go to the site and read it. It's short, well written, and to the point. If you don't read it in conjunction with mine, then you'll miss important things.
But... I don't agree with it all; the "never, ever" – which is why I've written this, just as I wrote an earlier blog entry inspired by what another article said and challenging a number of views about what not to say. My take on it got picked up and circulated world-wide.
http://deniswright.blogspot.com/p/whats-new.html segment of the blog.
I don't expect you to know or remember this web address but don't get uppity if I direct you there.
I'm not as sensitive about this as Deborah obviously is, but as she says, no way do I want to be an object of pity either.
It's well meant, and a huge compliment in one way, but some have no idea the way it makes me feel if I am going downhill - which, bit by bit, I am, if we go by the objective evidence. Are you expecting me to conquer this thing that no-one in the world has overcome before? Pardon me if I "fail". I'll do better next time if I can. I'll try harder, I promise.
If it's not meant sincerely, or as a weak attempt to ginger an ill person up when they feel rotten, it's worse than saying nothing about how they look.
But here Deborah and I might disagree, but for one good reason in my case - I do actually look better in the face than for years, with more sleep and the right disposition to accept what's happening. I know people are telling the truth when they say that to me; they aren't simply being inanely hearty. So I don't get offended by that. I believe them! So far anyway.
But if X says that, X has seen me only sitting in a comfortable chair. Watch me get about. The image might collapse.
No-one's ever said that to me, but if they are a good enough friend to be able to say it in a purposeful way, I wouldn't mind... at least I don't think so. Maybe I'll wait and see.
Come to think of it, what good purpose would it serve? If I were kidding myself and thought I looked terrific, how would it help to be told otherwise? If it's true and I do look bad, I daresay I'll already know. Safest is, just don't say that at all.
It's an expression of concern, and well meant, but yes, it can put the pressure on. Deborah sums it up beautifully in her response. Don't miss it.
Again, I understand completely that people say this because they're reassuring us that they care, and they do. But what helps is to suggest things exactly like Deborah mentions; or, as many people do, just turn up with them. If you're not sure, ring first, like Chrissie: "I just baked an extra <xxxx> pie - can I drop it round?"
You bet you can, you beautiful person....
Really? Here I was, wasting all this angst for nothing!
Funnily enough, Deborah mentioned how she was reacting to the prospect of losing her hair. I knew I had enough vanity to care, but I didn't realise just how badly I would. I'm a bloke. Bald is beautiful. It is, on some people, but when it falls out in clumps, that feels different to making some sort of choice about what you do as the hairline recedes naturally. My hair's come back, more or less. As long as you view it from the right angle! But for a woman, who rarely expects to lose her hair in her lifetime, it must be worse.
I am also vain about the fact that in two years of steroids, I've put on 13 kgs. Vain and concerned that it is a lot harder to get about carrying that extra weight on buckling knees, and a bloody sight more dangerous when I fall.
This sort of question doesn't bother me, even though I can't answer that specific one in a meaningful way to anyone who's never been through it. If people are curious, that's OK. They can ask me anything. Sometimes I can answer in a way that might make sense. Naturally I reserve the right not to answer if it's too personal.
Deborah says she wants only to chat about other stuff. Well, that's fine, but sometimes I go through an entire chat and the person gets up to go, and they haven't asked me how I'm feeling. Don't avoid the subject altogether as if it's totally taboo.
There are sometimes experiences I've had that I do want to share, so my visitor understands where I'm at. I don't want to bore people for the entire time with the intimate details of my condition, but 50-50 would be nice. I don't need to be entertained. I've got more entertainment available than you can poke a stick at.
It's worth reading very carefully what Deborah wrote here. Be sure you are clear in your motives for doing so and don't come - ever - if you are doing it out of a sense of duty. Write a note instead.
Being visited is a big thing for me – even more so if people have travelled long distances to do so. That can put incredible pressure on me.
People are. I am. All the family are. It's superfluous but it often slips out because it's how you feel. You're my friend. If you aren't upset, then it would be strange. "How can I live without you" is all about you. It's not fair to hit me with guilt about your loss when I'm gone. You might be amazed at how quickly you'll adapt and move on. At least I hope you've got the sense to and not to dwell on what can't be, because I don't dwell on it more than I need to when people I care about die. Sure, you better miss me for a little while, or I'll be offended, but don't wallow in self-pity. Get on with living.
Lastly - and I've said this elsewhere - take on board the most important paragraph of the whole thing. The last one. I'll repeat two sentences here:
Deborah's admitted it, and I have to too. This is all I'll say about it: if you love/care for me, then it doesn't matter what "terrible" thing you might say or have said. But these things matter hugely to others in circumstances like mine, so it's surely worth knowing what they may think and feel.
Next time I'll write on some worse things that people have said – but this time, including some that can only be thought of as pure arrogance and ignorance.