What Can Pets Actually Teach To Someone Has Cancer

cancer voice in asia https://thecancervoice.net/
Your pet has some mysterious capacity to teach you. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash.

Pets can’t magically cure diseases, but the effect they have on us is tremendous.

From the past blog that I wrote, I uncovered some reasons why “Pets Are Better Company When You’re Sick,” because, with your four-legged friends, you can always get an emotional support that sometimes human friends couldn’t, especially when you are sick!

When being so attached to someone or something means disappointment and pain, your pet makes an exemption. Being strongly attached to your pet makes an enormous benefit especially for your health and also teaches you about living especially when you feel alone.

Pets have some mysterious capacity to teach us, humans, some things much better than any human being can.

Going through cancer cause you into an emotional roller coaster, with many ups and downs. Having cancer makes anyone very emotional, because of the uncertainty cancer has brought, it makes you feel angry, afraid, anxious or even irritable.

Even you are horribly sick because of cancer, and problems keep arising every day, there is always an ideal solution. If only you focus on looking for answers despite the pain you feel, instead of dwelling to problems that have not given you yet an absolute answer.

The fact that, allowing your pet or considering getting a pet to become a part of your personal and emotional development, there are a number of things that they can teach you.

Pets teach us the what actually unlimited love is.
They simply love you no matter how often you leave them if you have to go to a doctor’s appointment, work or traveling.

They never bear grudge whether you accidentally step on their tails or make an accident which can hurt them.

They just simply love you without any limitation or condition regardless of the state of your health.

cancer voice in asia
Pets teach us responsibility.

Pets teach us to carry out tasks.
Personally, although I grew up in an environment that can give me an opportunity to take care of a pet, however, I don’t because it was not my interest although my late father brought us different kinds of pets at home.

As getting more adult and mature, I learn how to be a household with pets. Though I could not perfectly carry out the responsibility of how to properly care for the pets I have at home. One thing that the pets at home teach me, is how to be sensible than ever.

Cancer patients often have to stay at home as long as they needed and that makes them feel very isolated and lonely. However, there is something that you can do to make the best of your time at home. There are times that cancer treatments will simply defeat you and the medicines will just make you sleep. Some other days maybe you’ll have more energy, but pets are always there with you and patiently waiting until you win this battle of cancer. Giving you company at whatever time and in whatever way you feel every day.

It also keeps your time not boring by giving you a simple task every day. They don’t ask for more, only to be fed and to be pet.

Pets teach us empathy
Empathy is good for us. The sad fact is, while some human beings judge others, hate, or discriminate, but not your pets. Your pet doesn’t even care about your money or you’re sick. Pets can actually sense you whenever you’re upset or stressed. There are some special cases that pets (especially dogs can detect cancer).

When you have a pet, you feel less burdened (especially if it is a cat). You can choose to keep a cat especially when you are sick because cats require less care than a dog.

In general, your pet, whether it could be a cat or a dog, these animals have the ability to show you how to share and understand another’s perspective and feelings – to think about prior to taking drastic actions. Sharing a deep and valuable bond with your pet by respecting them and being kind to them, your pets will do the same. Taking notice of your pets need will also do the same without question especially during the time when you are undergoing a cancer treatment.

What are your thoughts about your own experiences with your pets especially when you have to stay home and you’re sick? Have they taught you a lesson?

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.”

 

 

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.

Cancer Is Hard, And So As Depression

cancer; asia; depression; vietnam; philippines
Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

My thoughts… are just everywhere. I could not even focus. My mind is blinded, racing, and beating right out of my chest.

I had been diagnosed with cancer, I followed all the treatments. Now, I’m back home, I can go back to work.

I am not even sure if I will miss my old before my cancer. I embraced my cancer, but I am not living with cancer.

Oh, so you’re still alive, how unfortunate are you!

You are wrong.

Cancer sucks and so as anxiety or depression.

Wait… depression? Don’t get me wrong. I am referring to depression that is more common for everyone even for those people who don’t have cancer.

Depression is not the same as clinical depression. But, if you just let yourself go deeper into different symptoms of depression, you will be more likely stuck in a major depression.

To be honest, if you are gonna ask me how I’m doing, it is a question that I just really want to give a reply.

But if I won’t reply, you will misunderstand me and you will start to drift apart.

Do you think it is easy to answer this question for a cancer survivor? Because you know what? For a cancer survivor like me, I choose not to talk about my cancer and allow me to live my new life with the same people who used to surround me.

Oh, yes, I got it. Some of you will not eventually stay, well, this is my new life!

We choose not to talk about our cancer because this is one of the ways we can cope easily.

You may think that I give up, well, it’s the only way to survive.

I prefer to stop thinking about my cancer, meet new friends, go somewhere I have never been and do things I have never done.

**In one of my research results reveals that depression is more common for people with cancer who often struggle with uncertainty, challenges, and fear that a cancer diagnosis can bring.

According to Cancer.net, depression is a collection of symptoms that group into 4 categories: mood-related, cognitive, physical and behavioral. Because cancer and cancer treatment can cause similar cognitive and physical symptoms as depression. More emphasis is placed on the mood-related and behavioral symptoms for people with cancer.

What are the symptoms?

  1. Mood-related symptoms: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, numbness, or worthlessness.
  2. Cognitive symptoms: they are related to a person’s thought process, it decreases the ability to concentrate, difficulty making decisions, memory problems, and negative thoughts (severe depression can include thoughts of suicide).
  3. Behavioral symptoms: crying often, social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed and a loss of motivation.
  4. Physical symptoms: fatigue, low energy, poor appetite, sleep problems, lower sex drive.

How does depression affect cancer treatment?

Depression or clinical depression (there two don’t have the same level of stress as what I had mentioned from my previous blog) can worsen the physical effects caused by cancer, sometimes increasing the losses experienced by the patient (for example fatigue caused by depression can worsen the fatigue caused by cancer treatment).

So what are the common ways doctors treat people with depression (the first 2 points can be done carefully even without doctor’s endorsement)?

  • Emotional and social support can help people better cope with the daily challenges that cancer brings.
  • Main treatments are counseling and medication (sometimes both, but must be done by a qualified doctor).
  • A talk with a counselor or a right person/friend (for mild depression).
  • The main goal of counseling is to enhance coping in problem-solving skills, help find support and reshape negative self-defeating thoughts.

There are numbers of counseling options: individual counseling, couples or family counseling and group counseling.

The following are just the inescapable facts of everyone’s life that we cannot change.

You may not have cancer but you are in pain. It may not every day like how a cancer patient feels but it is clear that we cannot stay away from sadness, worthlessness, or anxiety.

Suffering, regardless, it is something that we can be in charge of. We always have the option to stay happy than to be stuck in an utterable turmoil of depression or anxiety.

And only yourself can do that. Your friends and families’ support is more than enough but it’s useless if you already made a choice inside. And that is, to be filled with sadness and negativities.

It is not easy, being happy does not happen in just one snap, but if you are decided after making a choice to turn your life upside-down.

You can see the beauty of the process of taming your brain’s emotional response. Whatever life throws at you, you will always keep returning to a conscious and mindful state of mind. And you will be able to recognize your emotions within yourself and even in others and to manage them daily.

Any thoughts you want to share regarding your struggle and struggle with anxiety and depression?

Just leave your comments below.

**Cancer.net

 

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.