I joined a couple of cancer groups on Facebook and something rang out amid all the ailments. This was the true sound of abandonment. Before I continue I must say that I am sure that this rings true not only with cancer patients, but anyone with any type of ailment. If I help just one person, then I have accomplished my goal. Here’s how life goes.
I became afflicted by this disease. I use to love shopping, boating, and riding. I miss going out to lunch with my friends. Since I became diagnosed you don’t come around anymore. The day I was told you came crying at my door, "I will be there for you. Whatever you need I will help you through this.." I saw you no more.
What I have is not contagious, so you don’t have to run. What I need is an occasional hug! Root for me as I fight for my life. You were in my corner before, why did you leave, what changed? It wasn’t me. Are you afraid I will ask too much of you, don’t worry I won’t. The last I heard hugs were free and only took a moment. Don’t treat me any different than you did before. I still laugh and cry the same, maybe with a little more umph!
I wrote this for you, the ones that are ill, and the ones that are going solo through it all. I want you to remember a couple of things; you are never alone, look above and stay strong. Do what you can and don’t sweat the rest. Your health is so important, so get your rest. There are loving, caring people out there, find them and you’ll find added strength.
I wrote this because so many people don’t know what to say or do when a friend or relative has been stricken with an illness. Here are some tips to help you:
!. Be honest: If you are having a hard time accepting or understanding the whys, discuss it with them.
2. Educate yourself: Find out what medications and treatments they are on. This way you know what they are going through and what to expect.
3. Never give false promises: Don’t worry, I will help you cook and clean. I will go grocery shopping when you need me to….never to be heard from again.
4. Keep it simple: If you truly cannot accept or understand what they are going through or if you don’t want to see them in that state, again be honest. I love you and miss you but it hurts me to see you like this. That doesn’t mean that you should shut them out altogether. Call every chance you can to lift their spirits.
5. Don’t pity me: It is not my fault this happened. It could happen to anyone. Treat me the same as you always do. I am asking you not to change because I am changing. I am asking you to understand that I am afraid and don’t know what to expect. Take my hand and walk with me down this unfamiliar road. Be my friend, the one that I’ve always known.
6. Not sure how to help: Ask. I am off on Tuesday’s what do you need to me to do? I can grab you some groceries at the store tomorrow when I go. Or simply, How can I help? What can I do to help? I might just need help getting in and out of bed.
7. Spare the stories: My cousins’ uncle’s wife got the same thing you did…Ok, if it’s not going to be a positive statement, please do not open your mouth! Attitude is everything, it is your job to help them stay positive and to keep a positive outlook. Also, just because one person has a disease or ailment does not mean that they are going to have the same treatment plan, the same medicine and the same side effects. Stop comparing, everyone is different.
8. Never assume: Maybe your cousin had a lot of people helping her recuperate after her surgery. Maybe your Aunt had all the relatives over when she was going through her treatment. Not everyone is the same. Don’t assume that the person going through their illness has all the help they need. A pillar of strength will also have their weakness. Always ask to be safe.
Anyone that is ill, and is under a doctor’s care, is under tremendous stress. There are constant doctor appointments, and tests that have to be done. They are probably on numerous prescriptions. The side effects to all of this and the stress alone are astounding. They say that laughter is the best medicine. I agree whole heartedly. Bring a little sunshine their way. Like I said, a hug is simple, a phone call is simple. It’s those simple little things that will always be remembered. Gentle hugs sent your way!