Hey my people, Check out The Sickness Closet, a brilliant column in Salon today by my awesome fellow cancer vet Mary Elizabeth Williams. The subject is: do we let people know we're dealing with the C, or do we keep it secret?
I mean, keeping it all a secret just can't be good. I get this picture of my trillions of cells trying to fend off the cancer while also pouring out energy to explain my oddly long lunch hours and my blood-test band-aids, and, who knows, whether my wig is on straight. Talk about your strength-sappers!
On the other hand… Next to the shock power of the C word itself, the second-most-awful C word comes from your insurance company: CANCELLED. So the closet starts to look pretty good. Except that hiding encourages people to think cancer is worse than it is. If we're sick one day, we'll be better the next. We're not dead.
We're alive, thank you very much!
Most of us who come down with cancer go right on living. For every curve the illness throws at us, we discover new strength and new purpose. The folks who count us out… and those who want us to keep cancer a deep, dark secret… I'm guessing they're really scared of cancer themselves. Not that I blame them.
But here's the thing. If I'm hiding my cancer journey, how can I help with yours?