“I have seen cancer at close quarters. Even my dad was treated at the Institute, when I was at the tender age of 17. You know something…. for someone to go through chemo is very painful. I know everything about cancer.”
An excerpt of the conversation that Suresh and I had with an acquaintance , one of my fellow volunteers for the Cancer Institute Foundation. He was reminiscing about his father’s struggle and we felt sorry for him. I could sense that Suresh was trying to steer the conversation away from the topic and successfully did too the moment he got a chance. You could see a small genie on either side of my head , one asking me to share my C saga and the other shouting “Shush..Not now..” .
I think this is a question everyone faces , depending on the circumstance , whether it be their health,monetary or emotional struggle. Sharing it with someone may either make it better or worse. There have been times when I have shared my health history , just to pep up someone, so that they would not feel bad about their situation. Once, when I was helping a friend , explaining about one of my surgeries, just because she needed help and asked me,only to encounter a face filled with horror. Seriously, not something I expected and I certainly don’t enjoy talking about my past.I did it because she asked and really wanted to know.
Sometimes, you encounter people who are not empathetic though they might be sympathetic. And again, there are others who feel disgusted or depressing.Anyway, five years into remission and I am still not comfortable talking about it to normal people . I really admire celebrities like Lisa Ray who are able to share their struggle with the world, especially after reading some of the comments where people talk nonsense. Some people even post about Lisa in their blogs, not understanding what pain it really takes. It is very different to talk about it than experience and feel it, IMHO.