Posted by: griswoldfun | October 10, 2009

Think Pink: Rambling thoughts on what to say to someone with cancer

When my sister was first diagnosed with breast cancer I wrote this blog post… thought it would be good to share again for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

A Sister’s Soapbox or “How to Act Around People with Cancer”

-It’s okay to say “cancer”.  They know they have it and not asking doesn’t make them forget about it.  It may be an elephant in a china store for you, but for them it’s become part of daily life.

-At the same time, you don’t always have to talk about cancer or chemo or doctors. They do other stuff too!  If you want to see scars or know details, they will gladly share or tell you to butt out. But they are still living… working, seeing crazy people on the DART, trying to learn how to turn off their ipod, and who knows what else!  They don’t want to be treated with kid gloves.

-Don’t be afraid of emotions.  To quote Amanda “You can’t avoid pain, sickness or death because the person going through it lives with it daily”.  You might ask them how they are doing and they might not say “Fine”.  You might talk to a family member and they might tear up.  Get over it.  Ask anyway because you love us and care about us.

-It’s cancer, not deafness or blindness.  We haven’t encountered pointing or staring or whispering (yet), but there have been a few instances where people will go up to Mom and ask about Jamie or say they are praying for her when she is 2 feet away.  Um, they can hear you… don’t ignore them.

-You don’t know what to say. That’s okay. Half the time we don’t know what to say. A “This sucks” is quite appropriate, contrary to how your mother raised you.

-Humor! They might lose their hair and their modesty, but it’s really hard to lose your sense of humor.  You might have to be careful about boob job jokes if you are a male, but you are welcome to the bald jokes J  Laughter remains one of the greatest medicines!

-And the #1 thing to remember – FAITH!!  We have faith in God that Jamie’s cancer will be conquered and would prefer to hang out with others who believe the same thing. (*update: Jamie is cancer free :-))

That’s all I have to say about that…

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