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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chemotherapy Etiquette

I am experiencing some interesting reactions to chemotherapy, and as I start to feel the full effects, I expect a few more.  If you know me in real life, here are some things I need:

1) Please refrain from commenting on my hair loss.  I try to cover it up and such, but it is not your place to peer at my scalp and tell me where the bald spots are.  If I bring it up, okay--that means I trust you enough to talk about it.  I don't know what to say to people who peer at the baldness and comment on it, to be honest.  I know they mean well,

2) Please don't tell me how beautiful my hair was "before".

3) I won't try your potions, nasty herbs, etc. in lieu of chemotherapy.  Imuran is lifelong.  Get over it.  Herbs and concoctions can actually interfere with its efficacy.

4) I am truly sorry if you had a loved one who died of cancer and that is why you can't "handle me having chemotherapy."  My grandmother Mary was the only person who loved and protected me in my childhood and she died of cancer when I was eleven, leaving me without anyone who cared about me for many years.  I am sorry for your trauma...I am happy to listen to it and commiserate, but if you reject me because I am on chemotherapy or have health challenges, get the hell out of my life until you deal with your own problems and decide to be a decent human being.  Being ill doesn't mean I am a pariah.  And it's hubristic to think that you'll never be in my place, or have to deal with another loved one undergoing chemo.

5) I will reject, loudly, any blame for my illness, and also for any sexual assaults I have experienced in my lifetime. I have done some things wrong in dealing with both, and I take responsibility only for that.  The only people to blame for sexual abuse are sick perpetrators who prey on people, and especially nice, trusting people and kids. I am not going to stop being a nice, trusting person because there are sickos in the world.  If you feel like people are to blame for the horrible things that happen to them without their consent, please go away until such time as you decide to leave the Stone Age.

I guess that's all.  I guess that it boils down to human decency, kindness, and compassion for someone who has decided to fight like hell for life--it is an honorable choice, a hard and conscious fight, and should be respected fully.