New Year’s Wishes For Friend With Cancer

It seems that I always have friends newly diagnosed with cancer. I would love to have the power to grant them wishes to make their cancer experiences a little easier.

In the spirit of the New Year, I am giving myself that power. So, if you were my friend and called me to say, “I was just diagnosed with cancer,” I would wish that you…

  • maintain as much control over your cancer and its treatment as possible.
  • realize that you can’t control everything about your cancer.
  • communicate freely with your doctors so that you understand their recommendations and they understand your wishes.
  • make treatment decisions with good information and thoughtful guidance.
  • don’t second guess those treatment decisions once they have been made.
  • speak up when you are in pain, nauseous, depressed or anxious so that those symptoms can be addressed.
  • listen to the rhythms of treatment so that you rest when your body needs it.
  • have friends and loved ones that provide you with support and kindness but not unsolicited advice.
  • are able to recognize what’s in the hearts of your friends even if their words of support come out awkwardly.
  • connect with others going through treatment so you have added support.
  • have co-workers and bosses that are understanding of your illness and are flexible with your schedule.
  • give yourself a mental break from cancer on a regular basis.
  • have loved ones that realize that your recovery will take time.
  • not blame yourself for having cancer.
  • continue to move forward with your life even if the future seems uncertain.

Each New Year is a milepost. Shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer in 1996, I wondered if I would be around for the celebration of the new millennium in 2000. That now seems like – and is – a long time ago. I’m happy to still be here and I look forward to sharing the next New Year with you.

 


Reprinted with permission of the Ithaca Journal.
Original publication date: January 3, 2015

 

 

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