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please stop telling me I’m ‘fine’
Jackwb
422 Posts

From today's Globe and Mail

Let me say for the record that I’m glad I’m not dead. Really glad. I’ve avoided the worst-case cancer outcome, knock on wood, but dodging that bullet doesn’t mean I’m fine now. Cancer patients never really get back to their precancer selves. They know they have to accept the “new normal,” but accepting it doesn’t mean it’s fine.

My hair has grown back; I’m no longer weak and feverish. I look my old self, but that’s an illusion. I’m aware of the changes to my body and the ever-present cancer reminders, even though they’re not apparent to others. Some changes are small, for instance, my taste buds went haywire during chemotherapy. Now, I can no longer stomach several things that I used to enjoy: coffee, mac ‘n’ cheese, banana bread, popcorn and chocolate ice cream. Sometimes just smelling these things makes me retch. Dang, why couldn’t I have developed an aversion to liverwurst and kombucha? I could live without those.

But chemotherapy didn’t just mess with my taste buds, it also caused neuropathy – a loss of feeling – in the toes of my right foot. The neuropathy began five years ago, and the doctor says that if feeling hasn’t returned by now, it’s unlikely it ever will.

Can I live with numbness and can I forfeit a few favourite foods? Of course I can, but that’s the easy stuff. I had six cancer-related surgeries and I now have 61 linear inches of surgical-incision scars. My body looks like a road map. Slicing and dicing my body that much left me with an abundance of tight, knotted scar tissue that causes discomfort, no matter how much massaging I do or how much lotion I use. Does this completely sideline me? Heck no, but it’s annoying.

But wait, there’s more! As a result of breast cancer, I developed lymphedema – swelling caused by a buildup of fluid – in my left arm. At its worst, my left arm was 62 per cent thicker than my right arm; most of the time it’s around 50 per cent thicker.

The swelling happens anywhere from my fingertips to my shoulder and the feelings range from a dull throbbing to tingling and burning, to feeling like the skin is about to violently rip open. I regularly do exercises, wear compression sleeves and see a physiotherapist to manage the condition. I’ve learned to live with it, but it’s definitely not fine.

I’ve chatted at length with other cancer patients about the “you” that emerges once the worst of cancer treatment is finished. Every patient I spoke with said she wanted to scream when a well-intentioned person smiled and said: “You’re fine now!”

My friend and fellow cancer patient Kimberly was born in Toronto but grew up in Europe. All of her family is overseas. She would love to go and visit them but she can’t, even before COVID-19. Kimberly developed heart problems as a byproduct of her cancer treatment and her doctors will not allow her to fly. Yet, friends high-five her and say: “You’re fine now!” Kimberly just offers a Mona Lisa smile and says nothing.

Stacia was diagnosed with cancer about a year after I was and a mutual friend introduced us. Stacia is quick to make a wisecrack and she can get people laughing in a heartbeat. But behind the laughter is anger and frustration. The daily cancer meds, which she must take for five years, cause headaches, nausea and diarrhea. She can’t remember what it’s like to have a physically good day. She now ranks days in terms of “awful,” “less awful” or “really awful.” But with her frizzy blond hair grown-in and her weight back to normal, friends look at her and cheer: “You’re fine now!” She doesn’t even bother trying to explain how she really feels. She thinks that now that she’s out of the danger zone, she has no right to complain. So, the anger and frustration remain bottled up.

Denise and I met in a cancer support group. She had just started a new job and a new relationship when she was diagnosed with cancer, a few months before I met her. She jumped through all the cancer hoops: chemotherapy, medications and surgeries, including a bone marrow transplant. The last time I saw Denise, her green eyes had a sparkle; she was finally excited about her future. Denise had just returned to work, plus she and her partner were planning a trip to Spain later that year. On her first day back on the job, a colleague beamed and said: “Wow! You look normal!” Denise died eight weeks later. She was in her early 30s.

