I’ll Pretend Better

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Being me is exhausting some days, even before breast cancer. Today, I’m fighting nausea and knowing I must try to eat in the face of understanding that when I do, I’ll feel worse. The feeling will pass in a few more days, just not soon enough for me or those around me. So, I’ll pretend better.

I'll Pretend Better

I first read of pretending better in a repost on Mundane Faithfulness. If you’re not familiar, Kara, the author, a young mom, took us on her breast cancer journey and has since died from the disease. I read her words and see so much of my truth in them, including pretending better. While she wanted to promise her son that she would pretend better for his sake, because he was having trouble with her diminished capacity, she knew that would be a lie.

She couldn’t do it, but I have.

Garry is a champ. He’s been to all my appointments. He advocates for me. He does whatever needs to be done in any arena that is typically my domain. He is ever-present and available. And he is tired. He doesn’t say it; I can see it. So, on some days, I’ll pretend better in order to offer him a small break.

I’ll pretend better when I’m having a rough day. I’ll pretend better when my muscles want to jump from my skin. I’ll pretend better that my weirdo and ever-changing side effects are amusing, instead of horrifying. I’ll pretend better when eating is difficult. I’ll pretend better when I’m scared out of my wits after researching more about my specific cancer. I’ll pretend better that I’m not broken and pissed at my limitations. I’ll pretend better, on some days.

When I’m having a hard day, I’ll pretend better when we Skype with Boy, Girl and Sweet E. I’ll pretend better when I talk to my family. I’ll pretend better when I respond to your emails. I’ll pretend better on social media. It’s never my go-to, but if I am worn out, if I am a cry-baby mess, if I can not bring myself to my own truth, I’ll pretend better.

Why?  Why all the pretending when I have laid bare some of the worst of this disease?

Sometimes I’ll pretend better because I can’t bear to see your pain, or inflict any more pain than I already have. Sometimes I’ll pretend better so I can stop crying and grab a little slice of normal amidst the pretending. See? It’s like it always was! Sometimes I’ll pretend better because I need to assure you that I am fighting through this (I. AM.) and that I’m going to beat this disease (I. PRAY. I. WILL.). Most times, I do not pretend, but sometimes, I’ll pretend better, too.  Just like Kara thought she’d like to do, but couldn’t.

It’s a selfish act and I ask your forgiveness. After all, growth comes to all of us in the hard bits of life and who am I to deny anyone anything that benefits gaining wisdom? Selfish cancer girl, that’s me.

The other side of my pretending better, is that if you ever ask me a direct question, I will answer honestly. It’s only in the gray murkiness of generalities that I’ll sometimes pretend better. The rest is a glaring stripped-down soul-shredding truth of cancer heinousness.

Yikes. Maybe I should have pretended better on that last sentence…



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  1. Aww, I’m so sorry that your have a rough time right now. I know that as the women in our families we always try to pretend better because that’s just what we do. I hope today is a really good day for you and that you don’t have to pretend better! Hugs, Stacie xo

  2. Mrs. Tucker, we don’t know each other in real life but I’ve now read each of your blogs. Thank you for being so honest throughout this process. And also thank you for pretending. I, and so many others, needed to know it was ok to do that.

  3. Sending healing vibes and positive thoughts your way. You are one strong woman and it sounds like you’re facing this challenge with a lot of grace.


  4. This is also a type of Acting As If. It’s not really pretending, it’s just acting as if you have what you want. You act healthy because you want to be healthy. But there are times you just need to feel what you’re feeling, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. We know you’re fighting this. Stay strong.

  5. I know when we were deep in our 135-day NICU journey with our first daughter, we faced this. I was back at work dealing with “retail problems” while my baby was fighting for her life across town. It’s a cliche, but one day at a time was really the only way for me to make it thorough–and many of those days, I had to pretend things were different.

    • When the going gets rough, taking one day at a time is a merciful grace. Just focus on what’s needed now. Kuddos for you for getting through the hard of a baby in NICU. I can’t imagine anything harder than when our babies are sick.

  6. Your openness about the struggles so far has been enlightening and in a way relieveing. Knowing that you’re being honest with us, mean that I was a part, a small part, of your journey and I knew exactly what to pray for.
    I totally get pretending better. While mine isn’t related to cancer, I still have to pretend better for my husband and family when it comes to the disease I battle every day. Sometimes I pretend so well, I fool even myself. I’ve always been a fan of the saying “fake it until you make it” but sometimes I fake it too hard and pay the consequences later.
    Know that I am praying fervently for you sweet lady!

    PS. Thanks for the note!! <3

  7. Axiesdad aka Bob says

    Thank you for sharing hard truths with us. I, like so many others, want to lend all the support we can to you during this journey. Many thoughts, many prayers, and many bloggy comments are headed your way. I’m sure we all wish there was something more we could do. Pretend better when you need to, but please share your load with us when you can.

    • Bob, you and so many like you, have shown me more support and care than I could have ever dreamed possible. I thank all of y’all for that. The prayers and continued concern are plenty! Thank you for coming along with me on this journey and for allowing me the space for truth.

  8. Dear sister. Sometimes we need to rai . I admire your courage in sharing your journey – including the real times. God bless you!

  9. Nikki Frank-Hamilton says

    Bless you in your journey, prayers for a full recovery, and for the strength to pretend better. Some days pretending is all we have. And sometimes we even fool ourselves, don’t we?

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