Hi, my name is Rick (“Hi, Rick….”) and I have cancer….

Posted on October 4, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

OK – the elephant in the room now has a name, and everyone knows what it is.  If this comes off sounding like a rant, I’ll apologize in advance.  My only real intent with this post is to hopefully put more of you at ease with the fact that I have cancer, and that – God willing – everything is going to be OK.

But, I have a confession to make. I’m human, just like everyone else. My daughter-in-law’s uncle passed away from cancer not that long ago, and now her other uncle is fighting it. In fact, my own father passed away from cancer. The confession? I didn’t really know how to deal with any of these three cases – relating to each of them exactly they way that I did the day BEFORE I found out that they were sick.  It’s odd, that we as humans, find it difficult to know how to act or what to say when someone we have known, laughed with, partied with, is all of a sudden….  Different.  It’s hard to find the words to express your feelings – because you typically don’t have a context in which to talk to the person.  You, yourself feel mortal, and uneasy. What if I say the wrong thing? What if he doesn’t want to talk about it? What if he doesn’t want to talk at all?

That’s my mission today.  I want to put you at ease. I want you to be able to talk to me and know that I’m interested – just as if I was never diagnosed with cancer.

Rule #1: I know you care.  Thank you.  Say it, or give me a hug, offer encouraging words, whatever you are comfortable with.

Rule #2: I have cancer – not leprosy, smallpox, H1N1.  I’m not contagious. I might have athletes foot, so please don’t play with my feet.

Rule #3: I love to talk about computers, Xbox, video gaming, science, technology, cars, and racing.  Formula 1 and Drag Racing preferred, but I can get my arm twisted into talking about NASCAR.

Rule #4: I still eat lunch, dinner, and have a beer or glass of wine now and again.  If you would want to invite me out to talk (I’ll pay my own tab, please!) about whatever – call me, drop an email…. etc.

Rule #5: During my treatment, I might lose my hair.  I’m OK with it, and so should you.  There are lots of cool looking bald guys out there.  I won’t be a cool looking bald guy.  Just bald, with the familiar ‘chemo peach fuzz’.  No worries – I’ll pretty much wear a hat or one of the really cool Marcus Fenix skull caps from one of my favorite games, Gears of War.

Rule #6: I’m still Rick.  Nothing has changed, except I’m going to be going through some radical treatments in the coming months, and (hopefully) one surgery. I’ll have good days and bad days.  If I get cranky (most of you that know me might not be able to tell the difference anyway…), it’s just because I’m not feeling great today.  I’ll be better.  And, as time goes on, I’ll be MUCH better.

Rule #7: If you really, really want to get comfortable talking to other people that have cancer and are fighting it, I’m likely to be your best possible opportunity to get more comfortable with everyone else that you know that has cancer. As mentioned above – I don’t mind talking about it.  I’m a relatively easy guy to get comfortable with, I don’t bite, and as mentioned – I’m not contagious.

The net of all of this is simply – please don’t ignore me, feel uneasy, or otherwise think I don’t want to talk.  I do…  If you are at all apprehensive, know that I make this promise to everyone – spoken or not: If I feel good, I’ll talk with anyone.  If I’m not feeling good, I’ll be kind enough to let you know that I’m really not wanting to talk just now, and I’ll call you / IM you / drop you an email.

Just please – do not be afraid or uneasy around me.  Believe it or not – I can tell…  Because, I recognize those very same traits in others that I exhibited to relatives and friends BEFORE I fully understood all that they wanted was to be treated just like they were the day before they told anyone they had cancer.

My name is Rick, and I have cancer.  And, it’s OK.  :o)


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