I met Jacqueline during treatment – I’ll forever associate her with the generic beige recliners in the Sit & Drip area of the chemotherapy ward. Jacqueline is a woman many others would envy – at least until they hear the word cancer. She has brains, money, looks, talent, a gorgeous house in Leslieville and a handsome, supportive husband. But chemotherapy and long-term meds have killed her sex drive. “We go to bed each night and I think: Just let me read my book,” she told me. She confided that she and her husband haven’t had sex in over three years. Jacqueline scoffs when she hears the words “you’re fine.” “After all this time, I’m still not okay,” she says. “I resent the hell out of cancer.”

And then there’s Chloe, whom I met at a party. Chloe is bubbly and buxom, with a smile that lights up the room. But by the time she was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread to her bones. She takes a cocktail of meds and chemotherapy to try to stop the cancer from spreading even further, but Chloe knows she’s living on borrowed time. Her energy levels are really low and she finds that she has to be parsimonious with her time in the way cheapskates are with their money. Housework, especially laundry, is at the bottom of her priority list. Once a week, Chloe goes to her guitar lesson. Music lifts her spirits and playing makes her happy, even though she’d be the first to admit she’s not very good. Chloe’s friends hear that she’s still learning guitar and they rejoice. She must be fine now, they reason, otherwise why would she continue with the lessons? Chloe shrugs her shoulders and wonders: “Don’t they realize what metastasized means?”

Besides the physical cancer reminders, for all of us, there is also anxiety and fear. Each MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, mammogram, X-ray and blood test has the potential to deliver devastating news. There’s angst and sleepless nights leading up to doctors’ appointments. Hearing that the test results are normal, that the scan came back clean and clear allows the cancer patient to exhale. She’s okay for now, the bad news didn’t come, which is fabulous, but she’s still not quite fine.

34 Replies
shadowkins
20 Posts

OMG, this really hit home…my type cancer of cancer is different and I did not have chemo ( thank goodness…not yet anyway ) but radiation isn't mmuch better.

“The new normal ”, is what they say ànd yes I may look a little more likethe old me, but cancer follows me everywhere now, 😟

L will keep a cooy of this item and pull it out when someone says " you're back to normal now, just put it behind you and move on…. yeah right!

The non-cancer people just don't get it.

I consider myself lucky as I could have had far more side effects either during or after. A “new” me is here now.

That pre-cancer person is not here anymore and don't think she'll be back. Part's of the original are but not all. Yes, thankful that I am still here but “Cancer Sucks”.

Dakley
23 Posts

This has hit home on so many fronts. I too have the same issues now that my hair is slowly growing back, I can eat almost everything & sound upbeat those around me say she looks fine, she’s good, what does that mean, good? Even though I try to explain life is no longer the same it is clear going down that dark road isn’t what they want to hear. I am so thankful for this community to be able to relate, it has so helped.

Whitelilies
2272 Posts

@Jackwb Hello Jack…thank you for posting this from the Globe and Mail……I too, can relate on all fronts……it just “hit home/hit my core/hit my soul”….

I am going to send the article-Link to many other folks, including my Oncologist's office…..makes for Good Reading.

Regards

Whitelilies

Jackwb
422 Posts

@Whitelilies best to send them the link from here or the text…The Globe usually requires that you have an account and are signed in before you can read the articles, but this one came up fine this morning.

I too (and my wife) wish that I was the old me.

