I have debated as to whether or not I should write this, as I have had so many thoughts floating around in my head about it, but I don't want to be offensive to anyone. First, let me start off by saying (again) that I am so grateful and truly humbled by the ongoing support and love I have felt by so many.
Every day there are people diagnosed with cancer and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. On the day the receptionist called me to make my initial appointment, she had 20 (yes 20!) new referrals on her desk that morning. Many of us may be diagnosed with the same type of cancer, our experiences and treatments may be very similar or they may be as different as we are. Emotionally, we may be diverse as well. What one person may find helpful, I may not. This diagnosis has forced me to examine myself even more closely and really know what I need to do as an individual to be able to make it through this muck. I believe I am "getting it". I am learning to meditate, exercise more, and live in the moment.
There is a certain etiquette that people should have in regards to talking to others when they are diagnosed with cancer. EVERYONE has a story, some are helpful, others, not so much. I probably do not need to hear every detail of your third cousin's battle with breast cancer because her story is not my story. I don't need to know that she almost died on the operating table or that they thought that it had spread throughout her body....yikes! These are fears that I fight to push to the back of my mind each and every minute of the day...shame on you for making them prevalent thoughts in my head. Are there snip-its that I would find motivating? Absolutely!...tell me how she was diagnosed, fought like hell and won, and that she is doing great now 15 years later-thank you! Tell me that you went through it and I can too, tell me that it was a tough road, but you are healthy now, and, if you're super positive, tell me it was a "breeze" (yes, someone actually said that). I am well aware that the other stories exist (and I am not in denial), but who wants to hear them in the midst of this? I need to hear positive, motivating stories where others have fought and won!
I also ponder the choices I have made in my life that may have been the cause of the Big C. "What did I do to cause this to happen to my body?" In this case, those past decisions cannot have any impact on the situation at the moment. It is not healthy for me to "go there" emotionally, as it does not help me to move forward. The truth of the matter is, no one really knows the cause of breast cancer. It's probably not a wise idea to mention to me that I had a part in causing my own breast cancer, because, once again, I've already thought of that.
There are so many loving and caring people who want to do anything they can to help me through this process and I am able to see this intent in everyone that I have come into contact with. What do you say to someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer? Sometimes it may be best not to say anything...
My story is not "exactly" like someone else's because we are not the same people. I can gain insight, knowledge and different perspectives by listening to others, and for that, I am so grateful. At this point, I have to surround myself with motivating and positive people whose stories also exude those characteristics. Sometimes, it IS acceptable, and often welcomed to just say nothing at all...a hug will do ;)
A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.