As you’ve probably spotted, my social life of late has been a bit more exciting than it was for the previous nine months or so… This has been wonderful, as I’ve tried to make the most of having decent blood counts for a change. It is very hard to be stuck in hospital, or sitting at home while neutropaenic, knowing that all my friends are meeting up, having fun, making more friends and living life to the full, but I suppose it makes it even more special when I can do so.
It has brought up an interesting issue, though… At a couple of parties I’ve been to, there have been more people I didn’t know than I did know. Both times, I didn’t really want to make an issue of being ill, and told myself I’d not mention it unless it directly came up. This was firstly because I don’t want to be defined by my leukaemia, and secondly because I fear that some people may not be sure how to respond.
However, there was a big flaw in that plan. Naturally, when you meet someone, one of the first questions is going to be along the lines of ‘what do you do?’ or ‘what have you been up to?’ Of course, I could lie and claim to have been hunting crocodiles, or reviewing books, or something similar, but nor do I want to hide the fact that I’m ill… So I usually go, ‘erm, well, I’ve been quite ill so I’ve mostly been in hospital.’ I guess that’s the right answer, and leaves people with the opportunity to ask more if they want, or move swiftly on if they prefer. I often try to slip a joke in, to keep the mood light, by saying things like, ‘I’ve been having cranial radiotherapy… hence the stylish baldness’.
Different people do react in different ways, and in some ways having leukaemia is a good conversation piece. It’s not ideal, though. And in some ways I suppose I love the sympathy hehe… I’m not really quite sure what this post is driving at, as overall I haven’t really come to any conclusion: I don’t want to be defined by my leukaemia, but I don’t want to hide it either. And most people are good, really: I don’t think I am defined by it when I tell people… At least I hope not.