Smiling wooden figure. Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
You’ve got cancer! Smile!
Are you kidding me? Smile?
When my doctor told me I had cancer, nothing was the same anymore. Having cancer was like a point of no return. No trace of a smile was found on my face. Only fears and uncertainties filled my whole being.
If you had asked me before I was diagnosed with cancer, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I can’t wait to know if the bump that stayed on my upper right thigh was a tumor or not.
When I met my doctor weeks after my surgical removal, I cried my heart out, but actually, no sound came out of my lips. There are only silent teardrops that filled my eyes.
The news was shocking, I felt dreadful and something that occurred right that instant moment, as if a great wall suddenly built in front of me that I could impossibly get through to my friends and my family anymore. The fear of dying at that moment made me feel so detached from them.
It is never easy for someone diagnosed with cancer to smile.
It is also never easy for someone who cares and wanted to communicate with a patient or survivor. Sometimes words are uncomfortably be uttered.
But YOU can bring a smile to a cancer survivor or patient’s face.
So, if you know someone who is diagnosed with cancer, make your communication simple. With your love, empathy, and smile you can let them know how important he or she in your life.
Showing love doesn’t necessarily have to be from a romantic partner, family or best friend. Sometimes, a stranger is capable to show overwhelming love to someone who is facing something unfamiliar and unpredictable as a cancer diagnosis.
In my journey, I can say that I was so fortunate to feel the love from few people who were there for me during my diagnosis. They are like angels who have this inner beauty that is capable to show great love even from someone who they just met.
Not all cancers are alike, my cancer experience could never be the same as others. Even I met a fellow sarcoma survivor with the same site of tumor with mine, our diagnosis and cancer journey are totally different.
Make your love known to someone has cancer simple by simply listening to him/her. No matter how hard we try to understand them, you will never really understand what they’re going through. Showering advice to someone that has cancer may not actually assure you that they will feel better. Because, sometimes, all they need is someone who can listen to them.
Why empathy, not sympathy?
“Empathy is the thread that connects us to other humans. When empathy is used in everyday life, it makes us feel more connected to one another. And when we feel connected to those around us, we into better, more compassionate people.” Brene Brown
How can you connect yourself to someone who is suffering from pain every minute, every day? When a “no respond” from your questions makes you already disappointed and leave that person alone.
Why not show some small act of kindness? Maybe make a relaxing tea for him/her, make a quick grocery before you visit a friend that has cancer or leave a simple message/note (written or digital). It’s these little things that can make a difference that might change the mood of a cancer patient/survivor.
A smile can be a verb or noun, it’s a facial expression showing how kind and amusing you are where your lips turn up and the front teeth exposed. But a smile is not just a simple definition.
A smile is a very powerful thing that cost nothing but gives much.
There is nothing much to smile about for someone who has cancer. Maybe your smile is needed today. Your smile can bring hope and encouragement to those who suffer from cancer.
A happy person can have 40 to 50 times smile in one day. An average one can have 20 times, why not give one of your smiles to someone you know who is now suffering from the pain cancer has brought?
Had you given a smile to someone who has cancer yet? Or maybe suffering from any chronic illnesses or pain, or maybe depression.
If you haven’t yet, don’t wait for tomorrow. Give one of yours now. Smile!!!
And don’t forget to share your thoughts, leave a comment below!
Cielo Superticioso, is the author of The Cancer Voice Asia created last August 2017. She starts the advocacy of The Cancer Voice after she successfully beat cancer in Saigon, Vietnam by writing articles. She is committed and determined to continue the campaign in order to strengthen the cancer awareness because no one should fight cancer alone.