|Jeffersonville Outlet Mall - hoping to park there soon|
Yesterday's Today Show featured a woman who decided to host a head shaving party with her friends before she started chemo so she could get it over with. (I needed a haircut, and had already gotten the 'slighter shorter than Ellen, slighter longer than pre-chemo cut the day before). Losing my hair is not a deal breaker for me; I totally understand that some women view their hair as part of their identity and beauty. I'm just not one of them.
Personally, I am more pissed that Pantene decided to discontinue the blue shampoo for silver hair in order to thin their ridiculous amount of offerings. I need that stuff, no matter how much hair I have left. (Contact them and complain, maybe they will bring it back)
Telling people I have cancer has also brought an interesting range of responses. Which in a lot of ways reminds me of the reactions I received when I became, overnight, a 38 year old widow. I know people panic and blurt things out that they probably regret later. Or people figure that anything they say is probably going to come out wrong, so they say nothing. So here is my guide to what to say (and not), and it is pretty much interchangeable for grieving (which we also totally suck at dealing with as a society) or illness:
1 - I know just how you feel. One of my personal non-favorites. Really, do you? Probably not. People that really do - don't say that.
2 - It's nothing!/it will be fine!/think positive!. Unless you are one of my doctors, this probably doesn't help me much, and makes me want you to go away. Now. And take your ! with you.
3 - My mother/sister/co-worker/neighbor/grocery check-out clerk..... Right now, I am definitely not cheered up by hearing about everyone you ever knew that died from cancer, nor I am ready to meet everyone you know that survived. (Survivor intro offers are ok, and will be saved for later, - not saying that's a bad thing; I am just not ready to start my own club - death stories, um, better saved from later, don't you think?)
I think this is a natural response, and a way that people relate - I heard about every death that ever occurred, including beloved pet hamsters, when I was grieving, but I got tired of consoling the survivors when I was in the worst stage of dealing with my own grief. I am not terminal, so I really don't want to entertain that kind of thinking right now.
4 - Reminding me about all of the not so great things I've done that may have contributed to my diagnosis. Hey, you think I didn't already run that list in my head?
1 - Acknowledge, sympathize, support - It's really as simple as saying "I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Let me know if I can help". Hell, you don't even have to offer to help, just keep it simple. (If you do want to help, there are some cat boxes that will need attention the week of Thanksgiving, come on over). This article, probably better written than I could, also kind of sums it up.
To those that said "I don't know what to say". That works too. It's honest without being patronizing, and I appreciated that a lot.
So with the help of a little Valium, I survived the MRI. I thought about halfway through when my nose started to itch, the dye turned my left side icy, the metallic tasted filled my mouth and I felt nauseous and ready to scream, that I wasn't going to make it. The jackhammer noise, while laying on my belly with my face and boobs hanging through holes in table - surreal. But there was no freaking way I was going to have to start over, so I sucked it up and got through it.
Results next week. Hopefully no more, than was already revealed in the prior tests. Then next Friday, meeting the oncologist. It's turning into Cancer Fridays around here.