you would think that a person who has been through a diagnosis of a serious illness would have great insight into how to help someone else. yes and no. the hard part is when it’s a person you know but don’t know well. ‘let me know if there’s anything i can do for you’ is, i know, a useless remark. no one will ask for anything – and certainly not to such an open-ended remark.
a person i know very casually had a test yesterday brought about by a previous test. i have her email. i sent an email to her telling her that i was thinking about her with positive thoughts and had kept her in my thoughts all weekend. i know that the email has not been opened and i worry that this could mean bad news.
i’m also skirting around a real but obnoxious issue that i often deal with: the ‘feh’ quotient. (think ‘spitting on the floor three times to ward off the evil spirits’!) if she is diagnosed again what does it mean for me? if elizabeth edwards was diagnosed again as a terminal patient what does it mean for me? if lynn redgrave died – the incomparable lynn redgrave incapable of escaping this cruel fate – yes, you guessed it. what does it mean for me? i will be so honest here to say that i totter between my real compassion and caring and my worries about myself. i don’t think i’m alone in seeing each diagnosis as ‘that could be me’. there’s not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t say ‘cancer’. hell, there’s not a day goes by that i don’t hear it at least 10 times. it’s big business; it’s marketing money for for-profit and charities alike; it’s so common and i want to scream that i want a day, a week, a year without hearing about cancer. there are days when i could just forget that any of it ever happened and i am never allowed to forget. i know. never forget so that we can build forward. but some days i just want a vacation from the ‘c’ word. and yet, i worry…about this woman i know…she had a test yesterday…i haven’t heard from her.