Otterjam
99 Posts

This article hit home hard on all fronts. Got me crying. Yes! This is exactly true! I am not fine. Not at all. Thank you for sharing - sending healing thoughts and good energy to all.

muumi
19 Posts

It's true. I really relate to the story of Kimberly who cannot see her family overseas. A friend of mine who did not have the complications that K. did was still banned from travel for five years. Personally, I am facing the very real possibility of not being able to attend my son's wedding in August because it's thousands of miles away in a different country. If I'm well enough to travel, I still may not be able to get out of country medical insurance. It is what it is and I try not to agonize over it. But it isn't fine.

supersu
1108 Posts

@Jackwb

fabulous! thanks for the share.

it is a bitter pill to swallow that until you have cancer you really don't realize this stuff!!!

with some shame, I will admit to thinking some of my friends were ‘fine’ after their cancer treatments…..got my cancer ‘education’ and now I know better.

cheers
su

#cancerstory

Montana
20 Posts

I'm sitting here reading all the comments, crying, because for once, I feel someone is stating what I am feeling. Unless you have gone through the trauma of cancer and treatments and the “aftereffects”, you can never understand what the cancer patient is going through. Yes, on the outside, I look healed, but am I healed? I feel broken, lost and so scared that the cancer will come back either in my breasts or somewhere else. Every new pain makes me wonder if the cancer is back. I am not the same anymore and I never will be. People close to me think everything is fine now. They don't see me crying 10 to 15 times a day. Don't ask me why I am crying. I really don't know. I'm so overly emotional now, but I feel dead inside. I'm in the later part of my life (going to be 70) and I want to live it to the fullest now, since I've had cancer, but don't know how. I don't have any children, just a mother with moderate to severe Alzheimer's, that I am her care giver at the nursing home, my brother (in another city) and his wife. That is it for my family. It is hard to describe the emptiness I feel. Was it the cancer that broke me, or was it the trauma of the treatment? I feel like I am going through PTSD. I'm sure there are others that can relate.

shadowkins
20 Posts

Sending you big hugs and prayers. I hear you all to well….it's a bi*** this cancer.

My counselor told me it is PTSD, those treatments we put ourselves through are traumatic, and we all go through the phases of grief. Essentially we grieve for the loss of our old selves, we must do this to give our new selves the strength it needs to move forward.

Thank you to everyone who shared how this resonated with them. It is so important that you have an outlet to share the realities of how you are feeling. I hope you find some comfort in knowing our community members understand.

For anyone looking for additional support please know we also have a Cancer Information Helpline that offers information and support. You can reach them by calling 1-888-939-3333.

This booklet is also a helpful read:https://cdn.cancer.ca/-/media/files/cancer-information/resources/publications/life-after-cancer/32060-life-after-cancer-treatment-en.pdf?rev=ad4b66e5184e460ead7d78e8e6875116&hash=8DC741A1D8B6F08AC362B524BAC96367&_ga=2.18434033.918250864.1648498807-2138341184.1648498807

Thanks for the share @Jackwb.

Take Care,

Lacey

@Jackwb thanks for the share it really resonated with me as Steven and I had a very heartfelt conversation along these lines yesterday. He’s nine months out of his last major surgery and still struggling. He is still experiencing pain and discomfort and struggling with exhaustion. On top of the side affects from his many treatments he’s a bit done in. He watches my life and those of many around him go on while he struggles. I and the Drs remind him of how much he’s improved and its slowly getting better but it will never be the same. We miss the intimacy of our relationship, we miss his energy levels, we miss living without scanxiety, he misses his pre-cancer physical body. Its difficult for some to understand what he’s been through and still goes through. It affects everything but someone said something so touching to me last week that I shared with him. She said I cannot imagine how difficult this has been for the two of you but it must have brought you even closer together. A simple and kind statement but incredibly true. I would not wish one day of this on anyone, but it has very much intensified our already close bond. Not only do I love and adore him, but his hero status with me has gone through the roof. We have amazing conversations with such care and openness, love. If there is a bright side that’s it. Enjoying the small wins, enjoying his presence, enjoying his perseverance and strength, his good days and bad days and above all his love.

Ariadne
18 Posts

This has been rattling around my head for a couple days now, and made me realize I’ve been struggling with some and didn’t know it. I had a small lumpectomy and some radiation a couple years ago, and have been feeling somewhat disconnected ever since. I think that’s at least in part due to this push to be fine.

