It’s the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada. My niece came over Thursday night. Seeing her is always nice. She’s 3 so still very innocent and loving. It cheers me up and makes me smile when I see her. She was here the entire weekend! 🙂
Thursday during the day I went to a painting workshop at the hospital. Art for Cancer in conjunction with the Survivor Clinic at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. It was great!! We used acrylic on a canvas and then got to take our painting home. I loved it and have signed up for the next workshop in June. It was very therapeutic and relaxing. There was also a short meditation. It was for any skill level from someone who’s never painted to the artist. I would recommend any sort of art therapy to anyone at any stage of breast cancer treatment.
Saturday morning we drove to Buffalo for my baby brothers convocation. He completed his PhD in physical therapy. So proud of him. It was a really good day!
Sunday went to a friends place for her birthday lunch. She along with a couple of other friends were unaware of what I was going through as I didn’t share with them until recently. Once treatment was done and I was emotionally feeling a little stronger I was going to share but they happened to find out through my blog before I could tell them. Now I do get that they may have felt a little hurt that I didn’t share but it was about me, not them. I was faced with the possibility of death and treatment is so brutal that I really was just trying to get through each day. I had the support I needed and most of the time didn’t feel like talking. In this situation my feelings should be respected. I did tell a few friends, the friends who were closest to me but beyond that I didn’t. One of the friends I didn’t tell had a baby at the end of August. That would have been too difficult for me to handle at that time. Not only that, having a newborn, that would have been her priority. So what was the point of telling her if it was only going to make me feel bad and she would not have been able to give me the support I needed. I also only told people who continued to ask how I was doing from time to time even though they didn’t know the details of what was going on. So even some of my closest friends didn’t find out until October. They were fine with the fact that I shared when I was ready. I wasn’t going to share with anyone who did not continue to stay in touch regardless of whether they knew or not.
I read an article by a singer who had gone through breast cancer. She told a friend and that friend had such an emotional reaction that she said in her article do not tell your friends. I do think sharing with the friends who are going to have a dramatic reaction is not helpful because then you are trying to tell them that you’re going to be ok and comforting them, when really that’s what you need from them.
In the end it’s about you and what’s best for you in terms of getting through this and surviving. Once you have the support you need, you can choose whether to share or not. Talking was really quite exhausting at that time. It’s worse when someone knows and they expect you to talk to them because if you really don’t feel like it, they may not understand. That actually did happen to me because the person was just not good at communicating via text. He was hurt and that was not my intention at all. It was frustrating for me to have him not get that it wasn’t personal but I just didn’t have the physical or emotional energy to talk most of the time. He was also dealing with some things at the time. We are good now. It’s hard to explain to someone who has not been through this or some sort of major health issue. It’s also exhausting to have to explain. I know someone who only shared with his girlfriend and maybe a friend but his immediate family didn’t even know. Wow! He probably figured what’s the point. I don’t know, everyone deals with things differently.
Writing was my main outlet. You write when you feel like it and stop when you feel like it. There’s also no instant response to deal with. I would tell anyone going through this to write even if it’s in a journal. I would also say that you share with who YOU want to share with and when YOU feel ready to share. It’s about YOU, not anyone else. All you can do is hope that you’re feelings are respected and that people understand. And if they don’t then oh well because it’s not your job to manage their emotions while struggling to manage your own and fighting for your life.