Having leukemia is not fun. In fact, let’s be honest – it’s scary.
As worrisome as it is for us though, it is even more so for our family and friends. After all, those of us living with Leuk know how we feel each day. He has become a regular part of our lives. We naturally worry about what Leuk will mean for our future and even wonder if he might kill us. But if you are like me, you deal with Leuk differently on different days. You worry less on some days and more on others. You feel better on some days and worse on others. But you always have a gauge for how you are doing.
Not so with the other people in your life.
It is often thought, and rightly so, that the person with leukemia needs encouragement and prayer. But not much is said about what our loved ones need. They can’t know how we are feeling or what we are thinking.
To those you know, you are their friend who has leukemia. To your children, you are their parent who has leukemia. To your spouse, you are her lover who has leukemia.
But none of them, even those closest to you, can know where you’re at in your head. They have no way of knowing how you feel. If you tell them you’re having a bad day, they tend to think every day after that is bad for you. It’s good to be honest about your days with Leuk. When they ask, it’s okay to tell them if you’re having a rough day. But it is also important to let them know when you are doing well.
I tend to make light of it when my friends ask how I’m doing. I try to alleviate their worries by seeming to not be worried myself. In most cases I really am not worried, but other times I am. Maybe this is not the best way to handle things. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not completely honest. I’m not saying you should take this approach. I’m just saying to be gentle about it.
What do I mean by ‘gentle’? Well, think of it this way: If your wife asks you if she looks fat in that dress, do you say “Well, honey, it really doesn’t flatter you” or do you say “Oh my God! It makes you look huge!!”
Think of them as worried, hurting people. After all, they are. They love you and often have more fear about it than you do. They need your encouragement.
And also, if you are a praying person, pray for them. They are, after all, praying for you. It might be nice to return the favor.