I think some people needed me to be fine, to be over it, to be “back to my old self”, so they could stop worrying about me. And any sign I was “better” meant we could go back to the way things were, rather than that moment being a high point for me, not my normal.

I’ve been afraid of doing things for me, that make me happy, and to celebrate little things that make me happy. Because, I think, where to me a little joyous moment is just that - a happy moment to enjoy just for itself - if I share that with others,

  • they think “I’m fine” - I can handle things like I used to, which I can’t, so I get overwhelmed
  • they say that’s great, now you can do this next thing - when I want to rest and relax after the effort expended, and really enjoy the moment
  • they’re dismissive - either the thing is too small, or imperfect, or uninteresting - not worthy of being happy about
  • they question why I would spend time on that, rather than other things

I let this get it my head and I realize now I have avoided doing things I enjoy, or even actually enjoying things when I do them, because I’ve felt guilty, because I internalised those reactions.

Fortunately my husband actively encourages me to do things I enjoy, but even with that active positive force, the negativity and expectations from outside our home have been powerful and draining. And I have felt obligated to listen, because…. ?? Training, I guess.

Anyway - this article was an eye opener. And I feel freer to be me, enjoy what I enjoy, celebrate any and all those silly happy little whatevers that make me smile. Not spend energy trying to be fine when I’m not.

💚🤗💚

Ariadne
18 Posts

@Montana I feel for you - you have so much to take care of and need care yourself. I hope your mother is in a good home and in good hands, Alzheimer’s is such a drain to cope with.

Sending you warm hugs.. 🤗

Montana
20 Posts

@Ariadne , thank you for your warm hugs. They are so much appreciated. I have been struggling emotionally for quite some time now. Even though mom is in a good home, close to me, I still have to deal with everything from her violent outbreaks, her horrendous pain she is in and her confusion and wanting her own mom. She is 93. I am responsible for her financial, legal, and health issues. The stress has escalated recently and my crying is uncontrollable at times, so I am going to seek help. I should have done this 2 years ago, when my treatment was over. Some days I feel like getting in my car and driving and not coming back, but I know that I can't run away. The issues just come with me. I think I need to deal with my PTSD. Then maybe dealing with mom might be a bit easier.

Skye2
223 Posts

@Dakley @Jackwb

this resonates with me as well. If I had a buck for every time I heard: “…you look so good…”. 🙄

Ive stopped explaining and just say : “…yes, I’m fine” when asked how I am. I’m just back to work after being off a year, and my back is aching so painfully every day. (I’m a nurse). Every single day, the thought that its bone Mets goes through my head, even though a scan a month ago cleared me (for now).

I feel constant tightness in my left arm and pec muscle, and irritating muscle discomfort from my tissue expanders, but “yes”! I’m “normal”. I worry about not drinking enough water to keep my one remaining kidney healthy.

Like all of us, the truth is, I will never be “normal” again… I remember just sitting one day and crying, saying I just wanted my life back…

thank you so much for your very accurate and realistic descriptions of our lives. Thankfully, we have each other.❤️

Sue

GammaC
2 Posts

Jackwb:

From today's Globe and Mail

Let me say for the record that I’m glad I’m not dead. Really glad. I’ve avoided the worst-case cancer outcome, knock on wood, but dodging that bullet doesn’t mean I’m fine now. Cancer patients never really get back to their precancer selves. They know they have to accept the “new normal,” but accepting it doesn’t mean it’s fine.

My hair has grown back; I’m no longer weak and feverish. I look my old self, but that’s an illusion. I’m aware of the changes to my body and the ever-present cancer reminders, even though they’re not apparent to others. Some changes are small, for instance, my taste buds went haywire during chemotherapy. Now, I can no longer stomach several things that I used to enjoy: coffee, mac ‘n’ cheese, banana bread, popcorn and chocolate ice cream. Sometimes just smelling these things makes me retch. Dang, why couldn’t I have developed an aversion to liverwurst and kombucha? I could live without those.

