I didn't want to meet every other week. "We will have cancer for years;" I pointed out, "it is better to meet once a month, over a longer period of time." Then I went to the first meeting... and couldn't wait for the next one.
Our second meeting focused on communication.
Our exercise: Creating Metaphors
Fill in the blank:
For me, talking about cancer is like _______________________.
P: bursting people's bubbles ("הפלנו עוד חללית")
T: a rope that binds [people together]
B: reading from a book, about someone else
C: removing a stone from my heart ("להוריד אבן מהלב")
L: a key that opens my heart
a springboard to get to know myself better ("מנוף")
MA: a destroyer ("קוטלת") that leads to healing ("ריפוי"); talking destroys the disease
Y: like sitting on a beach, under a tree ("הקלה")
RivkA: having a job [working in hazbara; educating the world about cancer]
getting rid of a burden (by sharing the burden with everyone around me)
I was actually surprised by my own answer. Not by the second part; that, I knew. But by the first part.
I had not realized the amount of energy I put into trying to explain/inform/reassure the people around me. I had not recognized that as an additional burden.
I expend a tremendous amount of thought into "the packaging."
How do I let someone know, without freaking them out? How do I gently explain that this is not a "short term thing", but a life time of dealing with cancer? How do I evoke understanding without sympathy? (empathy is fine, but I do not want people feeling sorry for me) How do I communicate that I want things to be "normal", even as I am describing how abnormal everything is?
How can I expect other people to make sense of this, when I can not make sense of it myself?
I have no answers, but I keep trying to find them.
Cancer is a tough item to "package".
For me, talking about cancer is like having a job educating about cancer.
On the other hand, the fact that it is out in the open, the fact that I can talk/cry/laugh/joke about it, means that I am not alone in dealing with it. Every time I talk/cry/laugh/joke about my cancer, I deposit a little bit of my burden on someone else's shoulders.
For me, talking about cancer is a way of sharing my burden.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,