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