When you have friends who have lost loved ones to cancer, you sometimes can't help but talk about it.
It's not really comparing the journey, but it is sharing the journey.
Those of us who have been through this cancer maze of diagnosis, treatment and outcome find we've walked through some of the same doors, but it is so individualized because each cancer is different and each person going through it is different and so are the care givers. We adapt to the progression of the disease differently too.
We make changes in our daily lives so our patients are at ease with their disease, if that's possible.
The care givers who have shared their experiences with me, say, they tried to rationalize when bad news came their way. They'd either decide not to dwell on it or they'd just simply take Scarlett O'Hara's "I can't think about that right now. If I do I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." approach. We're all realists here, but I know I went that route many times. Sometimes the next day was a better day to deal with the bad stuff.
It's still hard to talk about some of it. Cancer memories aren't usually happy recollections, but with friends, especially friends who have been through it, it's important to learn you weren't alone on this journey. No matter how long ago it was, you had so much in common with someone.
Even now, that's a good thing to know.