“On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question—is it politic? Vanity asks the question—is it popular? Conscience asks the question—is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. –Martin Luther King Jr., “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” March 31, 1968

I have always had high expectations of myself and those who surround me, I expect nothing less. No one knows how the walk in my shoes feels every day. So, instead of telling me what you think I should do, start listening and respect how I live my life. I bet you don’t face your jewelry box and say to yourself, “I should give this to my niece or this to my son?” I bet when you are out on the ocean seeing a group of friends having a memorial for someone that you don’t think to yourself how would I like to celebrate my life. I bet when you hear statistics about your health, you don’t think about how old will my son be in 5 years? I bet you don’t think every week as I have a blood test that I hope my numbers are just good enough so I can be around those who I love. I bet when you are eating food you don’t have to really smell the food because this is the only way I can actually taste it. If by telling me to relax, you think that helps…well, it doesn’t. You have no idea what I go through on a daily basis and what my husband, son, and family deal with every day. This is because I try very hard to keep things as “normal” as I can for myself and my family. I don’t let the cancer define me, but it is me and it is my disease. My family lives with it every second of the day and it creeps into my sleep too and gives Alex nightmares and Jim sleepless nights. I do put most negative thoughts in the back of my mind, but reality exists and I often think how to make every aspect of my cancer easier for those who surround me. So, back to expectations… When I ask something of a friend, whether it is a ride for Alex or a smoothie for me, I just want to know the answer of “yes or no”. I do not have time for your excuses. Don’t waste my precious time. I don’t have time for your fear because there is no room to be a coward in your fight for your life. I give myself little room for excuses and do all that I can do every day. It is not that I don’t care about you; I don’t have the strength to hear excuses, negativity, or deal with cowards. This is not to say that I don’t want to hear about what is truly happening in your life with your family and children. This is what I want to hear! So, while I fight every day for my life and you may take yours for granted, please try to listen, be the best you can be, fight hard for what you believe in, accept nothing less than the best, and stop saying you are too busy to do this or that and make things happen. You have choices and you are in control of many aspects of your life. So, take control! There are no excuses as you have the power to make things happen whether it is going to the gym, making time for yourself, seeing an old friend, listening to music, dancing to music or whatever makes your heart beat strong. I know it is difficult to know what to say to someone who has cancer, but if you are struggling for the right words, do cancer patients a favor and say nothing. Just give a hug or smile. Don’t tell us what to do especially if it involves either not doing something, deep breathing, or relaxing. We will do what we want and how we want and live our lives how we want because you have no idea unless you have cancer or have had cancer. Even then, all cancer patients cannot be treated equally. We are all motivated differently in how we chose to live with our cancer. I choose to live with my cancer the same way I have always lived my life. Even then, I have made changes to how I approach each day. I have no time for EV (emotional vampires), no time for excuses, no time for those who think they know, and no energy for those who fear each day or sweat the small stuff. I have high expectations of my doctors and my team and they know it. You cannot imagine even in the slightest of how my son faces each day with courage and determination and my husband refuses to waste a single second of his day. They are my force that drives me. Your support is always appreciated, but you cannot understand unless you walk in my shoes every second. I put on a good show, a good face, have good hair, and you don’t even know the strength it takes to do this every day. Some of you do understand. Unless I am asking for relaxation techniques or breathing exercises, I don’t want to know what you think I should do. I am doing it. I am doing what I have to do. You should know that I do understand how difficult it is for you because it is that much harder for me. When I hurt, you hurt. I was going to give this list to a friend who has since passed away from cancer. This is the list of the top 7 things I almost laugh about being a cancer patient, but on some days I cannot laugh. It is not because it is not funny, but because I have to fight that much harder.

 

Here it is:

  1. From doctors (not on my team), “you are not making it easy because you are too peppy to know you are sick.”
  2. You don’t sound like someone who has cancer. (on the phone with insurance people)
  3. That’s not your real hair?  You are so lucky to have such great hair. (the luck is what sucks)
  4. I know someone who had cancer, she died.
  5. THE LOOK, the head tilt, deep breath, sigh, pause, the pity look
  6. Uh oh, Santa Ana winds, will my wig blow off my head?
  7. You know what you should do? (this statement I always got me hysterical before my cancer) Nope, I don’t know, but if you know I suggest that you do it for yourself.

 

From Vickie Girard, “When cancer patients voice a problem or concern, you are mistaken if you think we always want you to try to cheer us up. Or that we expect you to fix us. We don’t. Sometimes we just need to voice our frustration at the viciousness of this disease.”

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One Response to ““On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question—is it politic? Vanity asks the question—is it popular? Conscience asks the question—is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. –Martin Luther King Jr., “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” March 31, 1968”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing:)

    Every moment is truly a gift.

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