Friday, December 2, 2016

instead of writing about " what not to say to a cancer patient", i am suggesting that everyone "just say something."

after my diagnosis and treatment for my cancers, especially my breast cancer, a lot of well meaning people said some things to me that i could have taken the wrong way. i have read a number of articles on " what not to  say to a  cancer patient" on different blogs, in  magazines, and even on  facebook posts. well guess what, while i understand that a cancer patient might be upset with some of the "canned cancer comments" - wow, i just invented a new phrase. i think i will abbreviate it the triple C remark, for short. a few examples are: " you look so good! it is hard to believe that you had cancer!" this makes me worry(perhaps i am just being  paranoid) that i need a make-over. maybe i actually must look pretty sick?  or, the phrase that almost makes me cry every time, " they are only breasts!" almost as bad ( and i hate this one) " now they will be perky!

now i do not mean to complain about the well meaning triple Cs. at least, these people took the time to show concern and compassion for my illnesses. the absolute worst thing that you can say to a cancer patient is actually" nothing at all". i had some friends that, for whatever reason, did not say anything at all  to me about my illness. no " how are you doing/ feeling?" " do you need anything?" i never expected gifts or cards, although i did receive more than i deserved from some family and friends.some people called or texted me a message, which i greatly appreciated. my sister came to my house( after i had had chemotherapy treatments and was struggling with nausea/vomiting)  and sat with me some of the  nights that my husband was working late.  i am grateful to these people for their support and kindness during this horrible time.

what did bother me, were close family and friends who did not say anything at all. i know this must be a difficult situation for people who have a sick friend or family member. cancer or serious illness makes us all feel totally helpless. letting a cancer patient know that you are thinking about  them, or praying for them means more than you could ever imagine. i am not saying it is not hard.what i am saying is  that it is the right thing to do. and in the end, you are letting that cancer patient know that you care and that they are important to you. even if you tell me that thyroid cancer "is the good cancer" which is the absolute worst triple C, in my opinion, at least you will have said something to me, and i appreciate your kindness.