After receiving a diagnosis of cancer, your perspective of normal changes. All of sudden normal becomes doctor appointments, test results, research and decision making. Every waking moment is spent trying to deal with the news that cancer has come to rest at your house, in your body. Normal becomes talking about things that you only see on TV and read about in the news. Normal becomes phones calls to loved ones and friends to keep them up to date with your results and appointments. Answering the ever popular, “How are you today?” becomes difficult because you never know if someone has heard of your diagnosis and is truly inquiring how you are doing; or if they are just being polite. And, everyone you care about is trying to avoid talking about their problems or daily concerns because they don’t want to ‘burden’ you with more.
I can’t speak for other cancer survivors, but for me I like to hear about other people’s normal. Life doesn’t stop because of cancer. The kids still have school, Rick still has work and everyone else still has their lives. Listening to my family talk about their day and what concerns them brings back the ‘old’ normal and makes me feel needed and important.
One of the nicest phone calls I had was with my sister a week ago. I called to tell her about a doctor’s appointment. But, when I called she was chasing kids around trying to get them ready for bed. She immediately shared about her day with the kids, how my niece stood up for herself on the playground and how my nephew was fascinated with batteries! (Yeah, weird, I know…but I love him). All of sudden, normal wasn’t about cancer. It was about us being sisters and sharing our joys and trials as mothers. I often give her advice because her kids are younger than mine and I feel like I’ve “been there, done that”. And, it made everything feel normal.
Normal is relative now. It comes and goes with every appointment and test result. But, I haven’t changed. Cancer isn’t going to stop me from being mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
Semi-Normal and Believing!