A couple of months ago, when I wasn’t able to drive (post hospital recovery), my friend came and took me on an “outing”, like one would do for their aging grandma. When we got in the car she said, “So, here’s why I hate you, in a nutshell.” My offenses were all a result of the “benefits” she was jealous of as a result of me having Leukemia. I agree that she has some valid points. See what you think…
1. “I hate you because you have amazing perspective that only comes from having a life-threatening disease”. She is right. It comes pretty natural to “not sweat the small stuff” when you are focused on, well, fighting for your life. The situations I used to get worked up over (kids leaving their stuff around the house, husband not putting his plate in the sink, the neighbor’s leaves blowing in my yard, etc.) just don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. My new perspective on what REALLY matters keeps me less frantic and naggy. I am able to live one moment at a time and enjoy those moments more fully. I can see why this would cause her to be envious of me.
2. “I hate you because you have lost 15 lbs. and you can eat whatever you want and you don’t have to worry about working out.” Well, one thing that should give her some joy is that now, 2 months post-“I hate you” conversation, I have gained every bit of that weight back (It was good while it lasted). At that time, however, I did look pretty great (aside from being bald and having a flat, saggy booty). I actually really enjoyed myself during that period. I ate things like bread (remember bread, ladies?), french fries, full-fat salad dressing and even drank, dare I admit it, ORANGE JUICE. It’s been years since I ingested any of those items without feeling like I “fell off the wagon.” I totally see my friend’s point on this one.
3. “I hate you because no one expects anything from you.” True. No one expects me to do things like clean my own house, cook my own dinner, wash my own dishes, put away my own laundry or buy my own groceries. Better yet, I don’t have to pick up my own kids from activities or sit for 4 hours in the rain and sleet at a track meet (don’t tell them I said that).
4. “I hate you because people feel sorry for you and workers are nice to you at the check out counter.” This is true. People ARE nicer to me. My friends and family say the nice things they had been meaning to say to me but never got around to it. When I go to the store, if I am not “wearing hair”, they treat me, well, like I have cancer. They are kinder and more helpful.
5. “I hate you because you can get by with wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt to a cocktail party.” Yes. That really happened. And a Wonder Woman Do-Rag, I might add. Enough said.
6. “I hate you because you’re not pathetic like you should be. You’re an inspiration.” Ok-now that’s pretty sweet. I won’t argue with her.
7. “I hate you because you have an excuse to do or not do anything you want and yet you choose to do the right thing.” I might argue on this one.
8. I hate that your chart says you’re a Marathon Runner. That makes me sick.” It makes me sick too. She is right. It says that. Only it’s not true. Apparently, when I went in that first night with Leukemia, my husband said something like, “how can this be? She’s young, eats healthy and ran a couple of half marathons last year?!?!”. What they heard, and what was documented on my chart, was, “She runs Marathons.” So, the doctors would come by and try to encourage me, “don’t you worry. We’ll get you back to running those Marathons in no time!” Um. No thank you, friend.
9. “I hate you because people give you gift cards to fun places.” I have to say, I agree and am working on a scheme to keep those gift cards acomin’ post-recovery. I think maybe they should continue until I am delcared officially Leukemia free…which takes 5 years. 🙂
10. “I hate you because you write amazing blogs that helped me even when you’re the one needing help.” I like this one best. I really like writing these blogs and a few other people seem to be helped by them too. That makes my heart happy. If it has ever helped anyone out there, I hope it has helped your heart feel happy too.
So-I listened patiently to her monologue. Then, I gently said, “You remember I still have Leukemia, right? It’s like, a potentially terminal disease.” She sort of rolled her eyes and didn’t say it out loud, but I could tell, at the time, that death kind of sounded like an excuse to finally get some rest.
I think she has some pretty good reasons to hate me. Maybe you do too. How tired, frenzied, unfocused, stretched-thin, exhausted, stressed out, maxed-out, burned-out, are we, when having Leukemia sounds like a vacation?