Were You One Of A Stubborn Cancer Patients?

cancer voice in asia
Cancer patients need someone to support and encourage them not someone to argue with no matter how stubborn they are. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Before you will give up taking care of your loved one or continue connecting with your friend that has cancer. Think about this first. And I will try to make this as concise as I could so that we can all understand why it is difficult to figure out the changeable mood of someone has cancer.

Your loved one or friend that has cancer may not be pleasant to be around anymore right after the diagnosis, recurrence cancer or metastasis. They can have little patience and tolerance for anything or to anyone. They seem to be angry with everyone. You may think they are rude and you may seem they’re not like the same person anymore. Of course, no one will like this. You can’t deal with this kind of attitude every day.

But, please remember…

Cancer is isolating.

And the people with cancer feel lonely most of the time. Especially those who could not accept yet their diagnosis. Being around to someone who has cancer is already a great comfort during their cancer journey.

Some people who give up their loved one that has cancer find it difficult to be a friend to them. Sad that cancer changes everything, including relationships and attitude of a cancer patient. Though they want to help all throughout the journey with cancer they always don’t know what to do. No matter how hard for the patient and the carer try to beat this deadly disease, taking all the medications, and following doctor’s advice – it’s sad how aggressive some cancer is that relationships are affected.

Some cancer patients become more stubborn throughout their journey. And being positive is almost not that valuable anymore. Staying positive during the cancer battle is a lot of pressure. I know how hard it feels. As a cancer survivor, diagnosed with Sarcoma 2 years ago, I just let my emotion flows.

When you feel being so positive, live it out, but if you’re not, let your tears flow or whatever you think can make you feel good.

Because having cancer is a feeling like a hell every day that makes someone scared to death coping pain, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Why not be patient for the cancer patient’s changeable mood and attitude? When they need to be alone, respect it. The least that we can do is to understand them and being around with them no matter how difficult the cancer treatment process is.

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. Expect everything will change including the mood and emotions. We always hope that each cancer patient that is diagnosed with cancer will finally reach the stage of being cured and free from the physical pain that cancer brings.

I personally thank all understanding and persistent friends and family members who stayed despite difficulty what cancer can bring to both patients and carers. You are really the most honored people across the globe. The fight of each cancer patient is also the fight of someone who has cancer.

Can you share why no matter what your loved ones and doctor tells you what you supposed to do, you are still stubborn?

Leave your comment below.

To My Dear Friend, Your Hug Means A Lot

cancer voice in asia
A hug is worth a thousand words. Photo by Hian Oliveira on Unsplash

To continue the letter series for a friend, To My Dear Friend, let’s now talk about the feelings, mood changes and personality changes of a cancer patient or survivor.

You are maybe caring a loved one who has cancer and you might observe his/her personality changes also you are unable to fathom that temperament.

Coming across a friend or loved one’s personality changes because of cancer seems scary and disappointing but it is the time they need you the most.

You might find that is complicated that you can ever imagine communicating to someone you used to spend time the rest of your life. But here you go, you are wondering what went wrong.

Please do remember:

Personality changes in cancer may happen for many reasons–

From mental health to chemical changes in the body…

BUT… it does not really change what you or friends, family or carers have to cope with.

There are many simple ways you can do even you are struggling with communicating with a loved one or friend that has cancer:

  1. Write a letter.
  2. Write a small note once in a while, leave in a fridge or in at the door of the bedroom.
  3. Cook something delicious and healthy food.
  4. Give a HUG.

The simple do in just do it. Where, also a common proverb agreed to it, “Actions speak louder than words.” A meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words – and go along with simple actions.

Cancer patients and survivors do not need superficial friends or family.

Unfortunately, some people will turn their backs on you. Whether a family or friend, after hearing those three little words “cancer” they just simply abandon you.

For most of us who experience cancer, it is an isolating disease which tends to shut us up after the diagnosis. Yes, we still need and want to talk about our cancer, the worst thing might happen, in case we are going to die at any moment from now. We also want to consider the option if we are going to turn down the treatment. We want to talk about our pain and grieve for ourselves. But, regrettably, a lot of people don’t want to listen to that, even our close friends and family.

