Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NO HOW-ARE-YOU'S

The chemo-fog is behind me for this round. Thankfully, once again, I was able to watch some mindless TV which really passes the time when you can't read or write or converse. You know, there is an upside to the 5-day foggy tunnel. Since I do not see or talk to anyone, nobody can ask me, "HOW ARE YOU?"

Don't get me wrong. I am blessed to have so many people caring about me these days. But I am a shy person by nature and do NOT like being the center of any attention. I don't consider myself self-absorbed and though I fail at times, I have always tried to live an other-centered life. I like to blend into the walls for the most part. So, you have no idea how sick I am of ME. Of my condition, of my tests, my chemo-schedule, my side effects, my feelings, my concerns. And all of that comes up when people ask you how you are. I do my best to shrug off the question with a "Fine, thanks." But the question is always about me and I am just plain sick of me, and tired of being thought of as a "sick person" by people who know me.

I love being at home where my husband and son NEVER ask me that. It is, instead, I'm out of T-shirts....will you do some laundry today...........Mom, give me a foot massage.........it's warm enough to take a bucket outside and wash the car, so can you do that?.........that's not exactly my favorite dinner food.........could you please sew up this seam?....... stop hogging the computer......

I don't feel sick at home, and I love that. My little brother still calls me names and tells me what to do (Mom needs to discipline him), my older brother calls to tell me he's sitting on a lake fishing and about his new retirement activities; my friend Jill always meets me for our walks with a "You won't believe what happened to me today," or "Well, what have you been doing today?"; and my best friend Susan continues to call and tell me her precious old-people anecdotes (she is the director of a senior center) and pours out her heart about her own struggles. Susan still sees me as her best friend who will give her my 2-cents worth of feedback and empathy, not as her sick best friend who needs or wants to talk cancer. I love it when people do not hone in on ME. Oh, I am so tired of me-ness. It has been 5 too-long months of it. 

All of that was to say that the time alone inside of myself in my chemo-fog really does my sense of self-worth a lot of good. I feel healthy because nobody is directing me back to thinking about myself as a fragile person with a "condition."

I will never be offended when people ask me that because I know the concern behind the common question. I never want my friends to be self-conscious about that. But I will really love it if you ask me what I have been up to the past week (where I can decide whether to tell you if I've been cleaning out my pig-sty storage room downstairs or reading a great novel, or if I am having chemo side-effects). Or if you tell me my jeans make my butt look too big. Or if you mention that it's time to go back to my old hairstyle.

Where did THAT soapbox come from? Oh, well, just puttin' honest feelings out there, not to offend anyone, but just sayin'.......

I have one week left of my sweet son's vacation to enjoy......it has been SUCH a great time with him home. Off to trek my 2 miles right now.....

2 comments:

Cole said...

=) I TOTALLY understand, Mary! You're not a patient, you're not a person with cancer, you're still Mary. €

Totally get it and don't consider it a soapbox. Just the true feelings in your heart. I hear a fiestiness in your voice that tells me you haven't lost an ounce of fight in this process, if nothing else...it truly has made you stronger in ways.

You rely whole-heartedly on God's faithfulness and don't want to focus on mere symptoms but rather, the person you are as a whole. Each hat you wear, each ounce of love you give is infinitely more important than the momentary 'how are you's'. Completely understandable. Have a great trek!!

Gretchen said...

Ok here's some normalcy for you:
I was witness to the utter confusion a new pair of jeans caused you at Christmas. "What are those lines?" "Are they defective?"
Have you bought yourself some new jeans? Did you keep the Christmas pair? I think it's about time you step away from the thrift store and into a department store and get yourself a pair that, while confusing, may just add a little extra style to that wardrobe of yours!! :)
Love you, you crazy woman!