Funny Thing about (Potentiolly) Dying

Aside from a few particular moments of sharp fear (like when they thought I had cancer on my spine), I never seriously though about it all that way. I mean, you know the possibilities of what you’re dealing with. You’re scared poopless. Obviously you know the implications. But it’s not the same as thinking you are going to die. I did not believe the latter – at all. You just go through your days doing what you have to do so that it doesn’t “get (any further) out of hand”, so to speak. So imagine what a conversation such as this was like…

Friend: So what’s the latest news?

Me: Well, Dr. Awesome said that there are no signs of cancer anywhere and that he feels strongly that I “don’t need to worry about the future.” He feels optimistic that the odds are against a recurrence for me. Of course…that’s no guarantee, but it sure is nice to hear.

Friend: [lets out a deep breath] That’s great! Oh, I’m so glad. Because, you know, this whole time I was thinking thinking you were a goner.

Uh….wow. What do you say to that?! I’m not offended. I’m…I’m…I’m… just struck. Speechless. by this. Because, well, excuse me but who said anything about dying?! I know I didn’t! As far as I’m concerned, that was not in the deck of cards I was playing with. It’s weird to realize that others might have been thinking differently the whole time. Planning for a different outcome than you. One that was so bad they couldn’t admit to it. Creepy.

A fellow friend in treatment and I had a long conversation about this (laughing, as only a fellow friend in treatment could do) and she had similar experiences. After hearing the doctor say that her scans came back clear, someone close to her exhibited disbelief, saying, “You’re going to be fine? Really? Well…I never thought of that. I thought cancer was cancer. You know…”.

I guess it’s one of those things where you have to remind yourself of their intentions. They’re not trying to wish you unwell, be insensitive or be dramatic. They just don’t know. As much as I wanted my loved ones to really understand what I was going through, I suppose in the end, hopefully, they never really will.

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4 Comments

Filed under breast cancer

4 responses to “Funny Thing about (Potentiolly) Dying

  1. At the beginning, when I was first diagnosed, yes I did think about the possibility that I could die. I have 2 children so I was thinking more along the lines of..I’m not finished here, they still need me, I’m not going anywhere and that helped me to rally myself for the big strong fighting spirit I wanted behind me.

    As for other people, most of my family and friends kept telling me I wasn’t going to die and I really didn’t encounter anyone who thought differently. I surround myself with positive people and don’t give too much thought to the negative ones that drift in. On my own level I never thought the cancer would be bigger than me. I needed that mind set. I don’t think it will come back either. As you said, there are no guarantees but I’ve chosen to believe what I think.

    People who say things like “thought you were a goner” show their own insecurities and want to transfer them to you. Best to just smile and say “thanks for caring”!! 🙂

  2. I’m not sure which I find more interesting, that you didn’t have a head-on collision with your mortality or that you know people who had you buying a plot prematurely.

    I’m floored that your friends would admit to thinking you were dying when you never gave them a reason to think so. People are weird!

  3. Most folks are just scared by the possibility of death. When they are confronted with the mortality of someone that they know, it bring the subject front and center. It’s not just about losing a friend,they have to confront the possibility that they, like all of us, will one day face death.

    The other part of it is that they just don’t know the facts. Most people I talk to either think that my wife is on death’s doorstep or they think that this is just a bump in life’s road. It takes a few minutes to paint the whole picture but once they see the figures and understand how they work, they get it.

    What surprised me most was how our health care team either never mentioned statistics or they used them in a misleading way. Once I confronted them with the numbers, they reluctantly backed up. After all, they are not clinical investigators. They just know what they’ve seen day to day in their office.

  4. Erin

    Did your friend really use the word ‘goner’!??? I feel bad that this phrase made me laugh! ‘I thought you were a goner’ is just so crude!

    Anyway, I’m glad Dr Awesome gave you some good news! Yee haw!

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