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Religion and manners (or lack there of)

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DynoReads

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Going through chemo I haven't minded too much the physical changes happening. Well showering when my hair was falling out was a nightmare - very fine hairs that I could feel but not get off.

 

How others are reacting is getting to me. At work I've had to report two cancer survivors to administration. Both tried to offer me support, before I had announced my cancer. One chose to discuss it in the public bathroom where students were present. The other thought it was a great idea to tell me her horrible experience with the IV port on the day I was getting the port, then the day before my first infusion with it.

 

There are also all the people wanting to pat me somewhere. I understand the need to touch. But chemo doesn't just kill cancer and hair follicles. It also kills bone marrow cells, the ones making blood cells. So chemo patients get sick and bruise easily. 

 

Now I have complete strangers wanting to give me blessed or annointed religious objects, while I'm on my cell phone.

 

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People want to be empathetic and offer support, but few know how to be tactful about it. Sorry you're going through this. There are several people I know experiencing chemo treatment right now, and I don't know how to be helpful other than offer a kind word and be present if/when they need me for something. 

 

That being said, I hope that you are doing all right. 

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People mean well, but they need to realize that not all advice or comments are welcome or helpful.  I can't stand it when people tell horror stories to someone about to go through a difficult procedure.  I'm sorry you're dealing with all this.  What you're going through is stressful enough without all the added 'help'.  :hug:  I hope you're doing ok otherwise.  

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I've been where you are.  Tell the unwanted advisors to take a hike. Preferably a long one off a short pier!

36 minutes ago, MacGreg said:

People want to be empathetic and offer support, but few know how to be tactful about it. Sorry you're going through this. There are several people I know experiencing chemo treatment right now, and I don't know how to be helpful other than offer a kind word and be present if/when they need me for something. 

 

That being said, I hope that you are doing all right. 

The best thing you can do Mac is treat them the way you did BC ( before cancer).  Make sure they know you would like to help, dont treat them any differently, and DON'T avoid them on the basis of they may not feel up to it. If they are not up for something they will tell you.

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I’m so sorry you are going through this; doubly sorry you are being inundated - and hurt - by well meaning, yet clueless individuals. 

 

I offer you my hopes for healing and peace for restoration. 

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5 hours ago, MacGreg said:

I don't know how to be helpful other than offer a kind word and be present if/when they need me for something. 

Everything I’ve read says be specific, like ask if you can make dinner for them, give them a ride. Don’t take it personal if they overreact, this is overwhelming at times. You know your friends, cancer hasn’t changed their personality, so keep treating them as before. 

 

My biggest unmet need was someone to talk about the negative aspects, fear of death, etc. I found a program that links people with my particular cancer with an oncology social worker. Maybe you can find a similar program for your friends.

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:hug:Sorry you have to add to what you’re already dealing with.. 

Thinking of you, and hoping all will be/is ok.. 

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I think this is part of why people used to bring over a casserole. It allows those overwhelmed by a stressful situation to not have to think about preparing a meal. It’s a way of showing you care without being too intrusive.
;–)
 

I think people just don’t know any better. In most situations, a caring touch is a welcome gesture. I’m sure many are trying to show that they don’t think differently of you, but don’t realize how inappropriate it is in this case.

I’m sure I’ve said and done many inappropriate things in the past.

I unthinkingly mentioned to my favorite Aunt that her three older sisters had all suffered from severe memory problems at the end of their lives. I hadn’t thought through that she was the fourth sister. I think my family is used to me putting my foot in my mouth.

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Update - I have had several other co-workers approach me. The 50+ crowd, with 2 exceptions, are not being tactful and and when reminded of my preference get condesending with me. The 20-30 crowd asks tactfulky if they can ask questions. Their questions are about chemo, how it's administered, how it works, trying to understand.

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Not to excuse those of us who are over 50, but I’d have to think that part of that tactlessness is due to the changing attitudes towards cancer. In the past cancer was a horrible secret that wasn’t supposed to be discussed. Now that times have changed, older people don’t know where the lines are drawn and how best to approach the topic. Plus there are people who just can’t help putting their feet in their mouths.

We’re all a bunch of Joe Bidens who, most of us anyway, don’t intend to offend, but do it out of habit or ignorance. I apologize for all the times I carelessly insulted anyone or unintentionally crossed boundaries. And I’m sorry in advance for the mistakes I’ll make in the future. (I’ll just point to this posting at the appropriate times.)

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6 hours ago, droughtquake said:

 older people don’t know where the lines are drawn and how best to approach the topic.

In most places this would be true. However I teach at a private school founded on six principles, two of which are non-judgemental and do what is right. Neither of those principals leave room for what is going on.

At a weekly meeting the head of staff, XXX, addressed gossip about me by confirming that I had a medical issue but preferred to choose when, which and how I share. He directed the staff to not approach me about it. This clearly drew boundaries which most of the 50+ crowd have ignored. This lead to the middle school principal asking me to speak in the staff meeting. I did so, stressing that I didn't want to discuss it, that work was my safe haven from cancer and reminding staff that we are there for the students and that is where I want to focus.

One teacher had requested copies of an assignment from one of my students. When I took her the assignment and supplies,  Sha said "I know what XXX said in huddle (weekly meeting) but ..." Then began telling me all the horrible side effects she had from chemo. She also had the gall to tell XXX that I approached her. XXX agreed that bringing an assignment wasn't bringing up chemo. She didn't stop there, she kept trying to find ways to be involved indirectly.

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I’m very sorry you’ve had to endure the unwanted intrusions of your coworkers. I also teach in a close knit school community. What you say sounds all too true to the experience here. My thoughts and hopes are with you. 

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