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new normal


I’ll never to get used to hearing about the ‘new normal,’ which is a pretty common topic after cancer treatment.
“How is your new normal?” I’ve heard.
“Do you miss the things you can’t do anymore?” I’ve heard.
What’s the right answer? There is no right answer, but the questions ought to serve as a reminder.


new normal


+ My new normal is better than my old.
– That’s impossible. We had the same cancer. I know what new normal is.
+ Oh, it’s possible. It just takes a little extra.
– That’s in short supply after what we went through.
+ It takes a little extra something. Wanna know what it is?
– Do I have a choice?
+ A man came up to me and said, “My wife thinks I should talk to you.”
– This is at the gym? You and your gym.
+ I’ve seen this guy before and said hello. I noticed his wife listening once when I told someone about hpv16 cancer.
– This guy had it too?
+ No, but he’s got a stage two, that’s what he said. And he’s asking me for cancer advice.
– You?


+This is what makes the new normal better. I laid it out for him like no one else has.
– Like no one else?
+ You tell me. The first thing we talked about was his panic.
– He was panicked?
+ Not yet.
– But he will be.
+ As we both know. He said he wasn’t prone to panic. I gave him the ‘look me in the eye’ routine.
– You didn’t.
+ I told him he was panicked, that it was normal, and the most important thing he can do from now on is lie to his wife and tell her he’s not panicked.
– That doesn’t sound right.
+ He said the same thing. Then his wife walked up. I’d already given him the ‘second opinion’ talk, aimed him toward another guy who’d gone through what he had in front of him.
– Like a counselor?
+ Or a coach. He needs to be ready.
– So he needs lying practice?
+ If he tells his wife how awful he feels she might take a dive. He needs to tell her he’s doing good no matter what.


– So his wife walks up while you’re talking?
+ I gave her a ‘look me in the eyes’ too and told her the new normal starts right now. This is cancer talk from a survivor talking to a new survivor.
– You hope.
+ And why not. I’ve got the wife dialed in and told her about her new normal and her new job, that she needed to believe her husband’s lies when he says he’s doing fine.
– What if he’s doing fine?
+ You’re catching on.
– Did she?
+ I eye-balled the two of them and said, “Let’s review. You’re going to lie,” to the man, and “You’re going to believe him” to the woman.
– That’s the secret?
+ One of them. It all starts with proper communications.
– I can tell.


new normal

About David Gillaspie

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