However, having experienced cancer and became isolated from the people that surround me had taught me a lot of valuable lessons. One of those is learning to accept that people have limitations, understanding that even a family is not able to be there for someone who has cancer. Probably, some are just afraid and could not come face to face with their fears. Some need you to be strong and only could not bear seeing you weak. Or unfortunately, some of them just don’t care as much about as you thought they did.

Whatever reasons people may turn their backs on someone who has cancer must probably have own issues. Whether knowing it is unfair for someone who has cancer being deserted. However, behind this abandonment issues, there is always a hopeful side of having cancer. And that is helping us see who our real friends are. Even a stranger can become a part of your day-to-day survival and become a friend for a lifetime.

To my dear friend, who did me a favor during the time I was so exhausted and needed a hug badly. Feeling so grateful for you gladly promised to give me that hug, casting aside your priority for the meantime and took care of me.

To my dear friend, I hate to think that your cancer came back. Seeing you each day being so strong, you just simply put the words, “be strong” into action and we still have hope” by caring your close friends whenever we also got sick. It is unimaginable that someone has cancer and racked with pain every day still able to care whenever a friend gets ill. You just simply show up as possible as you could and help in any way as you could. Where in fact, you are the one that should be taken care of.

Having experience this magical physical contact from a friend during the time I was exhausted and from a friend now who is every day exhausted from cancer, we must realize the importance of physical contact by simply giving a hug.

Cancer hurts.

The pain cannot be described. A bit of human warmth and contact to remind someone who suffers from cancer that they are not alone.

To be sure, there are some cancer patients that are suffering excruciating pain in their bones or muscles. Also, never forget to ask before you give them a warm squeeze and try to be as gentle as you can.

“SOMETIMES ALL WE NEED IS JUST A HUG.”

 

 

Here’s Why Pets Are Better Company When You’re Sick

cancer voice in asia
For dogs and cats, every day is a great day to be happy. Photo by Anusha Barwa on Unsplash

It really sucks to be sick. How much more having an illness like cancer? It does suck more, cancer really sucks.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a favorite pet. That was more than 20 years ago when I was in primary school. My sister and I had a favorite dog where she thinks she is also our sister, not only a friend. Whenever my sister and I were having a childhood fight, our dog, Berga was always there to join us instead of stopping us from fighting.

I grew up living in a house with different kinds of animals from primary school until I finish college. Seriously, different kinds of animals, name it! Not just a dog or dogs. We have mice, rabbit, hamster, birds, chicken (both hen & rooster, giant –jolo & dwarf one – bantam) guinea pig, goldfish, and even snakes! This is all because of my late father who is the number one animal lover I’ve known in my entire life. I actually could not understand why he isn’t tired of keeping and taking care of these animals.

Honestly, throughout my being, before and after cancer, I don’t fully apprehend why my father keeps many animals throughout his life, even before he passed away. Until then, in one right set of circumstances, when my friend’s cat happened to stay with me.

When I had cancer 2 years ago, I had never thought of having a pet. All I thought was, how to survive this disease, will I still be alive after this cancer diagnosis? Can I still do the goals that I must achieve?

cancer
Sushi & Yuki – mother & son.

Until then, I had come to live with these sleek, tomcat, Sushi and Yuki. Living with four-legged amigos will definitely make you feel better and happy, not only when you’re sick. Because pets teach us that every day is a great day to be happy.

Dogs and cats never hold on to what happened yesterday, last week or last year, unlike us, humans. They are always calm in whatever circumstances happen every second.

cancer voice in asia
Cherry – the sweetest poodle.

Dogs are always glad to see you. With them, you’ll never be alone as they really inclined to bond with a person. Dogs know when you’re sick and will stick with you until you feel better. They are always extra affectionate to make you feel that you will be alright. Maybe more dog cuddle, laying in bed with you, or just simply hang out by your side while you lie on the couch and stares at you with a tongue out. They are always trying to comfort you more and let you know that they are there for you.

More so, let me give you more reasons why pets are much better company when you’re sick or alone:

  • They can find fun in messiness.
    Life’s messy! Stay happy!Having a pet, you can’t really expect them to care about where the food and water go when they’re already enjoying their meal. They make a mess, a lot of mess and they find fun in messiness.

