Let’s Talk About You

29 06 2011

A few weeks ago, one of my lifelong best friends called. We chatted about the usual stuff – the kids, the weather, our summer plans. She, of course, also asked me how I’m feeling, how I’m managing my chemotherapy treatments and schedule. Then there was a pause and she said, “I have something to tell you, but I’m not sure if I should.”

I was a bit nervous but still, whatever it was, I wanted to know.

“Yes, of course tell me,” I said. “Please.”

She told me her Dad had been recently diagnosed with cancer and would soon be starting treatment. She’d known for about two weeks, but hadn’t known if she should tell me.

Under ordinary circumstances – as in prior to my recent breast cancer diagnosis – she would have called me right away. But that I was in the midst of fighting my own battle with this disease had called it into question. She’d even discussed it with her sister, whom I also know well: When should they tell me? I’ve been close to my friend and her family since we met in Kindergarten – 30-some years ago.

I can understand the hesitation, the love and concern, the thought that she didn’t want to add anything more to my already very full plate. But not only do I get tired of talking about me, my diagnosis, my treatments, quite honestly, I want to hear about my friends’ lives, what they’re facing, their challenges as well as their joys. It helps me to feel “normal” at a time when my life is anything but.

Several times since my January diagnosis, friends have kept a lid on something big going on in their lives, be it marital troubles, problems at work, a concern about a child. They’re coming from the right place, with the best of intentions.

But it’s important for them to know that I want to know. I want to be “kept in the loop.” I care deeply.

Friendship is a two-way street, even when one of you is facing a life crisis like a cancer diagnosis. Especially then.

For more of my blog posts, visit The Pink Fund.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson

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6 responses

29 06 2011
Amber Housey

I hope it is ok for me to share this post. My whole mission is to show people another side, the Flip Side. This is truly the Flip Side of fighting the ultimate battle. I am going to share it on http://www.facebook.com/flipsidestories. I think it is important to share this point of view. You are another hero for those of us who fear cancer. Your fight shows us that we can fight too if we are faced with such a challenge. Thank you for sharing your story.

29 06 2011
lucy (meau's friend)

thank you so much for this post, amy. it is sometimes difficult to know how to be and do, when a friend or acquaintance has cancer, or other life threatening disease. it is kinda weird but you actually think, “okay i’ve got to ‘act’ normal.”–the thing is we should just BE normal. thanks for reminding us—and bless you today and always. lucy

29 06 2011
Jennifer Bopp Stegbauer

Here’s to keeping a two-way street for the rest of our lives!

29 06 2011
brian Murphy

Thanks, Amy–that’s a really important and valuable comment.

29 06 2011
Bob Adams

Amy, once again you’ve taught us a good lesson. I learned another lesson a short time ago. A good friend went way out of her way to do things for my wife and me–WAY out. I thanked her profusely. She finally said “No more thanks, helping is what friends are for.” Ain’t that the truth–in all matters.

29 06 2011
Deborah Ann Peters

We want to treat people who are sick with kid gloves and spare their feelings over any issues. Well…….You just set us straight on that, and good for you. I can clearly see now, how wanting to stay in the loop is so important. Since moving to NZ, I feel so much out of the loop with all of my friends and family, and that I am missing out on so much. Thank you for such a good message in todays blog.

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