A person with a health problem tries to integrate into society. But it’s hard.

Dear Amy: Six years ago, I was diagnosed with advanced cancer with a life expectancy of three to six months. After several months of chemo, I received a donor bone marrow transplant from a special hospital where I stayed for several months.

When the transplant is “successful,” the chance of recurrence is low. I worked really hard on my recovery. I am now trying to adopt a new normal.

I have post-transplant complications including fatigue, graft and host disease, organ damage, mood swings, food restrictions, and a weakened immune system.

I try to present myself well, but it’s hard to keep up, and sooner or later something comes up that highlights my impotence.

I’m tired of blaming “Big C” but it comes up often. For example, I’m really tired and I have to go in a few hours or people will be offended that I’m still cautious and masked, so I mumble something to explain myself.

I can’t come up with a way to present myself well (I make sad jokes, etc.).

For all those reasons I often decline social engagements and also because I don’t want to be a stranger.

Any suggestions on how I should be?

– New me

Dear New Me: You are a long-term health-challenged person who has no idea how hard you are working to experience the world as they do, trying to fit in with strangers.

It sounds really tiring.

I’m going to be arrogant and write you a prescription: to lean in and resist the constant urge to “pass.”

I speak now on behalf of my comrades. Life is easier – for you and others – when you embrace the concept of self-care, which is about being gentle with yourself, being your full and authentic self, and making sure your own needs are met.

If you believe that healthy people want to be extra careful for you, such as by wearing a mask, then you want to get life-changing results for yourself (and others, if you’re facing) cancer, say so. I’m happy to switch places with them.

You should also practice communicating with people who don’t expect you to explain yourself. Join a cancer survivor support group.

In researching your question, I found a helpful online group at: “Cancer Survivors”. Reddit.com. After reading the first several posts, I can see that there are other people who understand what you are going through and fully support the “new you”.

Dear Amy: I have been teaching postsecondary for over 30 years. I got thousands of course reviews, and now, I can “enjoy”. ratemyprofessor.com.

Not surprisingly, “complainers” are the people most likely to participate in these various rating services.

I want to thank you for something.

Their choice to publish the complaint letters they receive and the way they respond, often humorously, has helped me to focus on the complainers and see the humor in them – while ignoring the many who don’t complain.

– Thank you professor

Dear Professor: Thank you! I learned a long time ago that harsh or negative responses can take up more mental space than the many positive responses I receive.

I have done some of these negative responses for two reasons: because they sometimes provide a useful or useful correction, or because they are representative of many respondents.

Sometimes I’m thin-skinned — but to quote my mom, who went to college and became a professor in her mid-50s after working very challenging, low-paying, “menial” jobs: “I’m sure you have a real job doing this.”

I will never forget how lucky I am.

Dear Amy: I am responding to the “locked in” question that she caught her roommates sneaking into the locked room after installing a camera.

I am a landlord. In my jurisdiction (and probably many others) it is illegal to install a lock with a key on a bedroom door.

It is a fire hazard and can hinder firefighters.

So perhaps instead of tightening the lock on the door, the letter writer should give her valuables to her trusted friends for safekeeping and plan to move quickly.

The whole thing looks horrible.

– Landlord

Dear Landlord: Good point! I also agree about the fun thing.

While looking into this topic, I stumbled upon security camera footage of roommates sneaking into other rooms – sometimes taking things and other times… hovering.

You can email Amy Dickinson askamy@amydickinson.com Or send a letter to ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

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