Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 Things NOT To Say To Your Friends Fighting Cancer

Heidi launching fireworks from our kayak July 4th!
This is a rough time for us.  In the next few days, we'll get results for Heidi's CT Scan, Bone Scan and tumor markers.  The scans are because of indications that her cancer is growing again.  Next week, we hear what her Oncologist recommends..and I get checked for new bladder tumors.  Scary!

The support sent our way is phenomenal - we are so grateful.

Occasionally, we get a well-meaning response that is not helpful and can actually be discouraging.  So I thought I'd list out some of the statements best avoided if someone you know is still fighting their cancer.  How do you know if they are still 'fighting'?  If they are getting cancer treatment or followups, they are still fighting.

Here are 10 things that your friends battling cancer probably don't need to hear:

  1. 'We all have to die some day'  ..thanks for the reminder
  2. 'You must have eaten the wrong thing to get cancer'  ..great, now I feel guilty
  3. 'If you just use this supplement/eat this food, you'll be cured'  ..yeah right
  4. 'Just accept it and get your affairs in order'  ..a bit premature, don't ya think?
  5. ' I feel sorry for you because I had a friend who died of cancer'  ..please share survivor stories instead!
  6. 'If your faith was stronger, you wouldn't need doctors' God's out to get me?
  7. 'You must have sinned - ask God's forgiveness' God's really out to get me?
  8. 'You can't lose - if you die, you get to enjoy Heaven sooner' ..eternity can wait a little longer!
  9. 'Thanks to hospice, death is no longer painful'  ..ouch!
  10. 'Don't worry, you'll be just fine' least check my prognosis in case it is dismal - but I must admit, I myself am guilty of saying this one to others!
Please don't take this as anything more than helpful advice.  If you feel at a loss for words, try these:
  • 'What can I do to help?'
  • 'I'm thinking of you'
  • 'I'm praying for you'

But you know what?  Someone that has shown they care can say ANYTHING and we know it's from the heart.

As always, thanks so much for your support!

- Joe


    1. Joe, this is an excellent blog...needs to be more widely published and read!!! Great don't and does! Martha

    2. Nice article I like this…Thanks for sharing such expensive information.

    3. Joe, This post shows the power of words. They can tear us down or build us up. If people don't know what to say, they are better to say nothing at all. Just being present is sometimes enough!!
      I attended a 4th of July party recently. Hubby stayed home because he was sick from chemo. I left after awhile because peoples questions and comments started to tire me. It would have been nice if they had asked me, as a caregiver, how I was doing or better yet... what I had been up to.
      We so need a sense of normalcy in our lives. There has to be more than cancer to talk about!

    4. I admire your passion for life and all things good. Being a BC survivor, I can understand how important is courage and hope. God bless you people and heal you to good health soon.
      Best wishes n prayers
      Indian Guru