"Wow, you look good!" is a comment I have heard several times the last months. Please do not misunderstand me, I love compliments and I really appreciate every time somebody says that I look good. However, the well meant and kind comment, often comes with a question attached, that brings a need for explanation and justification. "You look good, why do you not work full time?" or "You look good, have you really had cancer?"
Many people hold the misconception that you must “look” ill in order to be ill. I have come to realize how it is for the thousands of people who live with illnesses that can not be seen on the outside. People who break their arm or leg, or experience another form of injury may be in rough shape, but others can see their injury and understand their limitations. With chemo behind me and the hair on my head having grown back, nobody can see that I am not 100% up to speed and still in the recovery face. I am of course happy that I have a healthy look, but it is somewhat tiring having to face skepticism and needing to justify that my appearance does not say everything about my health. For me this is hopefully just a phase when looking healthy but not being fully okey. However, it is beneficial to have experienced what people with chronic illnesses encounter. It is also clear that in order to know how people really are doing, empathy and a willingness to truly listen and understand, are required.
Please do not stop giving me compliments, just do it with the understanding that looks and appearance do not say everything about a persons health condition.
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Hi, my name is Lena and I am a cancer survivor. I hope you enjoy reading my blog posts. If you want to subscribe, click on Contact.