    Let’s admit it, no matter how often times we attempt to be a perfect human, there are times that we inevitably make a mess. In fact, we are all, after all, just trying to make it through the day.

    For cancer patients and survivors who are living in pain and anxiety, little things that they do or happened to them are very important as long as it can make them smile.

Having a cancer is a real big mess.

A messy place or messy tomorrows are unsurprisingly part of the life of a cancer patient or survivor and being happy for most of them seems an impossible task.

Pets have a very important role to keep them happy and can possibly make a progress for the healing journey from cancer. Where pets have the ability to help strengthen the emotion of cancer patients and survivors and develop positive talking to themselves for a hope even for an uncertain future.

When you have cancer, living each day to the fullest means making plans for the future and staying involved in the duties and pleasures of daily life does make sense for everyone, sick or well.

  • They are positive beings.
    Giving food to your dog or cat is the easiest way to make them happy. You can easily recognize that they are happy by lolling their tongues, wagging tails and showing their cheerful spirits.
  • They occupy our free and boring time.
    A simple walk in the park with our pet, cleaning their corner, or feeding them can help us be more active. And that means you burn calories, getting your heart rate up and scoring the big mood and energy boosts provided by quick bursts of exercises.Most of the time, when someone is sick because of cancer, they usually have to stay at home the whole day every day while the rest of the family have to go to work or school. Being alone most of the time adds the anxiety and worries of every cancer patient and survivor. Whilst, having a pet that can follow you around during the treatment and even after you are well, boost the bliss in a cancer patient or survivor’s lives.
  • They help us develop empathy.
    Having a pet at home become more caring and compassionate. Taking care of dogs or cats prompts us all humans and animals have similar needs such as being social, we all need a company to spend time with; a food lover, we all love food, who doesn’t?

Cancer patients and survivors need empathy as much as the rest do.

This is a serious illness that each patient or survivor need to be understood and be able to share feelings with another not just a stroll in a park. Sometimes we end up avoiding the person who needs us the most, but pets, they need not worry what to do or say to someone who is sick. Their presence is more than enough to show empathy that could improve the satisfaction of care of a cancer patient or survivor and even give them a motivation to continue to their treatment plans in their cancer journey.

  • They keep us healthy.
    This is not just my own stance, according to The American Heart Association, having a pet reduces cardiovascular disease risk factor, such as lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and a lower likelihood of obesity.That must be one of the reasons why my father never gets tired of taking care of animals especially dogs.

    What’s more, a caring pet (especially dogs) can help a cancer patient or survivor to cope up with stress, depression, and anxiety. Simply playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax. Their friendship can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for cancer patient or survivor that’s anxious about what will be happening to its life.

Dogs (or even cats) live in the moment.

They don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow – they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present.

cancer voice in asia
A dog doing yoga. Dogs & cats live in the moment.

 

Do you have any thoughts to share about your cancer journey with your pet? Leave a comment below!

I CRIED

cancer in asia
Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

 

You may think I am much tougher after beating cancer.

You may think…

I never break down.

I still cry.

I cried.

I howled

Perhaps you, too,

There are times you have to cry, too.

I cry.

I cry.

I cry.

I don’t wanna stop crying.

Until I will be fine again.

For days.

For weeks.

For months.

Until I have to cry again.

It’s a cycle.

I write about pain.

I write about depression.

I write about my love.

My unconditional love for those who are willing to receive.

I said I don’t need that love to be returned.

But, sometimes, I feel like I wish it will be returned, too.

Somehow.

Yes, it was.

Yes, it is.

Glad for the friends who I have now.

Glad for a sister that shows unconditional love.

Glad for old friends who also did the same.

And leave precious and useful memories.

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

A blogger is just a human.

A writer has real emotions.

A cancer survivor is like another superhero who drop its sword and cry like a child.

Because, deep inside, this hero that beats cancer — is also a child.

Human Contact Cannot Be Overestimated!

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Human contact cannot be overestimated!

This was the exact sentence from another cancer survivor to me in one of the fora in the social media where we share experiences and victories.

