Sunday, January 10, 2010

Secrets of the Sick Kid

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

Jennifer Bunker CRS GRI
Utah Real Estate Broker


ElleBlythe said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I think we all need a place in our lives that we can just be ourselves. I'm so glad you found a place to do that, and can now blog about the past!

Jennifer Bunker said...

Elle, this came about because of the spirited discussion that took place on your Facebook wall. Thank YOU for providing a safe place for me to hash out the never-ending cancer "stuff." Love you girl!