Oy!  This past weekend was a whirlwind.  So much family time – Himself’s.   Suffice it to say that I would love today to be nothing but napping, reading and catching up on dvr recordings.  That will have to wait, though.  The Princess is here and there are things to do.  heavy sigh…
Since I typed that last line, I have made the rounds.  Isabella is acting up and she is down for a nap.  I hope it is a long nap.
My friend, N., is home from the hospital after a successful stem cell transplant.  Her own stem cells were harvested from her blood, her blood counts brought down to nothing and then her harvested cells were put back into her body (a simple explanation of the process).  Adult stem cells were used.  No need for embryonic.
At my s-i-l’s wedding, there were two women who are going through chemotherapy.  After knowing, losing, celebrating and hoping with so many people with this monster of a disease, I have learned there is a certain "etiquette" it is good to follow when around people who are very sick.
First off, I have been informed that cancer patients, when speaking amongst themselves, don’t talk all that much about their disease.  Unless your friend wants to talk about their illness or therapy, just talk to them the way you did before they were sick.  I don’t believe they want their disease to define them.
Don’t say, "You look great!" unless they really do.  "I am so happy to see you," if you are, is the truth!  They know if they look awful.
Keep your sense of humor but know your friend’s limits.  With N., I can call her "Curly" or rub her bald head and make a wish and she will only laugh.  Someone else might not.  N. and I have been friends for years and she accepts me as the nut I am and loves me for it.  Himself’s cousin would probably be mortified if I did either of those things!
Don’t go around with a mournful look when you are with your loved one.  If they want to cry, cry with them or don’t.  If they want to chat, great.  If they don’t want to talk sit quietly with them.  Once again, take their lead.
People with a debilitating disease have a new "normal."  Finding out how you fit in is a process.  If you can’t figure it out then ask them!  They are not mind readers and neither are you!  Communication is so important.  If you are one of those people who absolutely can not be in a sick room, make a phone call or send a card or letter.  They want to know they are not abandoned.  I tell N. not to vomit when I am there because I can’t handle it.  She says okay.  We both know if she has to she will try to warn me and I will run out of the room and get someone else to tend to her if needed.  Or not.  Maybe I can stick it out.
Wow.  I’ve needed to say all of this for a long time.  These are my observations and you might agree or disagree.  My intent is to tell people to accept the situations and deal with them as needed.  Do not allow the disease to define the person who is sick.  They are still themselves. 
If you have any other suggestions please let me know.  I hope that you will never have to deal with anything so horrid.  Just when I think I’ve had enough of it all I get the grace to cope.  Actually, it is an honor to be able to be a friend when the chips are down. 
Bless you and have a wonderful week, g

10 responses to “Oy

  1. it is so true…someone with cancer dosn’t want to be defined as sick all the time…it’s hard enough for them to fight as much as they have to without wondering if what people say to them is really the truth… 
    ♥~♥ :oD the shortest distance between two people is a smile… :oD ♥~♥

  2. Good stuff to know.  It’s hard to know what to do and you certainly don’t want to give the ‘poor me, I don’t know what to say/do’ impression. 

  3. Hey G, was my m-in-law who had cancer, not my own mum. She’s from East M’sia and stayed with me for 6 months when she went through her op and chemo. It wasn’t easy for me then…coz I had just given birth to Jo and had quite bad post partum depression. Still I somehow managed to cope. My m in law had her depression as well, coz while doing chemo, her psoriasis really flared up, and her depression was so bad, she refused to get out of bed. There were good days, when she insisted on walking to the kitchen to cook for us all, despite her sickness.
    but, all I can say now is PRaise God, coz now she’s well, and her cancer marker has remained low. I’ve also mentioned that through this, she came to accept the Lord, for she saw an angle before her op.
    you are right, there’s no point saying something you don’t mean. MOst of the time, I just brought her food, asked her how she was. If she was silent, I left the room after a while. If she smiled, sometimes after a few minutes, she wo0uld start talking about her childhood and difficult life she lived, having come from a hard core poor family. At least, I got to know her better in that 6 months.

  4. all good advice g 🙂
    just had to call in before my computer gives out on me ….your Isabella will be looking much different now ..hint hint for photos ..lol
    have a good rest of the week ,I am trying to get around on here but i is slow & hard work ,nothing changes does it !
    love and blessings

  5. Thanks for the etiquette lesson. Sticking around when a friend is sick is one of the best gifts in the world. You’re an angel.

  6. That I have to say was the most enlightened entry I have seen all day, but then again you’re only the third site I have visited.  Just kidding; I am sure when I’m done this will still be the best entry.
    I can honestly tell you that I have had the luxury of not having any of my close friends contract this disease and I will keep my fingers crossed.  As I was reading this I couldn’t help but think that quite a bit of this applies to myself.  I, however, would rather people ask me questions about my disability if they really have them instead of assuming I don’t want to talk about it, but that’s quite a bit different than having a chronic disease.Thank you so much for the advice.  I am sure I will need a one-day.Billy PaulPS even though I often describe myself as a quadriplegic to other people, I don’t want to be entirely defined by my disability either.  Very wise words you have written.

  7. Hello g,
    So true, so real!!! Thank you for posting this. This is the most real post I have seen in a while. People need to understand the disease and adjust. May I add that if the disease is going to be long term (i.e. years), get well cards on a weekly basis can get a little trying. If a person is willing to talk about their illness/disability, do not scare the children with it – let them learn.
    Quadius is the best qualified to critique your entry – he says its good – it is good.
    Peace & Blessings.

  8. Spoken with wisdom and compassion.  We all need these gentle reminders from time to time.  Have a wonderful weekend and keep us in line with current events and the ever evolving saga of you and the Princess.

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