Thursday, August 21, 2008

What to Say, What Not to Say

I came across a great article in the waiting room, which I've found online, The Diagnosis Dilemma: To Tell or Not To Tell. It was the sidebars that I appreciated, but they don't have direct links.

Click on "My Uncle Died of That," on the left hand side of the page. You'll get a pop-up window with a very brief article about one woman's experiences. And just below it, "How to React to the News" gives some good guidelines on what (and what NOT) to say when you learn someone has cancer. It is hard to know what to say when you hear this shocking news; here's a chance to think about it and prepare yourself.

I can tell you that my most troubling conversations were when I was told that I have said or done something to cause my cancer (heard that twice, thank you), or that it is some kind of current or past life karmic payback. I don't believe that, and if you do, keep it to yourself. (And honestly, even if you do believe that, why would you think it's helpful to say that to me?)

The second most troubling reaction is being told that I can cure my cancer by willpower; and in fact, that it can only be cured that way. Again, if you believe this, keep it to yourself.

I'm sure that a positive attitude is helpful in every stage of treatment, if only to spare your medical team and caregivers. And please believe me, I'm trying! But it's just not always possible, so please don't imply that my life depends on a sunny demeanor. I have two friends who are addicted to this philosophy, and flog me with it at every opportunity. I've found it extremely hurtful; I know you mean well, but seriously, put a lid on it.

4 comments:

Laura said...

Hello,
I just discovered your blog off of the adventures of cancer girl. I love it. Forgive me if I didn't quite get the right info are u just getting ready for transplant. I also got the impression you live in Indiana as do I. I had my transplant 2 years ago. Still doing well. Thanks for blogging. It helps for us who might be a little to timid to do so.

La Cootina said...

Thanks, Laura. Yes, my transplant is probably 2-3 weeks away. If you like, send a note to me, LaCootina@gmail.com. We can chat more about transplants and blogging.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blogs and really getting some insights and I loved the piece about Carol she was indeed a very nice lady. Gloria Wolvos

La Cootina said...

Thanks, Gloria. My parents are lucky to have good friends like you. We all need support right now.