But chemotherapy didn’t just mess with my taste buds, it also caused neuropathy – a loss of feeling – in the toes of my right foot. The neuropathy began five years ago, and the doctor says that if feeling hasn’t returned by now, it’s unlikely it ever will.

Can I live with numbness and can I forfeit a few favourite foods? Of course I can, but that’s the easy stuff. I had six cancer-related surgeries and I now have 61 linear inches of surgical-incision scars. My body looks like a road map. Slicing and dicing my body that much left me with an abundance of tight, knotted scar tissue that causes discomfort, no matter how much massaging I do or how much lotion I use. Does this completely sideline me? Heck no, but it’s annoying.

But wait, there’s more! As a result of breast cancer, I developed lymphedema – swelling caused by a buildup of fluid – in my left arm. At its worst, my left arm was 62 per cent thicker than my right arm; most of the time it’s around 50 per cent thicker.

The swelling happens anywhere from my fingertips to my shoulder and the feelings range from a dull throbbing to tingling and burning, to feeling like the skin is about to violently rip open. I regularly do exercises, wear compression sleeves and see a physiotherapist to manage the condition. I’ve learned to live with it, but it’s definitely not fine.

I’ve chatted at length with other cancer patients about the “you” that emerges once the worst of cancer treatment is finished. Every patient I spoke with said she wanted to scream when a well-intentioned person smiled and said: “You’re fine now!”

My friend and fellow cancer patient Kimberly was born in Toronto but grew up in Europe. All of her family is overseas. She would love to go and visit them but she can’t, even before COVID-19. Kimberly developed heart problems as a byproduct of her cancer treatment and her doctors will not allow her to fly. Yet, friends high-five her and say: “You’re fine now!” Kimberly just offers a Mona Lisa smile and says nothing.

Stacia was diagnosed with cancer about a year after I was and a mutual friend introduced us. Stacia is quick to make a wisecrack and she can get people laughing in a heartbeat. But behind the laughter is anger and frustration. The daily cancer meds, which she must take for five years, cause headaches, nausea and diarrhea. She can’t remember what it’s like to have a physically good day. She now ranks days in terms of “awful,” “less awful” or “really awful.” But with her frizzy blond hair grown-in and her weight back to normal, friends look at her and cheer: “You’re fine now!” She doesn’t even bother trying to explain how she really feels. She thinks that now that she’s out of the danger zone, she has no right to complain. So, the anger and frustration remain bottled up.

Denise and I met in a cancer support group. She had just started a new job and a new relationship when she was diagnosed with cancer, a few months before I met her. She jumped through all the cancer hoops: chemotherapy, medications and surgeries, including a bone marrow transplant. The last time I saw Denise, her green eyes had a sparkle; she was finally excited about her future. Denise had just returned to work, plus she and her partner were planning a trip to Spain later that year. On her first day back on the job, a colleague beamed and said: “Wow! You look normal!” Denise died eight weeks later. She was in her early 30s.

I met Jacqueline during treatment – I’ll forever associate her with the generic beige recliners in the Sit & Drip area of the chemotherapy ward. Jacqueline is a woman many others would envy – at least until they hear the word cancer. She has brains, money, looks, talent, a gorgeous house in Leslieville and a handsome, supportive husband. But chemotherapy and long-term meds have killed her sex drive. “We go to bed each night and I think: Just let me read my book,” she told me. She confided that she and her husband haven’t had sex in over three years. Jacqueline scoffs when she hears the words “you’re fine.” “After all this time, I’m still not okay,” she says. “I resent the hell out of cancer.”

