That Doesn’t​ Help

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. Over the past few months I have been rehearsing for a play and last week was the week before we opened. This means, for those who are not into theater, that I worked all day and then went to rehearsal during the evening. Most nights, I was there until around 11:30 p.m. I am not complaining, I love it. However, it did make it more difficult than I realized to get out a post. So, anyways, that’s my reason for the little hiatus.

Over the past few weeks, Andrea has been going every day to radiation. While it is frustrating that our lives are literally put on hold each day, the good thing is that she has not experienced some of the horrible effects that we were warned about. For the most part, she is just really tired, other than that, she is doing great.

In some respects, we are getting back to life as usual. That doesn’t mean that everything has been wonderful. One of the things we are plagued with during our cancer treatment is the constant commenting we get from people. Most people are genuinely sweet. However, there are those few who feel it is their job to offer their medical advice, comment on our own medical decisions, inform us of the problems with our eating habits with no knowledge of what we ingest, and some even try to help by telling their stories of pain, destruction and the ultimate death of their loved ones.

I get why people do this. The problem is that it does not help us out at all. Take for instance the conversation my wife had a few weeks ago. While in a store she came into conversation with a person while checking out. As is usual, this person commented on her hair. Most people assume it’s a chosen hairstyle. We normally laugh this off when we get into the car. Some people don’t stop at the complementing and proceed to ask, “why?” she chose the hairstyle. When this is asked, we are honest. It’s not for fashion, it’s Scruffy’s fault.

The individual who commented on Andrea’s hair began a long diatribe about a family member who lost their battle with breast cancer. I wasn’t there to hear the story, I just was at home when Andrea came in with tears in her eyes. I am sure the woman was trying to sympathize, but it only brought out the same fear that we have lived with since last June. The fear that the cancer isn’t really gone. The fear that Ole Scruffy will come back. The fear that my wife will still die.

As I have said before, one of the problems with battling cancer is that it is very lonely. A lot of people see the pictures of victory we publish on facebook. No one sees the tears we cry late at night. Conversations, like the one Andrea had, only exacerbate the issues. They only force us to relive the whole ordeal over again. I know people are trying to be kind, but instead of offering a balm for our souls they are wrenching a knife deep into our hearts.

That very same week I stayed late after a rehearsal to socialize with the cast. Andrea normally doesn’t care, she just goes to bed. When I called her on the way home I could tell something was wrong. As I listened to her talk I could hear in the tremble of her voice that she had been crying for awhile. I asked her why she didn’t tell me to come home. Her response was typical Andrea, she told me she didn’t want to bother me or rob me of having a good time with friends.

When I got home I found my bride curled up in bed. She was just staring out into the darkness. Her eyes were red from a long bout with fear. I had no words. I just got ready for bed, pulled her close, and let her weep on me. To be fair, I wept on her as well. We ended up staying up another hour. We didn’t talk much. We just wanted to feel the other person’s heart beating.

People are not privy to our pain. No matter how well I describe it, no one will ever be able to experience it on the same level that we do. Our story, our struggle, is unique to us. It’s unique to everyone who goes through any type of tragedy. I know personally the need to process what is being experienced. That’s the main purpose of this blog right now. However, at this point in our journey, the stories of loss or the constant reminding us that our diet is the culprit for Ole Scruffy, or that if we just drank the Koolaid from whatever cult practice that is revolutionary, just adds to the stress. It rarely helps us heal. Most of the time, it adds to the well of sorrow we are trying to replace with joy. I know most people are not vicious, but it feels that way. I know most people want to help, unfortunately, it just opens old scars.


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