Been thinking lately about extending an apology to a group of people who I admire and respect very much, the South Ogden City Planning Commission.
In December 2007, I went through an interview process and to my delight, was appointed to serve on the Commission by Mayor Garwood for a 4-year stint starting in February of 2008.
It was just a couple of months after the appointment that I learned I had breast cancer. A lot of "stuff" happens to a person when you learn that, not the least of which is the process of telling your friends, family, colleagues and clients the news.
As I have blogged before, this was excruciatingly difficult for me. I ended up hoping that people would tell other people, thereby sparing me the duty of having to inform others of the situation. I really despised that part of cancer, but there was one other part I hated even more. After the news got out, everywhere I went, I was now the "sick kid."
People want to be kind and caring, and they are. I was blessed. But sometimes all I wanted was somewhere to go where my illness wasn't the focus. Somewhere where I was the same as everybody else, where my illness wasn't the start of every conversation, where if the subject of "boobs" came up, there wasn't a sudden awkward silence because mine were sick (or eventually absent).
So, towards this end, I never told the other Commissioners that I was struggling with cancer. I stubbornly attended the monthly meetings in various points of disarray. I was truly a hot mess that year ... often disheveled, distant, muddled, medicated ... but I was always there. And I wasn't the sick kid. I wasn't the sick kid because they didn't know that I was sick. I can't tell you how much it means to me that I was able to keep a sense of "normalcy" in that one special place. Now that I have blogged this, I'll have to fess up to the Commissioners at the next meeting. I don't know how they will react. Probably with disbelief and disappointment that I didn't confide in them. I hope that I can make them understand how much it meant to me not to. I didn't like being the sick kid. To me, that is a state of mind that I didn't subscribe to. I was the well kid who was taking on a temporary health project. But I believe that others unknowingly can contribute to making you "sick" by thinking of you that way and I didn't want that. I am forever grateful to the SOCPL for giving me a place to continue to be the oddly disheveled WELL kid. Peace and love, Jen