Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let's talk about cancer

Cancer is not something that is part of my life one day but not the next. I can't take it on and off because, whether I like it or not, it's part of me. But just because cancer sucks doesn't mean I can't talk about it. It's something I deal with, so you should learn how to deal with it, too. I know it's hard to find the right words to say to someone with cancer. You don't want to say the wrong thing. You don't want to make things worse. Let me give you some suggestions. If you have a friend or family member with cancer, you might consider saying:

I'm praying for you. And then check back regularly. By regularly I don't mean never. And by regularly I don't mean once or twice. Even after surgery and treatment, the effects of cancer are still very present. So keep checking in and praying month after month after month after month...

I want to help you. If you ask, "Can I do anything for you?" the answer will most likely be no, even if help is needed. If I have to ask for help, I feel like a burden and an inconvenience. If you really want to help your friend/family member with cancer, then you need to think of a way to help and do it. "Hey, I'm going to bring dinner to you. Is tonight a good night?" "Hey, I'm coming over to watch a movie with you. What time should I be there?" "I'm going to go grocery shopping for you. What's on your grocery list?" Figure out how you want to help and do it.

I don't understand exactly what you're going through, but I'm here for you. If you say this, you have to mean it. You can't say "I'm here for you" and only check in once a month. If you say this to your friend/family member with cancer, you need to learn about what they're going through. Do some research. Ask them how they're feeling and how they're dealing with cancer. Make sure you're present for them.

Whatever you do, though, don't ignore it. When you ignore what I'm going through with cancer, you're ignoring me. When you say nothing at all, you're setting me apart, turning me into a leper. And that's what makes things worse. Cancer isn't contagious, you know.


Laura said...

Good job, Friend! Great post! :-)

Michelene O'Neil said...

I really felt like I can relate to your post. The "helping" part especially! I am feeling the exact same way. I have pap. thyroid cancer and have had 3 surgeries, RAI, and after this recovery from the last surgery will be most likely, getting the RAI again. My TSH is low....you probably already know what that means, so I won't explain how I am feeling:)Thank you for your blog and posts:)

Joanna Isbill said...

Thanks, Michelene. I, too, have pap thyca. I've had two surgeries and two treatment doses of RAI. My TSH is low, too--I feel your pain! :)

Thanks for commenting. I saw you on one of the Dear Thyroid facebook pages today! How long have you been part of the DT community?