I shared my latest blog, a letter to my friend whose cancer is back right after her second surgery with her recurrence tumor in the thyroid in the same forum I mentioned earlier and received very helpful comments afterward.

“Please take some time to go see her even if all you do is sit and hold her hand.”

“If you can, go and cry with her. Then talk, then cry some more, then encourage her that you will be there. In spirit if not always in body. If you can only text or write, that’s okay. Just tell her she is not alone and you will stay to whatever the end is, whenever it is. Then do it. It’ll make all the difference for her and you. Let her know, she can say anything. You won’t leave.”

These are the first two bits of advice I received from one of the most courageous people across the globe.

Their words are powerful to help another, to encourage another.

Similarly with what Karla Kay said during our previous interview,

“Until you hear those 3 words, you have no idea how you would handle anything!”

True! Even the three little word – CANCER – is powerful to devastate our world. However, this word will just be a trifle with the powerful words of those people surrounded by someone has cancer.

Someone that is ready to answer without making the understanding difficult.

People need people.

An approval, comfort, or encouragement from other people is vital to human health, both mentally and physically. With the help of social interaction, people can express their feelings and share their problems with other people.

Not just any social support, it must be a good social support that can help someone coping with stress, major life changes (like divorce, moving house, migrating, and so on…) or chronic illnesses.

It has been proved by many researchers and studies that the most lonely people more often are afflicted with health and mental problems such as cardiovascular problem, stress, anxiety, and depression.

“No man is an island.”

Just like what the famous proverb goes, “No man is an island”. Knowing that we are being thought of and valued by few people who are close to us is an essential psychological factor in helping us to ignore the negative aspects of our lives, and thinking more positively about our environment.

Friends and family are there to reduce the stress that we are enduring that can boost our confidence and gives us great motivation not to give up easily.

Having said that, in the reality of life, there are some circumstances that we cannot always expect a great encouragement from our friends and family.

Instead, these are the people we expect the least.

They are the ones who unselfishly keeping us the fight toward the victory.

They are once strangers in our life which turns into someone we can always run to.

However…

Not all of us have the toughness to open our hearts and share our feelings and problems.

Not all of us have the courage to be upfront to share our raw feelings.

There are people who find it difficult to process their feelings and communicate to others, yet they are still misunderstood.

More so, the lack of interaction of these kinds of people can negatively lead to first signs of depression and anxiety.

Don’t waste your time.

Whenever you know someone who is suffering from life-threatening conditions such as cancer, a strong human connection can help the recovery and even enhance the quality of their life, which is very important for a seriously ill or mentally unhealthy person.

If you know one, go and make them feel that they should not be alone carrying all the burdens they are bearing.

You’ll never tell how you can improve their well-being that affects their immune system as well.

Your words and actions can be a great moment of truth for them.

It is never too late to do anything if you start doing it now. Especially, helping someone in the core of deep sadness.

Have you made yourself a great influence and positive impact on someone’s life? Have you been part of someone else’s turning point in life? Have you brightened up their dark days? Have you snatched them out from the abyss of loneliness?

If so, please share with us! Leave a comment below!

 

To My Dear Friend, Let’s Crush Cancer Together

cancer in asia; vietnam; philippines
Photo by Courtney Prather on Unsplash

Recently, you had brought us another terrible news that makes us unbearably sad.

“You have cancer, again.”

This news had shocked us and left us completely speechless.

I sent you a message right after I heard that news from our other friend.

Then, you replied back, “We have still hope!”

Yes! We still have lots of hope.

With us, we will try to crush this cancer as positive and happy as possible as we could.

You know, we can still go for a walk together in the park. What a shame that I have not been able to do that with you yet as like we always plan before, I am sorry.

But of course, we can shop for more groceries like we used to do. Or sing our favorite karaoke songs together.

Let’s have more movie together, and again, I am really sorry I fell asleep when we were watching the last time.

Yes, there are still much hope!

Because cancer cannot defeat your brave and fighting spirit.

Because it cannot quiet your daring outlook in life.

Because it cannot kill friendship.

Because…

It cannot stop making you more good memories.

I can see how well you’ve been trying to beat cancer (alone).

I really admire your courage since, and you are much braver than before.

