The other day I mentioned on Facebook that if I ever find out I have cancer, I'm not going to talk about it on the Internet. And then I got this HUGE outpouring of sympathy from my Facebook friends for the cancer that I might someday have, people telling me I would need their support, or that they would be angry if I didn't tell them.
Here's the thing: From what I've seen online, and I am not talking only about my daughter but about bloggers I've followed, the first thing people say to a person diagnosed with cancer is, "You're so brave."
Maybe it's just me, but I think you are taking away that person's right to cry or be scared. You have put a label on her that she now has to live up to, at least in public.
My daughter once again has cellulitis in her arm, so it's another round of antibiotics for her. It keeps happening, over and over, and she's sick of it.
When she told me about this yesterday evening, she caught me right in the middle of a moment of hilarity, laughing so hard at Cliff that I couldn't even talk and tell him why I was laughing. And then, the bad news. Which reminds me I should remember that when I'm having the time of my life, there are others who have having their lowest moments, usually unbeknownst to me. But I digress.
If I had fought my way through cancer and all these after-effects happened to me, I wouldn't want to feel as though I had to act brave. I might want to cry or shout or be angry in full view of everybody. I wouldn't want to hear your "look on the bright side" or "at least it isn't ...." remarks, even though I would know you meant well. By the way, I am the queen of "saying the wrong thing at the wrong time" so I really can't throw stones at anybody.
This isn't my daughter's opinion, it's mine. We have many opposing opinions and ideas, partly due to the fact that I'm an introvert and she's an extrovert. I wouldn't want anybody to think I was repeating her thoughts; she has never said anything like this. I still think I might not tell "the Internet" that I had cancer. Or maybe if I decided to tell them (you?), I would demand that they NEVER call me brave or strong. I'm not brave and strong now, and cancer certainly wouldn't turn me into a superhero.