No one can really appreciate the horrors of cancer treatment unless they've been through it and that includes some cancer patients who were lucky enough to get off pretty easy.
I was recently talking with someone who also had cancer. We were talking about traveling and I told him that I had stopped traveling for a number of years, and was about to start again, and when he asked me why I had stopped, I mentioned that the cancer experience had caused me some trepidation about being away from home. I wasn't looking for sympathy, just expecting some understanding from a person who'd also had cancer. And his response was "GET OVER IT" You're cured. Forget about the cancer ".
He was fortunate. He had had surgery, they got it all, and he was done. No chemo, no radiation. In my case, I had continual setbacks and complications following stage 3 bilateral mastectomies with latissimus flap reconstruction which resulted in a two year siege of hospital admissions due to infectious diseases, surgical revisions, drains, tubes, hoses, tests, chemo, radiation, interventional radiology, lymphedema therapy, physical therapy, scar therapy, MRI's, ultrasounds, CAT scans, numerous rounds of intravenous antibiotics, ongoing wound care, iron infusions, home nurses, inpatient care facilities, etc. Not a day went by that I didn't have at least one or two medical appointments or procedures. I can't even remember a lot of it. My entire life was hospitals, doctors offices and treatment centers for two years. I only started to feel a little more like myself when the port was finally removed a few years ago.
What would be your response to someone who was so cavalier about another person's experience without knowing what he or she been through?
I'm a 7 year AML survivor -very rare. I made it to transplant. I went through it all with blood cancer, including a bone marrow transplant. Most patients die before transplant. Recovery took 5 years then I had heart failure. Another 2 years of recovery. They have no right to say anything. Your cancer is your story. Why I started this group.
Im Very sympathic to your situation since I'm going through the same thing right now. Sitting in the waiting room for radiation treatment right now. You don't get over it. Your life is forever changed. If your friend can't understand that, I'm not sure if I would want to be friends with this person.
I would tell him that while I respected his experience, I didn't appreciate his response. I would also tell him, as you mentioned, that he was very lucky -- and also, that he should also be very grateful.
Everyone's experience is different and it's no one's place to tell anyone else how they should be dealing with their diagnosis or treatment. But unfortunately people who've had cancer can be just as insensitive as anyone else.
I must confess I would not initially be too concerned, as I have lived with a slow acting, inoperable cancer for 4 years and am quite stoical about it.
On the other hand I wouldn't be "Get over it" in attitude. I would merely accept the reply as another person's attitude to life.
If the person then explained why, I would become concerned and supportive. I do hope you enjoy your travelling. You deserve it after those horrific years of pretty drastic treatment.