Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Notes Along The Way

One thing I learned is that having cancer can be nearly as difficult for those around you as yourself.  At first I found this insulting.  Wasn't I the one going through all the really hard stuff of chemotherapy and radiation and surgery?!  Now I see that Caregivers have it very rough also.  At the Wellness Community, for example, there are support groups for Caregivers.  When I was in a wheelchair for four months I could not do much of anything except receive my treatments and take care of the basics.  My wife, Denise, in particular, shouldered a very heavy load. Aside from the emotional burden, she was working a lot. 

Many people, I found, do not know how to talk to me about my situation.  It is amazing how many people are cancer experts recommending alternative treatments, a certain type of water, bad-mouthing chemotherapy etc...  At some stages of the treatment (actually nearly all) I could not hear any of that.  Not that I wasn't interested in alternatives but I had chosen a course, had lined up my team of experts both conventional and integrative and I had to keep my focus on that.  The time was not right to take suggestions. 

In recognition that everyone is trying to help and how difficult it can be to talk to people who have cancer I am republishing this from The Nick and Friends Sarcoma Foundation about what to say to someone who has cancer.  I found these recommendations very good. 

Do’s & Don’ts

Do you ever wonder what you should say to someone who has cancer, or to the parent of a terminally ill child? Most of us want to say something that will help ease their pain and encourage them. Unfortunately, the “helpful” things we say are often very hurtful. Sometimes we do not know what to say, so we don’t say anything at all, which is also hurtful. Your friends do not want to be treated differently or like there is something wrong with them. Yes, they have a terminal illness, but, they are still human beings who want to be treated as such.
Since we encourage people to visit our sarcoma friends and leave messages, we decided that we should offer some sort of training. Several sarcoma families helped us compile this list of Do’s & Don’ts based on actual comments. As you will see, some comments are very uplifting and supportive, others not so much.  To read the rest click here.