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.

What Is Life After Beating Cancer?

"And once the storm is over, 
you won't remember how you made it through, 
how you managed to survive. 
You won't even be sure whether the storm is really over. 
But one thing is certain. 
When you come out of the storm, 
you won't be the same person who walked in. 
That's what this storm's all about. 
-Haruki Murakami
Cielo – went back to Saigon, Vietnam after her cancer treatment in the Philippines.

Have you been wondering what is the life of someone who just beat cancer? Some get the whip hand; for most us, there is no way of stopping to live our new life with, no way. We are almost on the brink of death (I had even imagined myself in a coffin). Some gain angel’s wings and soar up high to heaven.

For some of us that are still alive? We wear our scars like wings, soaring high and embracing our new life. Yes, we love our scars, we claim it as how we claim when we still have that cancer in our body. Our scars are beautiful and it makes us beautiful.

The new life for the most of us is not always the best. Coz’ you know what? We are still the same people who have not yet experienced what it’s like to have cancer. After our treatment, we have to think of our career, life with family and friends. We are also contemplating normal life, socializing and networking. We have to think of growing the circle of friends.

Unfortunately, some are still battling the anxiety inside. Battling the acceptance, forgiveness to oneself. Battling with the reality of life, relationship, economy, and society.

Not everyone has cancer has the same amount of pain, pills that we take, the dosage of chemo drugs administered to us, number of visits for our cobalt treatment and not even with the same length of cut on our skin or inside our body. It’s also similar to our experiences after we beat cancer. Not everyone stays healthy, keeps their job, keep their relationships or even the money they spent during treatment.

Just like before we become a survivor, each of us may have the same suffering, but we still have diverse experiences. May it be sweet or bitter, easy or difficult – the bottom line is, after this storm, we won’t be the same person who walked in. As we turn our life upside down. We know how to fight this battle with cancer. We’ve been in that fear of uncertainty when our lives will be ended. After the storm, we love our life much more we did before cancer. We know death, we’d encountered death. Sure, everyone will come to that time that we have to die, but for us, we don’t want to die without a square fight. We don’t want to die because of this stupid cancer.

Surviving cancer is a lifelong commitment. We commit to love yourself. We commit to making a difference. We commit to spreading hope. We commit to continue the walk. We commit to give the love, strength and hope that we used to have for everyone. We commit to touch lives that have been touched by cancer. We commit to being an inspiration. AND, we commit to believing that there’s a cure for cancer. And in the future, cancer will not be considered as one of the deadliest diseases on earth.

As a survivor, I embrace a new life beyond the illness. I am sharing with you my journey compassionately. It is difficult to start a conversation for those who are suffering from cancer and also to those who are friends and even strangers along the way. But, as a survivor, I am committed to living a life with purpose, passion, and power.

Not only people with cancer is a survivor. Caregivers, family members, friends who are worth the journey are also survivors.

I hope I could hear some testimony from you to continue encouraging myself and everyone who could read this as well.

My Leiomyosarcoma (2)

You know, it really sucks! [Source: Internet]
Continue reading My Leiomyosarcoma (2)

What’s On Your Bucket List?

bucket list, sarcoma, cancer, rare, survivor, warrior, hope, author, writer, blogger, asian
What’s on your bucket list?

Looking at death in the eye, from the time you are diagnosed with cancer is a life-altering experience.

What is the first thought coming into your mind right away? What did you do and what else you need to be done? Cancer patients, survivors, have you made your bucket list?

Sure, anyone can have their bucket list – inventories for travel experiences, adventure, nature & wildlife, connect & relationships, creativity, entertainment, style (fashion & beauty, why not?), food & drink (even those weird ones), fun stuff (just for fun), personal growth, health & fitness, and transportation. Name it!

According to Science, we have at least 17 to 19 hours in a day to have the best time to do everything.

The capacity of those people who had diagnosed with cancer and those who lived life without any clue about their life expectancy is not only the physical ability to be, do, have, and experience in life – it’s the hope and the determination to live life to the fullest.

Bucket list for cancer patients and survivors create a chance to make lifelong dreams come true. It especially helps the terminally ill to be inspired by what’s life left and to be an inspiration for those who will be left behind. Kicking the bucket need not be physically involved or a strenuous activity for some or even for everyone. It could be a process of life, to enjoy it as long as someone is still living. They are the things that need to figure out what someone really wants to do with the rest of its life.

Aside from travel experiences and adventures, here are the lists of simple things that anyone can do:

  1. Beat the odds.
  2. Connect to the people who have inspired you the most in your life and let them know.
  3. Conquer your biggest fear.
  4. Forgive and forget.
  5. See the stars at night.
  6. Play UNO card.
  7. Write a diary or journal.
  8. Be with family & friends.
  9. Take photos of nature and people.
  10. Watch sunrise & sunset.

They don’t cost a thing. Don’t wait until you will be diagnosed by a deadly disease. Have you made your bucket list yet?

 

Live the dream.
Design your best life.
Dare to live fully.