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Allison 2.

February 21, 2010

If you’d like a copy of Allison’s brochure go here and follow the steps.

2. Don’t avoid the person just because you don’t know what to say. Not only does this send a wrong message to your friend or loved one, it’s not healthy for YOU. Always acknowledge the person – even if it’s through a heartfelt card. You don’t have to have the right words – your meaning and caring will still come through.

The most common reason for avoiding a person with a life-threatening illness is not knowing what to say. Here’s a tip – follow these guidelines and speak from the heart.

The second most common reason for avoiding is because you can’t bear to see the person in this condition. I strongly encourage you to muster your courage and do it anyway – if you don’t visit this person, you’ll likely regret it someday. Start slowly – send a card as your first gesture, then a phone call until you work your way up to a visit. But don’t wait too long. If the person doesn’t want to receive visitors, respect their wishes, but do send a card or email. When in doubt, check with a close family member first.

I have a friend who’d been told about my breast cancer before I had surgery. I specifically asked someone to tell her, as we don’t speak that often. Still, I thought we were friends. I  haven’t heard one word from her. Oh wait, maybe I did. Maybe the word was “Goodbye”? or “I’m a scaredy cat” – which is more than one word, of course. Artistic license in action. If and when she’s ready to reach out, I’ll be ready and willing to accept.

And then I heard from people who totally surprised me with their phone calls or cards – or emails. Let’s me know why I took a liking to those people in the first place.

I know that I’ve asked people not to visit me for the first couple of weeks. A few people ignored that and came over anyway. And I loved that. That’s the bond we have. I tell them what to do, while I’m under the influence of pain and painkillers that don’t stop the pain plus a whole lot of feeling sorry for myself, and they do what they know is best for me. They never listen. And I love them for that because really, I am not always the best person to make choices for myself.

And I love the people that respected my wishes – gave me the time I needed to work on my healing.

Everybody did the right thing – isn’t that awesome?

This breast cancer has given me a lot more flexibility emotionally. Physically, I can hardly brush my own hair. Which is probably why chemo will take my hair away. Good god, I hope I can reach the top of my head in the next couple of weeks. I took so  much for granted. Like arm movement.

But emotionally I’m a whole lot gentler and kinder than I was before the cancer. Which makes me wonder how long it’s going to take before I get back to my regular, acidic self.

Today we’ll be venturing out to visit Thing 1. I won’t be writing about Thing 1 here. Just know that he’s doing well and keeps asking for gum. He’s at a non-smoking facility.

Thank you again, Allison, for being there for me.

You too, Dan.

Oh wait. Forgot something.

Seriously? People avoid people with cancer because they can’t bear to see the person in this condition? (the acidic – it’s making a comeback!) Am I such a monster with my flat chest and big belly that I swear to god, I didn’t have before?!! Is it my lack of hair product? Really? I need to start taking names of houses to visit once my hair falls out. I’ve got some scaring (and scarring) to do!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2010 2:05 pm

    Okay I might be a big fat dope but when I look at your after photo you didn’t look different to me. Different shirt. To me I can’t tell you are sans boobs.

    You are still Kathy to me. I don’t think you have lost who you are because of Cancer, you still come through loud and clear to me which is what I love the most about you — you are gritty and genuine.

    know what I mean?

  2. Schelli permalink
    February 21, 2010 5:35 pm

    I have enjoyed reading your stuff since the good old days at Diaryland. Your biting sense of humor is like no other than I know! I hope that you kick Cancer’s ass and keep on entertaining us for many years to come! 🙂

  3. February 21, 2010 5:50 pm

    What an amazing woman Allison is.

    I think people who don’t maintain friendships with others who have serious illness think that doing so would somehow cause them to face their own mortality. These are mostly people who generally find it difficult to think beyond themselves anyway. I used to work with someone who said he never went to hospitals or to funerals. Really? Because I don’t recall ever really getting that choice. But for him, maintaining his comfort level was waaaaay more important that ever being there for someone else. Anyway, such is my observation.

    P.S. I didn’t comment on the picture because I too thought you looked so wonderful that I must not be getting something about it, but perhaps that is just your natural look.

  4. February 21, 2010 7:06 pm

    I have a very dear friend whose brother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in August. By Thanksgiving it was clear he didn’t have much time left. He laid in the hospital for a few weeks, surrounded by family. I know my dear friend was having a hard time of it, and I kept offering to come sit with her. Yes, I was scared to see someone that ill, but I felt like it was my duty to do what I could for the folks having to deal with it. She asked me not to come, ultimately, and I respected her wishes and stayed home — but I hope that even the offer to sit with her helped her in some way. I never know what to do in these sorts of situations, but I’ve always heard that silence is exactly the wrong route to go. I may not say the right things, but at least the person knows I care.

    I am so far behind in blog-reading that it’s not even funny. But I paged back through your posts and saw your after photo. You do look wonderful!

  5. February 21, 2010 7:53 pm

    I think you’re doing everyone a great service by posting Allison’s message here and telling us how you feel at the same time. I, too, think you’ll kick cancer’s ass and take names, and I’m so glad you have such a great family and great friends around you to help.

  6. February 21, 2010 8:25 pm

    I remember being really surprised (not to mention hurt) by the way some people avoided me after my brother died. I just don’t get it.

  7. February 21, 2010 11:26 pm

    Glad to hear Thing 1 is making progress too! Hopefully both of you get to heal through this whole cancer thing! Hope the arm movement comes back for you before the chemo makes you feel lousy again! Hugs Bels

  8. kim birt permalink
    February 22, 2010 1:02 am

    I want you to know I am praying for you… and this Allison brochure is amazing wish I had this info with my Mom…. I also agree with Stephanie’s comment people leave when things get tough.. I lost alot of “friends” after my mom passed. Some friends right??? I want to let you know I will not leave even though we are just jewlery owners of your beautiful product…. If there is anything I can offer to you please let me know… YOU are an amazing, talented. funny, wise WOMAN!!! ok I know you don’t like hugs but I am sending you one (tee hee)
    Take care Kathy.

  9. poolagirl permalink
    February 22, 2010 10:12 am

    You keep it goin’ on! Yeah! That’s what I love about you, Kathy. And you will never lose yourself in all of this. You are still you! And for that I am grateful.

  10. capitolady permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:21 pm

    I don’t know if many people know what to say, but being there is important. You have such a great outlook so far. My sister said the best thing about chemo is that you don’t have to waste time in the shower, so much faster without hair. She’s stage 4 and has been doing great for 5 years now.

    Cancer doesn’t know what it is in for.

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