hair, if you met me, you would never know that there is anything wrong with me!! Everyone who DOES know me agrees!
When people insist on giving me help when I do not need or want it…..I start thinking that I am “ less than” or “sick” and since I am trying to stay in a positive mindset…..these things are counter productive. I will ask for help if I feel that I need it but please do NOT insist on “ helping” me when I haven’t asked for it! Having Cancer does not automatically make me incapable of doing things for myself and I cherish my independence. Please don’t take it away from me.
Hanna said a lot of what I would say in her blog on DoS and Donts…..but my other pet peeve is the entire hat/scarf issue. I have continued to work in retail throughout my chemotherapy treatments and you would not believe the stares and WORSE the comments I have received! If a woman is wearing a scarf that covers her entire head or a hat, most sensible people KNOW that there is some sort of medical condition that is responsible. DO take a look, but please DO NOT stare openly like I am some sort of freak of nature! Worse, please DO NOT make insensitive comments. I had a middle aged man YELL at me from at least 15 feet away, “ What’s with the do?” I am normally a very patient, kind person, however, he pushed the wrong buttons that day…. I actually yelled back, “ Chemotherapy!” if you really want to know, come up and ask me quietly and with some sensitivity and I will most likely tell you. I don’t understand the stares OR the comments as I would never do either another person, even before I had cancer!
To me, the most important thing is DO treat me like you always did……cause I am still exactly the same person that I was 2 ½ months ago….I just have cancer….it doesn’t make me a different person. Lets go out for dinner, meet for coffee, go shopping, just like we always did! If I am having a bad day, I will suggest a different day, that’s all. I have been fortunate that my side effects have been minimal so far…so I have very few bad days.
I know it’s difficult for the people around me to know what to do or say, I have lots of people who really care and are very supportive, but the best thing to do is TALK to me. I will tell you, believe me! Ha! Ha! If you want to know something, just ask. I will be happy to answer your questions
I will win my battle, I am POSITIVE of that! The best thing that you can do to help, is to be POSITIVE WITH ME.