We dropped the kids off at Camp Kesem this morning. Camp Kesem is a network of summer camps that are designed for children with parent(s) who have/had cancer. And it is free. Nice, huh? At check in, they had a breakfast spread – muffins, bagels, etc., and while the counselors led the kids in songs and activities, the parents got to mill around talking to each other.
We saw a couple of families from our family support group, and started chatting. At one point, another woman walked over, and our friends introduced her to us. She asked about my diagnosis, and when I told her “Kidney cancer,” she got a look on her face that confused me at first. And then I realized what it was – pity.
Why did this surprise me so much? That she, too, was in the cancer community? (And, from what it sounds like, lost her husband to cancer.) It was obvious that she immediately understood exactly what my diagnosis means, which many people both in and out of the cancer community don’t. So I appreciated not having to explain. But, pity?
Although I know my lot is not something to be desired, I have a difficult time viewing myself as someone who needs or wants pity from others. Love, support, back scratches, and hiking buddies? Yes. Pity? No.
I think what I was hoping for, after seeing the initial spark of recognition, was something more like “Yeah, I understand. I’ve got it. And you’re going to do just fine, no matter what the outcome.”
Because I think that’s kind of where I am now.
But maybe I’m the fool?