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JLeslie's avatar

If you had cancer would you want to be included in an activity you used to do but can’t anymore?

Asked by JLeslie (61635points) 2 weeks ago from iPhone

The instructor for my folk dancing has cancer and is in treatment. She suspended the dance classes for now while she does her chemo.

We always perform at the Menorah Lighting celebration for Chanukah where I live. She’s unable to perform and she is being especially careful regarding covid.

We would still love for her to come to practice and advise us if she feels able and safe. No matter what, we will still be acknowledging her as the group leader if the event is reported in the newspaper. She will be included even if she doesn’t attend. Usually, there is a piece in the paper about the the performance.

My question is, do you think it will make her feel worse if she knows when we are practicing? Will it be easier for her to not be reminded she is missing it? If she can come we welcome her helping us with the choreography as always.

I also would like to get some of the music from her. I only have a few of the songs, and we are accustomed to versions she has. Prior to her illness she was always very generous with letting people copy songs if they wanted one, but now I feel it might be hurtful to ask.

What do you think?

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16 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Ask. Include. Be mindful of the the time and energy you expend on her, she is probably exhausted. Let her know you miss her, make a video for her to enjoy at her leisure, maybe get your group to do something appropriate but non-invasive, like putting together a seasonal basket of Chanukah related stuff for her to enjoy.
Don’t push her on participation, but offer the opportunity.

She’s really tired, and sick, and probably somewhat frightened, and has to expend a lot of energy reassuring her loved ones that she is in better shape than she is, but I guarantee that she will be delighted to know that she is valued and missed.
She won’t feel worse to know you are practicing and carrying on with the tradition.

Speaking from experience, here.

jca2's avatar

I think you should tell her.

I’m thinking of when my mom was sick with cancer, and she didn’t belong to any groups at the time, but she would probably have enjoyed hearing stories about what was going on.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Absolutely. She can decide her participation level.

canidmajor's avatar

And let me add, good idea to ask for input on this from objective sources. Sometimes an excess of enthusiasm from well-meaning friends will kind of make the patient feel obligated to participate beyond their comfort level.


Nomore_lockout's avatar

Tough call, but my advice, for what it’s worth, which is squat, would be at least call her or text her, and let her know you folks are thinking about her. Look on the bright side, it might cheer her up. My sister is doing chemo as well right now, so I know that can take it out of a person.

kritiper's avatar

It depends on what kind of cancer it is and how aggressive it is. Usually, from what I’ve seen, if the person has cancer and is being treated, especially with chemo, their time is just about up.

canidmajor's avatar

Hahaha, @kritiper, exactly what do you mean by “their time is just about up”? Can you give me an estimate on that? I’m 22 years out and counting, but if my time is “just about up” I should get right on that end-of-life paperwork.

jca2's avatar

@kritiper: My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, got chemo and radiation and lived another 6 years.

Jeruba's avatar

I think she would like to know that something she built is strong enough to go on without her instead of falling apart in her absence. Perhaps you could ask her if she feels up to participating and to what extent.

filmfann's avatar

Ask her. Include her. Being a part of it can just be watching.
]Is she vaccinated? I recently had a houseguest who caught Covid while going through chemo for cancer in his lungs. Because he was vaccinated, he never got sick enough to need to stay in the hospital.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone! Your answers were extremely helpful. I texted her and she said she will come to practice tomorrow if she feels up to it and would really like to see everyone.

I went back and forth with her several times. She gave me input about song choices. I’m so glad she might be able to come tomorrow.

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann I’m pretty sure she is vaccinated. At the very beginning of the pandemic she was sucked into some of the conservative talk about it’s just another virus and if you’re healthy you’ll be fine it attacks people with health conditions.

I actually said on one of her Facebook threads, “how many people do you know who get diagnosed with kidney disease, liver disease, stage three cancer, high blood pressure, and they didn’t know they were unhealthy until they had a test, they could have been sick for more than a year unaware.” Then I swear a few months later she got diagnosed with cancer. I hoped she didn’t remember my comment. That was a standard line I said to a lot of people.

This is her second round of treatment. The cancer now showed up in another location.

Since the cancer diagnosis she has worn a mask and seems cautious, she even held class outside for a few months. I’m assuming she’s vaccinated too, but I’m not 100% sure.

JLoon's avatar

She’s not dead – So don’t bury her.

Forever_Free's avatar

Of course ask her. Let he tell you if she doesn’t feel up to it.

Assuming you know her reaction and not extending it might make her feel like she is unwanted.

kritiper's avatar

@canidmajor and @jca2 : I know. My grandfather got stomped on by a horse and died from skin cancer caused by the incident 40 years later. Took that long for it to eat through his skull.
But here is exactly what I meant: I know a guy who was diagnosed with a cancer that’s in his neck, shoulders and tongue. No doubt it is inoperable. His only hope is chemo. He knows!
When my dad found out he had lung cancer that was spreading into his throat he said, “Well, I guess that’s it.” We couldn’t feed him enough through a tube into his stomach to keep him alive, so in the end he starved to death. He knew!.

If everyone was to live long enough, we would all die of cancer.

Jeruba's avatar

So—did she come?

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