As I concluded a second Let Life Happen radio broadcast last evening on the subject about “how did you react when someone told you that they had cancer”, I wanted to thank each and every person who posted a comment or shared a story on this subject. As we all know, that is a really hard subject with which to deal and I received such a great response that it made it necessary to do two shows on this subject in order to cover so many variations. As I indicated in that show, I shared a marvelous piece that I used for reference and as promised, I am sharing the link here for everyone who may be interested:
Although the title is “What Not to Say to Someone With Cancer”, it does provide suggestions of what we might say in place of our normal responses. In addition, there were a number of comments posted with this article that also shed some great light on this issue and definitely are worth reading. I only wish that I had had access to such an article years ago when I was responding to family and friends in the matter that I did despite my good intentions.
Over the years since I was faced with someone having cancer and trying to figure out what to do/say. I have added my grandfather, my godmother, her daughter and granddaughter along with my father, my mother, my baby brother and numerous friends to that list. And now having been on the receiving end of cancer as well, I have learned so very much. But, most importantly, I have learned that each person and how they choose to deal with their own cancer is as individual and different as their own cancer and treatment.
I believe that the best thing that anyone can do for someone with cancer is to respect them. This includes respecting how they choose to deal with their own situation, the choices that they make with regard to treatment, etc. regardless of whether you agree or disagree with those choices and what they choose to share or not share. We are all unique because of not only our creation but also because of our own experiences. We have been given the right to do what we feel is best for ourselves on an individual basis and no one has the right to tell us what we should do with our own lives.
From there, if you let the cancer patient know that you are there to help them in any way that they may wish (taking them to dr. appointments, picking up food or prescriptions, bringing in a meal, helping out with children in the household, etc.), just know that the matter is now out of your hands. You can be there to listen or just sit quietly as needed. You can make a call to find out if there is any way in which you are able to assist and from there it is up to the patient. Allowing the patient this type of control over their own life is the only control that they will have in this matter and it makes all of the difference in the world. I know that it made all of the difference to me in my own battle.
Please also know that the reason for this website is for all of us to have a place where we can share our experiences, our questions and a fellowship with others who are going through their own struggles regardless of what they may be. You are always welcome here and know that the others here feel as I do and that is that we are all in this together and that is why we are here to help each other.
As always, I love your comments.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.