A Bad Day

It happens.  Well-intentioned people can say the most astonishingly insensitive things; people in possession of big hearts and sound minds can sometimes be devastatingly negative.  Short of punching them in the nose, what do you do?


The other day a dear friend said the following to me:


“I was talking to a client who has breast cancer and I told her about you and she told me it’s really not good when you get it when you’re young, the chances of surviving are really not good!  And I said, Oh no, why are you telling me this?!?”


More to the point, why was she telling me this??


Good person, bad judgment. 


I tried to brush it off, but the truth is I felt robbed of a lot of the optimism that has carried me through this fight. I just want to walk away from this time of having breast cancer and never look back.  Those words made me feel that I can’t do that.


(My mother texted me after I told her this little tale: “I will kill her with my bare hands and pull her tongue out.”  That’s mothers for you – they just rock.)


Today when I went in for treatment I asked my oncologist, who very reasonably told me that there are too many variables and factors in each case to make a generalized statement like that; that there are too many different kinds of breast cancer…  That yes, of course I am at greater risk of recurrence (having had breast cancer, having had it travel to my lymph nodes) but that I am being treated “curatively.”  Ultimately she can do a statistical analysis of my particular case, but, she explained, the results are just statistical, and many people prefer not to be given those stats.  Then I asked her whether I could consider having another child if ovarian function returns — she said I need to consider the probability of recurrence when I make that decision.


For the first time in a long time, I was a mess today.  The nurses who have treated me for more than a year were surprised to find me in a tearful heap in my giant recliner as they hooked me up to my IV.  Luckily they had pecan pie on hand. 


There was no bad news today – if anything my oncologist was reassuring.  I’m just having a bad day.  A bad cancer day.  There are good days and bad days, and this one just isn’t a good one.  But in general, I have far more good ones than bad. And maybe tomorrow will be a good day again.


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