by Judy Joppie
LCSC member, Nick’s post, was so amazing, and the responses so good, that it inspired me to post a thread similar to his.
He wondered how we handle those who do not care/advocate/support lung cancer issues.
I was very surprised by a comment that was made by a member of my in person support group a couple of weeks ago. She is a breast cancer survivor, and said that she and her husband never discussed the “C” word. She said they went about their lives as if nothing was wrong, even through her surgery and subsequent treatments.
She said he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and they don’t talk about that either!
She thought that if they discuss it, it makes it more real.
This took me completely by surprise. And yet? When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, my husband didn’t want anyone to know. This perplexed me. He felt that #1 – if we discussed it, it did make it real. #2 – if people knew, they’d be asking all kinds of questions that he didn’t want to deal with.
To the #1 – I say IT IS REAL. Putting the proverbial “head in the sand” approach only makes the experience lonely, and that is the last thing someone living with cancer, or any other disease wants to feel. This discussion board is proof of that. It is healing to share the burden, the not feeling good, the side effects, and the profound effect the disease is taking on us physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is immensely helpful for caregivers to be able to “talk” about the pain they are suffering, without judgement or criticism. It is critical to healing to have support, whether on-line or in person. I advocate for both (as if you didn’t already know that about me).
To his #2 objection, I say we SHOULD talk about it, and answer people’s questions. You never know when something you’ve shared with someone else may come to play in their lives down the road. They will remember something you said, and be able to deal with their situation better. Knowledge is power, we need to share that.
And for those of us that believe in prayer, how can we ask for that if no one knows what is needed in prayer?
If you don’t believe in prayer, maybe it comforts you to know that you “are in someone’s thoughts”. Another element that is important to healing.
I just wondered if there are folks out there that feel they can’t share, and talk about it, and what effect that is having on you?