Friday, January 28, 2011

How Can You Support Your Friend Or Family Battling Cancer?

One thing is for sure - the support from friends and family, online and offline, has been critical to us both! So much compassion out there!

Both receiving and giving support becomes a challenge for everyone involved. There were times when both of us could not handle any offers of support; we turned the phones off and just hid from the world immediately after hearing bad news. For friends and family, there were times when our cancer was too much to deal with, too uncomfortable. That's all healthy!

So, what are some suggestions for family and friends wanting to be helpful and supportive? Based on our experience, I do have some simple advice:

  1. Get rid of any stereotypes you have about cancer patients and what they need (meals, cleaning, money, a driver to the hospital, etc.) ..instead, just ask "Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make this easier."
  2. Offer positive thoughts or prayers, depending on both yours and their religious or nonreligious view of life. That's powerful. This is validated by summaries of recent medical research into the measurable impact of prayer/positive thoughts on cancer.
  3. Try to let go of feelings of helplessness, guilt or fear you might experience when you hear about someone's cancer diagnosis or treatment failure. Doesn't do anyone any good.
  4. Listen. A cancer patient at some point needs to talk about it. Be ready to listen.

That's it. If you are reading this, it is because you must care. That makes you qualified.

Again, huge thanks to the amazing people that have and continue to support Heidi and myself!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome To Our Cancer Battle


I am Joe. My beloved wife's name is Heidi. We both fight cancer. I am starting this new blog to tell the world what it's like for us, what we're learning and to beg for prayer. It's been quite a rollercoaster ride:

  • July 2004 Heidi diagnosed with Stage2b breast cancer - two lumpectomies, radiation and chemo completed by 2005
  • May 2008 Heidi diagnosed with Stage4 metastatic breast cancer (spread to bones and lungs) - chemo started
  • August 2008 Joe diagnosed with bladder cancer - removed via TURBT
  • January 2011 Joe diagnosed with 14 new bladder tumors - removed via TURBT and intravesical chemo started (BCG)

What is it like?
Each diagnosis, each treatment failure is like getting kicked in the gut by a mule. You can't breathe, you can't move, you just can't believe it. In two days I will hear the results of the biopsies from my bladder cancer surgery last week. In three weeks we will find out if Heidi's chemo is still working. Life on the edge, permanently.
Thanks for stopping by!