I was really fortunate to grow up in a good community. A small community where you knew everyone and everyone knew you. With that, also comes gossip and the quintessential nosy neighbor.
Now, I don’t consider this a bad thing.
When I was diagnosed, and as word spread, I would encounter people that were very curious. People that are scared to ask questions would tip toe around to see how I was feeling and if I needed anything.
At first, this was a very weird situation to experience.
Over time, I found that it worked really well to just talk about what I was going through. You can read some of my previous blog posts while I was going through treatment. Mostly I was writing to keep my family and close friends informed on what was going on with me.
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My current approach
September 27, 2018 was eight years that I’ve been in remission. I am much more comfortable about having discussions and talking about my experience with cancer.
I have worked hard to let people know that it is OK. That I do want to talk about it. It became very therapeutic for me after diagnosis.
Actually, I prefer to talk to people about cancer and share my story with those that are hesitant to bring up questions.
That’s the thing about cancer, the stigma that it comes with is hard for people to grasp. It was hard at first for me to grasp. People have a tendency to overlook this reality, not because they don’t care, but because they cannot relate to the experience. I know because I was one of them.
For you survivors and even current patients going through treatment, talk about your experience. Write about your experience. As more people share their experience and their story, more attention will be brought to what cancer really is.
These Three Tips will help you ease people’s minds about being a Lymphoma Survivor.
1. The Awkward Silence
The best way to approach this issue is to come out with a big smile and reassure the individual that its ok. Let them know that it’s a crazy world and life can throw some wild curve balls. Your just in the middle of a good one right now.
Your mindset is critically important, how you approach each individual will help prepare you for the truly big issues that you are facing. And as long as you’re in a growth mindset and constantly learning from the experience, that’s your chances of surviving have gone up dramatically!
2. The Over Apologetic
Then there are those that don’t know what to say and nervously babble how sorry they are that you have to go through this experience.
I get it, they are concerned and don’t really know how to approach the situation. So they let their nerves do all the talking.
I’ve had to interrupt a number of people that just wouldn’t stop talking. Tell them with a very firm tone to STOP. Take a deep breath in front of them, calmly let them know that you understand there concern and more than happy to answer any questions they have.
You have to take control of the situation in order to have the mental bandwidth to deal with everything that is going on.
I sit on the fence with this one. These individuals are going to challenge you the most out of any one else. The people that you feel are avoiding you are perhaps some of you closest friends or family. Most likely don’t know what to say or do when they see you. They don’t reach out or haven’t offered to help. This is the Awkward Silence but to the extreme!
There’s two ways to approach this.
1. Is to call them out and ask what’s the the deal. Or 2. Give it some time. There is a chance that both of you are not ready to face the challenge of the conversation. Back to that Mental Bandwidth idea.
The main reason why I’m on the fence is there are those that you may wonder why you haven’t talked to them about your situation. Some may feel like they don’t have anything to say. That’s the thing about Cancer, you will undoubtedly lose some friends and acquaintances along the way.
This is where you have to dig deep and have the courage to know that there are some people that will never understand what’s going on.
And that you may Never get an answer…