And then there’s Chloe, whom I met at a party. Chloe is bubbly and buxom, with a smile that lights up the room. But by the time she was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread to her bones. She takes a cocktail of meds and chemotherapy to try to stop the cancer from spreading even further, but Chloe knows she’s living on borrowed time. Her energy levels are really low and she finds that she has to be parsimonious with her time in the way cheapskates are with their money. Housework, especially laundry, is at the bottom of her priority list. Once a week, Chloe goes to her guitar lesson. Music lifts her spirits and playing makes her happy, even though she’d be the first to admit she’s not very good. Chloe’s friends hear that she’s still learning guitar and they rejoice. She must be fine now, they reason, otherwise why would she continue with the lessons? Chloe shrugs her shoulders and wonders: “Don’t they realize what metastasized means?”

Besides the physical cancer reminders, for all of us, there is also anxiety and fear. Each MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, mammogram, X-ray and blood test has the potential to deliver devastating news. There’s angst and sleepless nights leading up to doctors’ appointments. Hearing that the test results are normal, that the scan came back clean and clear allows the cancer patient to exhale. She’s okay for now, the bad news didn’t come, which is fabulous, but she’s still not quite fine.

margareth
23 Posts

Now when I hear that a friend or associate has passed of cancer it scares me all the more… I wonder if I too am living on borrowed time…and feel the pressure to make the most of it? Is this for real? Sometimes I feel like a fake…

supersu
1108 Posts

@margareth

good morning,
I agree with you, I find it really hard to hear of others who do not have the same positive cancer story as I have had so far…..

and I still, 2 years later, wonder sometimes if I ‘really had cancer’, or if a mistake was made???
weird…my mind is a powerful organ….it really makes me think some strange things sometimes.

what do you mean by you feel like a fake?

hope you are having a sunny saturday like I am here in Alberta
cheers
su

#cancerstory #isitallreal

margareth
23 Posts

When I was diagnosed, I thought I was going to be very sick for a while…So when the lockdown eased, I got back into the pool an went for walks as much as possible. I had a 3 month wait for surgery, I increased the amount of swimming and other activities between assessments. By the date of surgery I was feeling pretty fit… My surgery was scheduled late in the day, so I had to stay the night.. but was out by about 9 am… and back in my own bed 2 nights later. I got back in the car at 2 weeks… and the pool at 3 weeks.. (i had robotic surgery and no large incision) I went for the surgical follow up… I dropped the car at a park and ride… and took the Ottawa LRT… which it turned out was threatening to derail… and did that weekend… Then I was booked for brachytherapy… and finally got the holter monitor after that… In January the swimming stopped for one more lockdown (COVid, .. and got back to the pool at mid Feb…. hot tub in March… The snow is gone.. so I should get back to the bicycle soon.

@margareth

I'm happily (well not actually happy - cause there are tears rolling down my cheeks) reading through this thread and thinking that maybe I don't have much to say though as some will tell you I always have lots to say and I come to your note.

What you are describing is so common it has a name “survivor guilt” or “anticipatory grief.” And it was slowly shutting me down. I felt like by telling my story I was making everyone else feel like they were doing something wrong. Not my intent but that's what I thought was happening. Then a friend pulled me aside and pointed out how many people were touched by my words and by my story. I hate the word “inspired.” But I am absolutely convinced that people die when they lose hope. And losing hope is pretty easy if you aren't enjoying the tiny moments that you have. If I can give one person an inkling of hope then it brings me great joy.

You only have today. Make of it what you will. Some people call it living in the present. Others call it mindfulness. Still others use living while dying. What ever it is we all do it differently. We are these wonderful strange beings called humans.

So you do you. Whatever that is.

And others do themselves. We have this wonderful gathering that we call tribe, clan, family, community…

May you have many more years of joy, peace and gentleness.

Angus

shadowkins
20 Posts

Gosh, it's real for sure. It almost feels like cancer is always in the shadows waiting to surface.

