Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Words We Choose

Dori can't watch tense Vanderbilt games, which runs in her family. Dori and some of her relatives will vacate the room, listen for cheers and check in briefly for updates.

Saturday's football game against Ole Miss was no different. Vanderbilt took advantage of some shoddy Rebel play and put down the hammer late to upset Hotty Toddy 28-14. Dori entered the room late to join the hootin' and hollerin'. We like what we're seeing from our new head coach, who received his first game ball in 34 years. Very fun, very emotional.

Many conversations about or with Dori the last few years have been uplifting. But folks, I've heard some crazy things, too - in hospital rooms, on the phone, in our home and from strangers, medical staff and yes, family. I've probably said some things I want back, too.

The outlandishness is often rooted in fear, selfishness or insensitivity. I've brushed off most inanity fairly well, but when I see Dori hurt it's very hard not to be affected. A few years ago after chemo, someone said she looked like Aunt Jemima. Recently, someone made a remark that some folks have a hard time looking at people with cancer. What does a man do when he sees someone's mouth open only to project buffalo chips?

I cannot dwell on someone else's complete lack of understanding, momentary or not, of what Dori is enduring. I cease to be amazed at the lack of sensitivity to her burden and how some people are unable to at least try to see things from her view before opening their mouths.

My remedy is, and always will be, hugs, encouragement and the truth for Dori. I've never been around a better and more courageous person. And that's no buffalo crap.


PJ said...

How does Dori feel about this? Cancer patients often aren't aware of the insensitivity of others. They're too busy looking inward, a blessing.

Jim said...

That is a great question, only one that could be asked by a fellow survivor. When Dori gets hurt, she usually vents with me and then does her best to forgive and move on. She hurts because all she's trying to do is survive, not receive ridiculous comments.

Ann said...

People can say some tremendous and bizarre things. A family friend told me if they had received a cancer diagnosis, they would have refused treatment and a few other provocative things. He was trying to instigate something with me and so I smiled at him and wished him well. When you have nothing better to do than bully a cancer patient, then I have no time for you. You and Dori continue to set an example and display grace and courage throughout all of this. Hugs and love to you both.