Letter: Everyone reacts to bad health news differently

This is to let you know that I did not get cancer because I have had my hair permed…

To the editor:

I have cancer.

I thank those who have offered their help, positive thoughts and preyers; I am grateful to the crew of at least eight people who operated on me July 9,2013.

I wish to educate the insensitive.

This is to let you know that I did not get cancer because I have had my hair permed, repeatedly, throughout my life, otherwise hairdressers, worldwide, would suffer from cancers on their hands.

I did not opt to pay for my cancer operation because, although a plastic surgeon was the operation’s team leader, mine was a medical and not a cosmetic procedure.

Where was your good advice to treat my injury with grandma’s home remedies in the beginning of my ordeal? I any of these remedies would have cured me of the malignant melanoma, why haven’t they been recognized with a Nobel Prize for Medicine?

Furthermore, to accuse me of having waited too long to obtain treatment, is totally uncalled for. Only thanks to my perseverance did I receive a diagnosis—after eight months. And still I had to wait a further four months for an operation, costing the B.C. medical system a multitude of what an early diagnosis and treatment might have cost.

And, to the lady who asked me: “Why are you pretending (to have cancer)?” in an accusatory tone that implied: ‘Only real cancer patients are entitled to wear wigs.’ I wore the fun wig to make it easier for you to speak to me about the Big C; I wore the fun wig to lift my own spirits; I wore the fun wig because that is my new reality.

To my shame I have to admit that I have engaged in the game of “my scar is longer than yours,” and “I have more clamps than you.” So, please, if you do catch me at this have again, do forgive me because I am fighting the cancer on all fronts, including the competitive one.

To those who feel awkward when meeting a person who suffers from this, or any other killer disease, and who cannot offer any help in the form of driving to and from appointments, child minding, housekeeping or the like; and who are at a loss of appropriate words to say: “I am sorry you are ill,” How are you feeling?” “Would you like to go for coffee,” etc., would do just fine.

Yes, I have cancer and yes, I am desperately trying to carry on with life as before, but at times the stumbling blocks are too high and I could use your kind words, your helping hand and your prayers.

Sylvia Schoepf,

West Kelowna

 

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