From working with many clients and dealing with the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis myself, I would like to share some things that many dealing with such devastation would like others to know.
Cancer is not something you can overcome with sheer will. It is not a battle.
So, dying from cancer doesn’t mean someone didn’t fight hard enough or put in enough effort.
Every diagnosis, treatment plan, individual experience of Cancer, is entirely different, please do not compare my experience to someone else.
Anyone one, of any age, any walk of life can be directly affected by Cancer. It is not helpful to be reminded that you have lived such a healthy life and questioned about why you have been affected.
Also, most people do not know why they got Cancer; their Oncologist even does not know why, so please don’t ask.
Just because someone seems incredibly brave, that doesn’t mean he or she isn’t also scared shitless and have horrible days.
It can be awkward and uncomfortable to talk about how cancer has changed your life. Please try to be sensitive around wanting too many details.
Cancer is not a rite of passage that will eventually help individuals make better choices; the silver lining narrative is often not helpful.
Many assume that when invasive treatments are finished the cancer is over. However, this is not true, especially the on-going psychological impact of the experience.
However, please, don’t pull away from your friends or family who are sick. It is at this time we need you the most.
If you have no idea where to start, ask how you can help. Practical support during treatment and recovery is very helpful. For example, meal delivery, maybe helping with childcare, everyone’s needs are different but do not be afraid to ask.
Moreover, remember, just because we have a Cancer diagnosis does not mean that we have changed forever. We still want to be reminded of ‘normal life’ and have a break from Cancer-World.