How many times have you rolled your eyes, and/or sighed, while saying, “People who don’t have cancer just don’t get it”? I can tell you I’ve done it more times than I could count. I still think it too. In fact, my blog is generally written for people who have cancer—I write with that specific audience in mind. I don’t waste space or time explaining issues and jargon for uninitiated readers. I do this because I remember what I was like before I got cancer–I never read anything about it. There’s just too much information out there to read, hear, and watch. If something does not directly impact me, I cannot allocate time to it. I’m sure most people are like this too; this information overload age is just too overwhelming.
But here’s the thing—and there’s always a thing, right?!
I’ve challenged myself on this view quite a bit in the past year. And the notion I keep coming back to is this: Maybe it IS my place to explain cancer issues. Maybe it’s….not my JOB, exactly…let’s say maybe it a role I willing take on.
You see, it is oh so easy to dismiss the people who don’t get it, because they have yet to experience cancer in an up-close way. We are all too busy, too distracted, too tired, to take it on. And why bother trying to convince people who are unwilling to take the time to read or listen to our words?
It is also oh so easy to dismiss Twitter and other forms of social media as armchair (sl)activism. I know that they are, to a degree. But guess what? Often, other media reports on trending hashtags. We all know the impact of viral videos. To dismiss Twitter storms and trending hashtags as silly Internet stuff is to sorely underestimate how much these things steer national and global conversations. Believe me.
It takes a great many of us to tweet about #CancerRealityCheck. But just think of the impact if we get it trending! What is it you want others to understand about your cancer experience? What do you wish would change about the way our culture treats/understands cancer and cancer patients? Personally, I hope that with enough Twitter storms, I’ll never have to see another “what I wish I knew before my cancer diagnosis” article again. I was sucker punched by my own diagnosis. I’d like that to never happen to anyone else.
Please join @abcdiagnosis @bccww and myself on Sunday in taking on the role and helping others “get it”. If not us, who will do it? Because we can, you know.
Sign up for the Thunderclap, and tweet your reality for that hour after it happens (see previous blog post for details). It is up to US, to YOU.