Email is a lifeline for a sick person. It always worked for me when I felt depressed and and wasn't interested in squandering my reserves by trying to amuse my friends.
My friend Darcy said she felt the same way when she was undergoing chemotherapy. "I would come home from chemo and feel nauseous with flu-like symptoms for hours. The last thing I wanted to do was to talk with people on the telephone but I did want them to know I was okay. So I'd email everyone but my mother, who doesn't have a computer.
"It was great," she continued. "When I'd awaken, I'd have all these emails in my inbox wishing me well. Some friends would send me funny email cards from American Greeting Cards.com although they don't really have a category for cancer survivors. But they should, don't you think?"
While writing greeting card copy for cancer patients with a sense of humor may be Darcy's new career path, we both agree that the value of email as a lifeline has the following advantages:
1. We don’t have to respond to messages until we're ready.
2. Writing email gives us the freedom to craft our message, review it, edit it, and rewrite it.
3. Whether our voices sound sad or weary, no one can tell, and we both appreciate that kind of privacy.
While some might argue that being unable to hide illness is good because it enables your loved ones to "reach out and touch you," Darcy and I disagree. Life, after all, isn’t a telephone commercial.