Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You look healthy

I giggled yesterday after my doctor told me, "You look healthy."

Of course, he couldn't understand why this remark was funny. I explained that I was used to the social hyperbole of "You look great" or "You look fabulous," but lately friends have been commenting, "You look well" or "You look healthy." The funny thing is that I love it when friends tell me I look well, because I know that I didn't look or act that way a few months ago.

I not only look well, I look normal - not like someone who battled cancer. Not like someone who was laid low by eosinophils. Not like a 105 pound weakling who passed out on the way to the bathroom.

At a Hanukkah party on Saturday, our gracious host introduced me to a guest wearing a fashionable turban, but I knew right away that the head covering was more than a fashion statement. The host added, "I think you two have something in common." I don't think anyone else would have noticed, but I saw her face twitch. We both wanted to be happy revelers stuffing our faces with latkes and apple sauce, not patients comparing treatments. I made an excuse and then slipped away to fill my plate with freshly fried potato pancakes.

Normal. Well. Healthy. Not long ago I would have chafed at the thought of anyone using these boring words to describe me, but now they're music to my ears.

"You look fabulous," my doctor teased as I left the exam room. That sounded pretty good too.


Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Susan,
I know what you mean when you say it means something different when your doctor says, "You look healthy," than when a friend or family member says it.

I wrote about this in an article for healthcare professionals:


Ronni Gordon said...

Glad you are hearing those good words. Here's to a year in which you hear them many more times!

Ann said...

You and Nancy are some of the most gorgeous, healthy people I know. Hope you have a fabulous New Year!

Susan C said...

Dr. Wendy, That's a wonderful article that summarizes my feelings perfectly. It's so great that you can share these sentimcents with the oncology community.

Ronni, I haven't yet seen a pic of you in which you didn't look great. Of course, we get to edit for the blog. : )

Ann, thanks. That Nancy is not only gorgeous but the peppiest person I know.

Trish said...

GOOD NEWS! Glad to hear you're lookin good! ;-)

Your comments and Dr Harpham's article remind me of several things.

-One, my oncologist and I have an agreement. He doesn't lie to me, about my numbers, about my condition, my outlook or how I look, and he actually pays attention to our discussion. Otherwise I would find someone else to see.

-Two-a friend told me while I was going thru chemo and had gone to services against all intelligence, just because I needed to be there for me---told me I looked like "sh!t, go home!". I thanked her for telling me the truth at a time when maybe my judgment wasn't the greatest.

-Three--when our friend John killed himself, via hanging, it made me realize how little people REALLY listen to what they say. Responding to "How are you doing?" with "Hanging in there" is not a good thing after such an event, but I stopped counting at several DOZEN people saying this to me without thinking in the month after John's passing.

Sometimes, we do look good, considering. Sometimes, we look like sh!t.

The good news is, you AND I seem to be looking pretty good these days, for reals!

Susan C said...

Trish, I wouldn't want it any other way with my onc or any doctor.

I tend to be honest to a fault, so if I tell someone they're lookin' good, they really are.

And, you're right, Trish - we're both lookin' good. : )

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