I’ve written about this before, but when I first got really sick, I wasn’t prepared for peoples’ reactions. I expected, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. How are you feeling? Is there anything I can do for you?” But this was the exception, not the rule. People around you don’t always understand (and aren’t always supportive of) someone chronically ill. I can’t even count how many times people stopped talking to me, or when they did, would say things like “Just shake it off. When *I* have a cold, I just take some medicine and keep partying like a rock star.”
One of my observations, which still stands, was that you can’t really blame people for reacting like this. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to be sympathetic or their job to make me feel better. I’m sure they also don’t know what to say. And, in the end, everyone has to make decisions about the people they keep close, and most of us make those decisions based on how people make us feel. Being around a sick person probably doesn’t make you feel your best.
Now that I’ve come through some of the difficulties of my illness and am more or less on the other side, I realize how valuable that observation was. The people who did take the time and make the effort to be supportive, even though it WASN’T their job, even though they DIDN’T know what to say, are still my strongest allies. And they’re also some of the most positive people around me.
I used to be sad when friendships changed or came to an end. Now something that both training AND cancer have helped me realized is that cycles are vital in our lives. If we had the same workout or the same treatments, all the time, no matter the condition of our bodies, we wouldn’t get results. They both have to be tailored to the obstacles we are hoping to overcome and goals we’d like to achieve. Well, the same goes with the people in our lives; some are around for many cycles and some are around just for specific moments.
I’m going through a few of the most outstanding months of my life. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you there haven’t been rocky patches, because life is not without those, no matter how amazing it is (especially when you’re battling health problems and trying to work several jobs). But, overall, I end each day feeling somewhat accomplished and focused and happy. And positive.
I’m thankful for the people who have remained positive with me, but I’m also thankful for those who have come and gone.
2011 is going to be an amazing year. I can just feel it.