Help Me Understand

I have a dear friend who is fighting cancer.  I have spoken of her here before.  She is one of the lucky ones.  Her breast cancer was found very early and even though it was an aggressive form, it was only in stage one of growth.  She had a lumpectomy and will have treatment and will soon be back to living life as she normally did.

Life is so very stressful for folks fighting something like cancer.  There are huge medical bills, even if they have good medical insurance.  They are exhausted and of course, life goes on.  Daily stresses continue.  Jobs still have to be worked, families have to be cared for, homes have to be cleaned and meals cooked.  Every day life goes on as if nothing is out of the ordinary.   All of the regular day-to-day good stuff and bad stuff that happens, continues to happen as they have treatments and struggle to get through the day.

In 2008, an estimated 12 million men and women had some form of cancer in the United States.  Those are the most recent date and statistics I could find when I went to to find out how many people had cancer in our country today.  This means that you probably know someone who has cancer or who has had cancer or who will have cancer at some point.

Do you know what you can do to help them?  The very first thing, the single most important thing that I have learned that you can do is very simple — treat the cancer patient as you have always treated them.  They are still the very same, wonderful person they have always been.  They need to know that you care.  That you respect them.  That you know they are still capable of doing their job.  They are NOT contagious.  They need a little understanding and emotional support.  Do not drop out of their lives!  They need normalcy.

They also need some fun in their lives!  Life has become so very serious for them right now.   Here are a few things you can do to cheer them.  Feel free to let me know anything else I can add to this list!

  • Tell them a joke
  •  Send them a funny card
  • Send them an “I’m thinking of you” note
  • Give them a funny used book
  • Give them a flower
  • Give them a hug
  • Take them to lunch
  • Continue your normal routine with them
  • Simply give them a smile or a touch on their shoulder when they are having a bad day

I cannot, for the life of me, understand people who drop out of an ill persons life, especially when they see them almost every day of the week.  Is there anyone who can help me understand this?

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