Let’s Ask The Girl With Cancer – She Might Know Something!

Recently, I have been asked for advice about cancer. I have been asked to get behind campaigns to help with awareness and nudge the world into donating money for research. I have had friends call me with panic in their voices about a small this-or-that which is causing them worry.

Ha! Yes, I’m an expert in the subject of worry. I can’t say that I’m completely void of all anxiety over my next scan, but I have been working on taming the monster for three years, and I think I’ve got it.

But, can I help you dear friend? No. I can’t take your anxiety away, you have to do that on your own. All I can offer are the words I repeat daily to myself.

—I got up. I’m breathing. I’m healthy until told different. I’m grateful for the day I have been blessed with. I’m trying to be the best me I can be.

Funny thing, I’m no expert regarding cancer. I had cancer, I had surgery, I have been told I should never see cancer again. But I’m suspicious of those doctors, so my advice is to buck up, and ALWAYS be your own advocate. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you, not even your spouse. YOU do it! Of course, it helps to take someone along to catch the information the torturers spew, that you miss hearing. But, you must take a pen and paper with you. Ask every question you have, and don’t leave until you are satisfied with the answers.

If that doesn’t work, act like you’re about to have a panic attack. I can give you some pointers on how to make it look real. Threats such as…if you make me wait nine months to see if it grows, and I die from cancer because it was aggressive—I will come back to haunt you for the rest of your life. Meh, it worked for me. A deer in the headlight look, with huge tears threatening to fall down your cheeks will also help guilt the torturer into giving you answers and avoid poo-pooing your concerns. If that doesn’t work….find a new doctor.

Cancer–I’m not an expert. Unfortunately, it’s the crap swirling in my mind hindering me, that I’m truly an expert. It’s an individual thing, and we all have to reach out for the professionals to help us through this monster.

I find it amusing that my friends contact me–Ms. Anxiety Pants–to quell their fears. It’s a good thing I have mastered the art of putting on a facade, or I would send them off worrying about the state of the world as well.

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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24 Responses to Let’s Ask The Girl With Cancer – She Might Know Something!

  1. Gallivanta says:

    Even if you are not an expert, I bet the friends feel better after talking to you.

  2. aviets says:

    You give good advice – I’m not surprised people turn to you!

    Okay, here’s a question for you: Last week I read a book that had nothing to do with cancer, but the author discussed briefly the use of militaristic euphemisms that are universally used in discussing cancer: battle, fight, struggle, win the war, etc. He said that he had friends who found that using such terms to turn their cancer experience into a “war” was counter-productive. I have a friend who had breast cancer, and she had similar feelings. Just wondering what your thoughts are on that subject…

    • April says:

      Oh my gosh! This is my third attempt at replying and I have deleted the other two and don’t know what I’m doing to accomplish this feat.

      I believe those words were created by the Pink Campaign to give us a sense of empowerment and false hope.

      I don’t like the word survivor either. Cancer goes into remission, but eventually it will rear its ugly head at some point, especially if we live long enough.

      However the words battle, win the war, struggle, fight, and so on, apply to dealing with the insurance companies, and the doctors who don’t listen well.

      Perhaps some cancers have been cured, but I need to know all I can, and this type of talk sounds like denial to me. I want to know all there is so that I’m not ‘ambushed’ further down the road.

      • aviets says:

        I’ve had that problem with replying before, too. Maddening. As it happened, I had a nice long chat today with the friend mentioned above, and she too mentioned her dislike of the word “survivor.”

        • April says:

          I kind of struggled with what I should identify with, until I realized that I am not my cancer. However, I do say that I’m in remission. I may not have a recurrence for another 20 years, but I don’t seriously call my status at this point as being a survivor. Eventually, the odds are that I will have to deal with it again.

  3. mewhoami says:

    Personally, I would go to you also. Speaking with someone who’s been through a similar experience can be very helpful. It may not cease their fear, but it would be reassuring just knowing that they’re not alone.

    • April says:

      Other than telling them to advocate for themselves, and I suppose showing to them that I’m living, maybe I do give them some sense of calm…if there can be a calmness when facing the unknown.

      • mewhoami says:

        It always helps to know that someone else has been down a similar road. I think it makes situations much more difficult when we feel that we are alone. Just you having gone through it and making it out on the other end, is inspirational in itself.

  4. Agreed, April, always be your own advocate!

    • April says:

      It’s the only way. My pulmonologist told me that I shouldn’t lose sleep over it. Silly man. He may be smart, but has a rotten bedside manner. I don’t even know why I go to him except he now talks to me without being patronizing.

  5. reocochran says:

    I admire you for sharing your strength, courage, hesitation and your honest fears of cancer. I would let you know, just to say we are rowing in the same boat. I would take the paper and list my questions, as you suggested, ask away and if not satisfied, I would do what you mentioned and keep looking! You are good at putting on a ‘brave front’ or faΓ§ade, as you describe it. April, I am so glad I am getting to know you, have felt like we were friends, for some time now. You go, girl!

    • April says:

      I was just talking with my therapist today about how I can find some inner strength when I have to stand up for myself. I would be really happy if I always had that strength. I’m getting there, but I’m a bit impatient.

  6. suzjones says:

    You don’t think you are as strong as you are my dear. I’m not surprised people come to you for advice. πŸ™‚

    • April says:

      I usually chat away without much thought when speaking. I rattle. Then someone asks me a serious question, and I’m speechless. She did tell me she felt better, but I have no clue which words I said which helped. :/

      • suzjones says:

        Don’t try to hard to work it out. I think it’s wonderful that you helped. πŸ™‚

        • April says:

          I was just taken aback when she said she felt so much better after talking to me. The funny thing is that I didn’t say much. I let her talk–which that is what we often need–a person who will listen.

  7. Jen says:

    I could see why people turn to you for advice… and I have a hunch it might be for more than just the C word. Your whole presence even online is incredibly soothing.

    • April says:

      Aw thanks. I have people tell me all the time that I seem so mellow. I kind of snicker–if they only knew what was messing with my mind, they probably wouldn’t say that. πŸ˜€

  8. Glynis Jolly says:

    Although I can look to people for an amount of comfort, I can’t really lean on anyone. I have no other choice but to get through it alone. Others can’t and won’t know what it’s like for me. They can only know what it may be like or is like for them. Whenever there’s a discussion like this, I think of the song “When You Walk Through a Storm”.

    • April says:

      I usually go it alone. I don’t ask for comfort, and I don’t lean. Don’t get me wrong…I’m am sooo thankful that my husband is like he is, and I do receive comfort from him. Mostly, I have to do everything on my own. No matter what the challenge.

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