I understand…

I understand how exhausting to keep going back to the hospital for days and waiting for the whole day for your test results and doctor’s appointment.

I can imagine after all those exhausting days visiting your doctor you will hear again the word you used to hear. I feel like my even knees sudden weaken after I heard the news about you.

With this recent news, I know, it takes a lot of courage to accept the truth. Even us, we could not seem hardly imagine why this is all happening again. You may be hiding your real emotions yet you are still bold enough to handle this carefully.

You are one of the toughest persons I know. I could not imagine why this nagging cancer dares to keep coming back and thinks it could a chance against you. This is really unfair it’s happening again.

Please do remember, you are not alone in this journey. We are here to help you at any and every step of this burdensome journey.

All I wish, that one day, you’ll get through this. I can’t wait for more bus escapades together with you, our beach days and even more coffee shops hop.

You are an inspiration to us. How you showed your strength despite the pain you feel every day.

The dedication you had shown in the project we are doing and how relentless you are with your plans while you are living with cancer.

Please, always remember this, although you are now in the midst of many uncertainties at the moment…

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

 

She Sparkles And Shines On, Meet Karla Kay

cancer in asia
Karla Kay – Leiomyosarcoma Survivor, Stage 1b Grade High

Let me just tell those “SHOULD”ers they need to STOP!! Until you hear those 3 words you have no idea how you would handle anything!

The Diagnosis
On 28th October 2015, I received the phone call at 5 p.m. while standing in the kitchen from my gynecologist doctor. His words were very somber and slow after I heard him say, “The biopsy came back and you have cancer”, I couldn’t hear anything else. I dropped to the floor and told him to stop talking! My son was there and literally picked me up off of the floor.

The Decisive Moment
From that moment my life changed forever. After the shock wore off my focus was to get the beast (cancer) out and stay alive to help plan my daughter’s wedding who just told me a week before she was getting married on October 16th, 2016. After my surgery, I was told I had a very rare aggressive Leiomyosarcoma of the uterus (Stage 1b Grade High). I thought how could this be!? How could my body be trying to kill me, I lost all trust in my body, how could the uterus that gave me 2 beautiful children turn so ugly! I was angry. I began questioning God. I began questioning my life. My journey of 2 1/2 years has been a roller coaster. I am very grateful to still be cancer free coming up on 3 years now. But not a day goes by I don’t think about what if it returns. I lost many people who I thought were “friends”, set boundaries and I feel there is a before cancer Karla and an after cancer Karla.

Advice
My advice, DON’T LET ANYONE “SHOULD” ON YOU!!! You know what I’m talking about those who are survivors. Whether you currently have cancer or currently NED (No Evidence of Disease), some people will tell you how you “should” be handling it, how you “should” be acting, what you “should” be feeling. Let me just tell those “SHOULD”ers they need to STOP!! Until you hear those 3 words you have no idea how you would handle anything! Another piece of advice, let go of toxic people live life to the fullest and be bold! God gave me a second chance, I will not allow anyone to take it from me. I hit hell’s floor and I rose with fire!

Wow! This interview has really amazed and inspired me! I can feel the driven strength of character of Karla Lay. It is an honor to do an interview with this another Leiomyosarcoma warrior for three years and counting.

Karla is now cancer free. She had a total abdominal hysterectomy where the tumor was contained in her uterus. Thankfully, it has not spread. She visits her oncologist and surgeon and has CT scans every three months.

How does this story of Karla Kay resonate with you? Share your thoughts, leave a comment below!

Photo courtesy of the author.

The Selfless Sarcoma Warrior

The Diagnosis
MPNST (Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor) high-grade in sternum area and low-grade in the left thigh, May 20, 2016.

The Decisive Moment
I did many surgeries from 1st grade, middle school, and even after my college. Since I was young, I’ve got a number of lumps forming in my body.

My family was very worried so they brought me to the doctor for a biopsy. An excision biopsy was done and the result was eventually okay.

Unfortunately, the number of lumps growing in my body grew more each year. So, I was required for another surgical removal especially on my right abdomen.

My surgical removal happened for 3 times already but then, another lump grew on a different site.

