|Platypus, borrowed from http://mudfooted.com/platypus-mammal-eggs-bill/|
Another friend of mine who has advanced ovarian cancer also has commented on this...how it makes her crazy because people DON'T know that you will be OK...in all likelihood, those of us in this boat probably won't be OK. At the very least we will suffer financial set backs, worry, and tons of drugs, hospital visits and procedures.
For many of the people who offer such platitudes, most of the time what they are really saying is what they want for you. This is an affirmation...which is somewhat mystical thinking...the more that we say "you will be OK" then maybe that person will be OK. Sometimes, I have run into people who do have that mystical understanding...in fact I have felt it on occasion when speaking with someone who is undergoing a health issue...I sometimes get the feeling that they will most certainly be OK....but this is entirely unscientific and without foundation...and quite frankly, I am usually afraid to speak of it.
With my cousin, when I see her, she will say "You will be OK." For her, she is saying it to calm herself down as she had breast cancer and finished treatment I think in 2004....so for her, she is absolutely terrified. Our friends and loved ones have difficulty knowing that they could indeed lose us....and so they keep on saying "you'll be OK."
Sometimes, this isn't enough. We as cancer patients NEED people to understand and commiserate with us, even if briefly. Sometimes we need someone to acknowledge our mortality and grieve with us before we go on into battle. I got mad at my husband, because he couldn't do this....it was just too scary for him.
It is a tight rope. You want to be positive for the person....but sometimes, saying "you'll be OK" falls flat. So...perhaps the better thing to say would be "I want you to be well. I hope and pray that you will be OK. And I really wish you weren't going through this. If you shouldn't be OK, I will miss you. I will remember you...and for now, I just love you."