Good Intentions

I finally had a little time away from doctor appointments and went to my favorite store, Target. The greatest store ever!!! Anyway, I was happily shopping when I sort of noticed a woman following me around the store. It took some time, but she finally did approach me. I was wearing my compression sleeve and glove, as I always do, and she pointed it out and asked if I had cancer. I said yes, and she went on to say she’d also had breast cancer, stage one, and she’d had to wear a sleeve as well.

Then she told me she no longer has to wear one and it will get better for me, too. Her intentions were good. She told me her daughter also had cancer and her niece had stage 4 breast cancer. I told her I also had stage 4 breast cancer. She gave me a hug and we spoke for a while, as I said I was in a good mood. Shopping does that for me!!

So I let my guard down and asked “the question”: “How’s your niece doing?” She just gave me this horrified look. She knew what she had done. She’s gone, she said. Tears started rolling down my face. Crying … in Target, my favorite store. Why did I ask that question??? Deep down I knew the answer, but I had to, was compelled to, ask.

Why is it when people find out you have cancer they have to share every cancer story they know with you?!?! My sister had cancer, my brother had cancer, my best friend, my mom, on and on and on. I left Target and went straight home so exhausted from tears that I slept the afternoon away. I’d been having a good day until I met a well-intentioned “cancer sharer,” as I call people like her. And just like that, I was no longer having a good day.

Everyone has a different way of sharing. Some people talk, some people write, some people need time and space. I’m writing now, but it’s taken me two years to get here. I didn’t even tell my family or friends about my blog until a couple of weeks ago. When I’m out and about, I don’t want to hear anybody’s sad stories of dying from cancer!!! However, I may be interested in hearing about SURVIVING. Stories of hope, strength and encouragement should be shared, but, even then, only if the person you are talking with wants to hear them.

I recently heard that a friend of mine is ill. I want to help her. I want to offer her advice, to take some of the burden off of her. But is that in her best interest … or mine? I’m torn because I don’t think we should have to go through this all alone. We’re strong women with children and active lives and we are fighting cancer … and that means something! On the other hand, I sure don’t want to become an unwelcome “sharer.”

So how do we know if they want to be heard? I suppose we need to ask before we speak. We women have got to stick together and encourage positive thoughts instead of focusing on horror stories. Who benefits from depressing discussions of illness?

I will say one good thing did come from this experience: The woman I met in Target did think I was in my early 30s. As a woman in her mid-40s who is being pumped full of cell-killing drugs, I have to say I was very pleased with myself. So that is what I will remember when I go back to Target. Because no one is going to ruin my favorite shopping store with negative vibes.

9 comments

  1. You always make me laugh Viki – somehow you have a way of sharing these very serious thoughts and observations and just when I think I’m learning something very important…. you make me laugh!!

    1. Each post I write takes me a lot of thought and sometime pain! I appreciate that you take the time to support me. It means a lot. I don’t feel so alone. viki

  2. ~To My Sister In Cancer~
    Everyone has a cancer story before they start to talk I stop them in mid-sentence and tell them If your story does NOT have a happy ending I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT. I know that sounds rude but I am so tired of people asking me are you CURE? Well how in the world do I know if I am cured only GOD knows what I am! I feel your pain I was in my favorite store I love books and I love history. I had a woman ask me in front of my son are you going to do I replied YES she said do you know how much longer you have I said no do you! I have made history because I have already out lived what the doctors told me I have watched my only child grad from high school and last year he grad from college I was told I would NEVER live long enough see that. I also got a college degree So do not always believe what you are told. Remember enjoy the moment.

    1. Jamie Ann, You always give me such good advice. I’m going to remember this next time I get into a bind and use it!!! Thank You for your support!! Viki

  3. Wow, Jaimie Ann is exactly the story to finish this chaper. Just like Jaimie you are the one. Your doctors have said that too – let’s make them rewrite their books – haaaa! If I ever meet that woman who destroyed your Target shopping day – I will have to kick some serious butt – and we know I can. LOVE YOU!

  4. My mom had breast cancer. Level 2. Read on, it has a happy ending.
    It took years. A surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy… Everything.
    And just when I was starting to lose hope, she recovered, and so will you!
    My mom was in her early 3o’s when she got diagnosed with cancer, & when I found out I thought I had nothing to live for, but I was dead wrong. You’re going to live because when cancer has all of it’s power on you, you have HOPE on your side.
    Even when all of the doctors in the world say you can’t make it, you have HOPE to help you make it.
    Science only goes so far then comes GOD.
    There was one person who I knew. He was in his 70’s … I had met him while I was studying abroad.
    He told me his story. All of the doctors had told him that his “Time” Is after 2 months, there was absolutely NO CHANCE he could make it. He sold his house, and went to greek (Supposedly to die.)
    I met him 5 years after that safe and sound. He was okay.
    Do not make the mistake of giving up.
    My mom survived and now she’s so much wiser and stronger.
    You’re still young, life is waiting before your eyes, fight cancer.

  5. Viki

    Hope you are good. We went on vacation I broke my ankle zip Lining LOL what a great thing to do had lots of fun with my family I too am scaredall the time because I was told I would not live to see 50 I am going to be 45 but Happy because I was told I would never see my son grad. from HS but he has a college degree Just keep your chin up and enjoy the summer heat. I love all my birthdays and I give myself a party with all the candles because its one more year and baby I am still here!!
    Take care,
    Jaimie

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