Until then, the doctors were able to give their final diagnosis, I have Neurofibromatosis since I was still in college.

I tried to make research over the Internet and look for the common symptoms. I realized then that my cancer is genetic and I got this from my grandfather from my father’s side.

Most of my lumps previously were all benign, until a tumor appears from a different site and it turns out to become malignant.

After having many surgeries done since I was young, I even look like a rag doll already, but it’s fine as long as the results are good.

Despite the fact that I am living with cancer, I never let cancer define me.

I successfully completed my nursing degree and I work as a nurse for 6 years after college. I am PDN (Private Duty Nurse) to a cancer patient with a terminal case which I took care of her for only 4 months. Then, as a caregiver in the western part of the globe and a medical nurse in the middle east.

Like you, I also have many plans for me and my family. Like giving them all the best from the only daughter that they ever had. Until this had happened. It seems unfair but I never allow this illness hinder my plans.

When I figured out that I have another tumor on my left thigh and on my sternum, it was so difficult to believe that it happened again. But then I just ignored it.

When I was working in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I notice that the tumor grows bigger than the last time I checked it from the same site (in my sternum). It’s very uncomfortable for my job. I was thinking to go back to the Philippines to have this check.

Continue reading The Selfless Sarcoma Warrior

This Is Why You Should Keep A Cancer Journal

 

The Cancer Voice Asia

The onset from dealing with cancer diagnosis is also a beginning of a “lonely” journey and battle.

It’s not only me, but everyone passed through the revelation of our biopsy, we suddenly shut the world down and isolated ourselves from everyone.

For more than two years I began my cancer journey, I saw myself first terrified with the unexpected path I have to stray off and also have met families and friends walking the same frightening pathway.

Do you know what we immediately see at the end of our trail?

This:

Photo by Kapil Dubey on Unsplash

Receiving a diagnosis that there is a tumor growing inside our body or the exact word “CANCER” is the most life-shattering experience we could ever have.

Literally, it smashes out our freedom since these tiny abnormal cells that have uncontrollably divided into our body are growing fast and aggressively.

It suddenly stirs up unexplained and unstable feelings which we don’t even know how to explain it to everyone so we prefer to — CUT PEOPLE LOSE even those who are close to us.

For most of us, having had terrifying medical experiences in the past and a memory that is not really pleasant we usually avoid keep talking about cancer because we need to move on.

Thinking or talking about our cancer can trigger an emotional wound that could overwhelm us with an intensity of emotion that is too deep for words.

It is very fortunate for some that are able to receive a lot of comfort and assistance from organizations and support systems where they could have a privilege to have a grounded life despite the threat of cancer. Where they can receive a complete aid whether in financial, personal, social and emotional aspect.

But, not everyone can have that kind of very fortunate encounter. Still, some of them are living in the dark right from the first day they found out that they have cancer.

This is why I am writing this and you should consider about keeping a cancer journal.

You could be a patient, survivor, or carer.

No one should make an excuse because the fact is, anyone must realize that even we are already in the abyss of this deadly disease, you are still able to find hope and light by writing your cancer journey.

You don’t have to share your journal with everyone. It’s always your choice if you want few people to read your thoughts and feelings that you want to write down as you face this dreadful journey.

As for me, I did not start having this blog and writing numbers of articles “out of the blue”.

I was able to start this blogging out from the thought of sharing my first few journals that I wrote before when I had cancer.

I even never thought of sharing my entire journey to everyone. Until, one day, I did.

Especially here:

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

I wanna make your first journal writing with these few and simple steps:

  1. Start with a few sentences (describe what you actually feel now).
  2. Be open and honest (just like you are talking to yourself in the mirror).
  3. Take your time and enjoy the process (little you might even know that you already write many sentences).

What matters here is yourself. You are doing this by helping your journey easy through reflecting on what’s happening. This is just for you not for other people, so throw all those doubts and worries out the window!

Please don’t think that because you have cancer, you suddenly become a private individual that could not live a life like a normal person that can do anything in life because you think they are healthier than you.

I know for some of you, you are still in the process of accepting this unwanted fate.

Seems impossible to start your cancer journal, I understand.