I think we all do that, right ?

margareth
23 Posts

I think Covid has jumped that queue… Which has helped by reminding me that the world has many bogey men, that currently seem to be running loose.. So what it took me a lifetime to learn is to live each day as it comes… and find those things that bring joy.. while i still can…

PinkDaze
7 Posts

Thank you for posting this. I have been trying to figure out what is wrong with me, why am I so sad, frustrated and angry. Not ever truly happy. But this post and so many of the replies have reassured me that there is absolutely nothing “wrong” with me. Everything I am feeling is because of cancer and I am not alone. So thank you so much.💕

Whitelilies
2272 Posts

@PinkDaze Hi….please know…you are NOT alone…it is “OK” to feel, all that you feel….once your treatment is completed….our emotions, at times, just emerge, once treatment is done, because we were SO inundated with appts/procedures/meds/side effects….I believe we did not really have “time” to process our emotional well being.

I continue to see, at my hospital, the Oncology Dept/Psychiatrist…She Gets It !! 100%

Keep reaching out…..Lean On Us.

Warmly

Whitelilies

Sadie12
174 Posts

…and on this topic…

Today was day 5 of my graduated return to work. I have an accommodation on my schedule based on my fatigue and disrupted sleep.

My supervisor comes by and asks me how I am. I said ‘Okay’. She keeps asking for specifics…'Do I have interrupted sleep?'

Uhmmm…Yes.

She says ‘Oh, well, you always look so great. The sleep interruption is probably just an age thing.' (then tells me a story to illustrate that all people our age have trouble sleeping)

I hesitate…(which is a big accomplishment for me)…and say ‘Well, since you have a letter from my oncologist stating it’s caused by some very significant treatment and ongoing maintenance treatment, I don't think it's my age. But, yes, I do look great. I take really good care of myself'.

She didn't say anything after that.

Later, I went into her office and explained a bit more about my maintenance drugs and their known side effects…just to put the topic to bed. I think she was embarrassed.

I quickly segued to a work task question and we got on with work.

Underneath, my emotions are running pretty high and I was pretty pissed off that I have to justify just how fatigued I may or may not be. My fatigue has not affected my work yet, I don't complain about it to anyone - in fact, I am very vague about how I am feeling as a rule.

Thanks for listening. I knew I'd find an ear here with people who get it.

Sadie

Otterjam
99 Posts

@Sadie12 I totally get it!!! So sorry you had to digest this indignity, especially when navigating all the hard stuff you are navigating! I love the description of your response. It made me smile. Respect.

Ariadne
18 Posts

@Sadie12 congrats on the hesitating - yep, that’s something I need to work on too! Good reminder. Especially when things come out of left field like that.

🤗💚🤗

supersu
1108 Posts

@Sadie12

yep….this community really ‘gets it’ – 100%.

cannot honestly believe how much ‘education’ is involved in living with/after cancer. ‘looking good’ is a real stumper for most folks.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating….until I HAD cancer myself, I may have actually been one of those people!!! 🤬
I distinctly remember saying to a colleague that she ‘looked great’ and just assumed she must feel that way too. ugh…..

you responded so beautifully - I will try to channel that ‘take the high road’ poise next time I am the recipient of hurtful comments from colleagues.

continued success with your gradual return to duties….take care of you.

cheers/hugs
su

#workingforaliving #lifeaftercancer #cancerintheworkplace #lookinggoodfeelinggood

Otterjam
99 Posts

After what I refer to as my ‘death by a thousand cuts’ following the transition back to work I did not always take ‘the high road’ because of stress, a lot of the physiological changes taking place (not least of which was the weird chemical soup brewing in my brain and related cognitive/emotional regulation challenges) and severe intolerance. I on occasion responded to co-workers with impatience and looking back this embarrasses me and I feel deep shame. I really admire anyone who can keep their cool in the face of inappropriate words, poking, prodding and just plain ignorance. I couldn’t always do it and cringe when I think of running into one or more of those individuals at work. I can’t take my poor behaviour back but I do have compassion for myself too. What’s important is that I am taking those lessons learned and trying to do better. I celebrate and cheer all of your good spirits, courage and grace. What an amazingly powerful group of humans on this site! Kudos to you all!

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