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You're Feeling Better Now, Right?

silly thing

People don’t know what to say. They mean well; it’s often better that they say something than feed that looming elephant in the room. But generally, we’re all very good at putting our foot in it.

Those close to you desperately want you to be healthy again. Their words show such positivity. ‘You’re feeling better now, right?’ That closed expectant question reflects all their hopefulness. They will it so much that it leaves you no option not to be, ‘right?’ It denies you the option of honesty. There is no room to explain how you truly feel. You find yourself nodding instinctively.

The sad fact is that however radiant and gorgeous you may look on the outside, it reveals little of what goes on within. Much like the original tumour, the lingering health issues of remission are generally hidden. The invisible enemy that is cancer has been replaced by an invisible chronic condition that is even harder to explain.

People see the world in binary terms – you are one or the other: happy, or sad; either ‘sick’ or ‘healthy’. If you look well, others perceive it must be so. In the media, cancer survivors are heroes that vanish off into the sunset. This is the easiest way of viewing cancer survivorship; all the nasty stuff over and done with, it’s easy to forget and move on. Kairol Rosenthal, author of Everything Changes cuts to the chase with her description: “You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions… I wanted to be freed of these limiting descriptors and perceptions.”

This limited view of the world is not helpful to anyone, least of all you.  So should you be honest? 

How do you respond?

View discussion 6 comments

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Discussion

Hari (not verified)

Thanks for sharing Laura. Hari

Heather (not verified)

I get fed up with being honest with people, I find they generally don't want to know. That "How are you?" is maybe just something to say and, do people really want to know the answer? I'm actually not sure! Gret article x

admin

Maybe we need a replacement question -something a little more open!

FCancerAK

Depends who asks. Some people, they aren't asking because they really care, they are just asking (I think) because they see you and remember that you had this thing that was cancer. Those people I just say, yep, all is good. I tell my close friends, though, what is going on. Plus, I share my stories on my blog, which I think allows my close friends insights that they wouldn't know to ask about, which then prompts conversations.

Val Davies. (not verified)

E classic comment I had was after I had the all clear of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma after 4 sessions of chemotherapy - a phone call from a lady on another matter. She finished off asking how I was - I replied- not having a good day. Well - came the reply - you have had the best news of all!! People
think you can just go back to as you were before. Still got side effects 18 months later.

Val Davies. (not verified)

E classic comment I had was after I had the all clear of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma after 4 sessions of chemotherapy - a phone call from a lady on another matter. She finished off asking how I was - I replied- not having a good day. Well - came the reply - you have had the best news of all!! People
think you can just go back to as you were before. Still got side effects 18 months later.