But writing your journey will somehow give you a chance to slow down and think about the positive things that still happen; despite cancer gives you enough reason to be negative and just give up the fight.

So take your time and never raise that white flag yet.

Please do think as well that having cancer means, it teaches us to be mindful of our life instead of doing anything that we please carelessly before our diagnosis.

What’s more? If you are good at drawing, painting, or any creative skills that you have, you can add it to your journal to make you more inspired.

REMEMBER: Cancer could not simply overthrow your creative skills.

Why not defeat cancer by using your creativity? Knowing that only you can do this, it’s a plus that makes you unique!

And, if you are not quite sure what to write, you can start writing some simple prompts such as:

  • What are you thankful for today?
  • What do you want to do today?
  • What are you worried now?
  • What makes you sad/happy?

Are you ready to get a pen and notebook to start your first cancer journal? It’s never too late for everyone.

Any thoughts you want to add? Just leave your comments below.

Photo by Ilya Ilyukhin on Unsplash

Seriously, Stop Saying, “Let Me Know If You Need Anything”

The Cancer Voice Asia
Please Stop Saying, “Let Me Know If You Need Anything”

For someone who has cancer like me, I am very grateful that you come and visit me in the hospital. Thank you for the cards, a bouquet of flowers and fruits you brought. Glad you initiated a campaign or a fundraising for me – WITHOUT ASKING. I would have said no if you ask me before you did that.

Don’t get me wrong, the phrases, “Let me know what I can do to help” or “Don’t hesitate to call on me” does not mean are not very helpful. Well, I respect your thoughtfulness. But, tell you what, I’m not going to give a reply with what you are asking me. No matter how much you have shown your good intentions, I doubt that would even turn out to be very much helpful because my mind is already filled up with many stuff, negative emotions, and physical discomfort.

I do appreciate and love when you take charge and just do things out of your intention of helping. According to psychological learning, when people are in difficulties or in calamities, the logical part of their brain doesn’t operate well. So, when you ask me what do I need, it will be just a waste all the time. I will not even be able to think of what I need! What will more likely happen is I will be terribly worn out, so giving you a suggestion what you can do to help me is — POINTLESS.

I am not either demoralizing your desire to help, so instead of saying those phrases, I would rather admire if you could say, “I will try my best to help you by any means.” Act your plan even without telling me or anyone what you want to do. If you have many options and you think they are all doable, try to do them one at a time. Bringing foods that prepared by yourself (I appreciate if it’s health-wise), a simple visit (that would be lovely), an errand (taking care of my hospital records or any help you could offer), financial help, or to stay awake each time I need a hand in the middle of the night or early morning. Whatever mood you can bring into my hospital room or bedroom they are all great offers.

However, there are times that I really need to be alone especially when I am not feeling well. You may make a surprise visit, but I may not be able to appreciate it since I feel like I need to stay awake just to talk to you when I really need to nap or sleep because it might burden me with more stress.

To avoid misunderstandings I want to give you some ideas to have a mutual agreement between us:

  1. I will be pleased to be informed which day and what time you are available. You can give me a ring or send SMS prior to that.
  2. You can be specific what you can offer to help. A good and effective discussion will be much more helpful and will not suffer our relationship either.
  3. Make up your mind once we had agreed your visitation or offer to help and give it a go. Be there and do it!

And finally, when you feel doubt, please do tell me. If my medical situation makes you feel unbearable or you don’t have any idea what to help but you really want to give me a leg up, just say your case. Just don’t disappear and make me wonder why I never hear any single word from you since the time I was diagnosed with cancer. That would be more upsetting on my part and there will be more misinterpretations that might come along the way that might completely wreck the good relationship we used to build because of a lack of communication.

A simple conversation, hug — if words are nowhere to find or just being there even you can’t say anything is enough. Your presence is enough and your support will never end there.

Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT MEAN TO BE ABOUT MYSELF. I opt to use the first-person singular pronoun “I” to make this more personal to the reader who has cancer or a survivor and the second-person singular pronoun “you” to someone who is willing to help but no idea what and how to and hoping that somehow this could make an impact on every reader.

Do you feel the same way when somebody offers a help that way? Let me know your thoughts, write your comment below. Thank you.

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash.