struggle, spirituality, absurdity

Ashamed to Talk About Leukemia

Until recently, I used to feel a bit ashamed to talk about the fact that I have leukemia when I met someone new (or even in normal conversation). This puzzled me. It’s an intense thing to find out about someone, to be sure, but why should I be afraid to bring it up? I’m the guy with cancer, after all.

After thinking about it for a while, I typically hesitated because I did not want to be that type that always seems to have something to complain about. It’s so hard to actually get to know someone like that, and I can imagine the reverse is true, as well.

You know the type. Drama, drama, drama.

This, of course, makes it all the more confusing when someone asks me how I am. “Well, I puked my guts out last night,” can come across as aggressive, at least in its openness and honesty. But then again, is that my problem? They’re the ones that asked…

I have leukemia. It sucks some times, though occasionally I don’t even think about it. But I don’t see the point in not bringing it up when it is on my mind, especially if I think I am trying to protect someone’s feelings or am afraid of their reaction.

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  2. The people who have earned your friendship & respect will be able to communicate with you openly & honestly about your leukemia (and with what is going on in their own lives). Its the same with HIV, or any other life-changing illness. Typically, people who don’t know you and ask “how are you” are expecting the standard “fine” back. People aren’t really prepared for (or even asking for) honesty.

    I’ve always been a bit puzzled/fascinated by society’s polite exchange of meaningless greetings. At least in Japan they bow to each other, to show respect.

    As far as “drama” goes, I’d much rather talk to you about your life than talk to most other people about their little ridiculous complaints about their job/car/hair/whatever. And as for the people who are a bit shocked when you tell them that your night consisted of puking your guts out, consider this: one day, those people will have a close friend/relative who has cancer, and hearing you tell them honestly about what its like to live with cancer will probably prepare them to be more understanding & communicative with that friend/relative, and probably anyone else they come across who has a battle to fight.

    Who knows, maybe it will even inspire them to join the battle, themselves.

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