Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cancer Etiquette

Saturday was Scott's father's funeral. I was not able to attend, although I did make it to the cemetery for the burial. Because of this semi-social function, and others I've been lightly a part of the past few weeks, I thought a tutorial in cancer etiquette might be beneficial.

1. I am not cancer.
2. I am not contagious.
3. Ask if you can hug me - chances are I want/need a hug. Don't be offended if I won't hug you - I cannot afford to get sick.
4. If you tell me I'm in your prayers, please mean it.
5. Don't tell me how good/bad I look - I know.
6. I may not have hair, but I am totally aware of that. You can compliment me on my hats and scarves - don't ignore them.
7. Offer something - can I come visit, can we come visit, can we stop on our way home to say "hi"?
8. You can always talk to me - don't go around me to get answers that pertain to me. Ask me.
9. I am weepy, I am angry, I am pissy, I am grateful, I am tired.
10. I am lonely. I'm a school teacher who misses her students terribly. I am a chaplain who misses reaching out to others. My heart aches for interaction - please reach out to me.
11. An e-mail is always good - or a text, or a voice message. I'll read and listen, please don't expect a reply, although I'll do my best.
12. I may not have the energy for a long visit, but I may, and I'll let you know if I'm tired.
13. If you ask, be prepared for an answer.
14. Don't assume you know what's best for me - ask.
15. Scott's hurting too - my cancer has affected him; his dad recently died. What can you do for him?
16. Healthy food is good - remember I'm a vegetarian, but Scott loves poultry and fish (cookies, pears, brownies, granola, berries).
17. Mark Twain said he could live for days on a kind word - so can I, just be sincere.
18. I don't know my time-frame; I don't know how many more weeks, months, this will go on. Honestly, as I've mentioned, I'm living one day at a time.
19. If you ask if there's anything you can do for me, I may have an answer! Be prepared.
20. Don't say you're going to do something then not do it.
21. Share - just don't compare.
22. My life right now is cancer and work. I cannot plan much more than that. But spontaneity is fantastic - if I can't I will tell you.
23. I need intellectual stimulation! If you want to talk about people, don't. If you want to talk about ideas - do!
24. Storyteller Kevin Kling said, "You can't judge another man's pain."
25. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong - I need your help to stay strong - don't wallow in my misery with me, but don't discount it!

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