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Hopes for my next best friend


1. Not afraid of cancer or understands it doesn’t equal death.
2. Knows of ovarian cancer-personally, knows a survivor, done research.
3. Comforting, able to call whenever, will drop everything for you.
4. Willing to take you to the Dr, treatments, testing, etc.
5. Shares a positive attitude, humor is a must.
6. One who is giving- not all on me.
7. Close to my age.
 

Friends

Friends, not my strongest suit, but something I have always had and thought was important. I had issues with friends keeping them, having enough and much more. So when I was diagnosed cancer my relationship with friends changed. I was “sick” now and death was in the lexicon of world that might come up. But I didn’t think I would become a person with the plague.

For starters it doesn’t help that all of my friends are long distance friends, they live up to 3 hours away and farther. So my seeing them to tell them was not a possibility. So telling my friends I had cancer was not fun at all, all my friends were shocked, but they quickly came back with “you can beat this” or “kick cancers ass”, but those words did not come until I reassured them and let them know I was positive and going to be fine. When I really didn’t know how I was, or if I would be fine. I wanted them to come and visit me, to come to my rescue, but they didn’t.

I have always gone out of my way for friends and others, but now I needed others and they were no where to be found. And that is how it has been, almost a year from my telling friends I have cancer and I still have to go out of my way, no one has come to visit me, all I get are little texts, maybe a phone call, but that is it.

I have even lost my best friend, some one I knew for five years, stood by her during some tough things, but she is no where for me. I haven’t heard from her in weeks, and I just don’t want to fight it.

And I know it is scary, especially because at my age we feel invincible, the world is our oyster. We are in college, and then starting new careers, and to learn a friend has cancer can really shake you. And well it shakes the person it is happening too. 

So don’t run for the hills, or distance yourself, but as a friend do what you can. Ask how you can help, take them to treatments, ask them to explain what you don’t know. Tell them you are scared but want to help how ever they think you can.

Just be there. Enjoy the ride.

Ask Annie Article

This is an excellent article from Ask Annie, dealing with supporting cancer patients:

Supporting Cancer Patients

Dear Annie: I am 28 years old, and one of my friends recently was diagnosed with cancer. While I’m thankful to have known several cancer survivors, I am now at an age where some of my childhood playmates and current peers might be diagnosed with this disease in the near future.

How can I best provide support for cancer victims in an appropriate manner? I’ve tried to treat my friend the same as always, but I’m not sure that’s always the right response. I couldn’t ignore his hair loss after chemotherapy, but I also wasn’t comfortable teasing him about it as I might have in other circumstances. I did some research and learned that losing hair could be a good sign that the chemo is working, but I wasn’t sure how to express that.

I know cancer victims often need help around the house or with errands, so I’ve made myself available to get groceries, but I’m not sure if it’s enough or too much. How do I know if he wants to discuss the cancer and is waiting for me to say something? Or maybe he is tired of people asking him questions.

Do you have any resources you could offer to help friends of those with cancer in navigating this disease? I’d greatly appreciate it if there was a list of do’s and don’ts. — Clueless on Cancer Etiquette

Dear Clueless: You sound like a wonderful, compassionate friend. The American Cancer Society (cancer.org) offers a helpful list that includes:

Take your cues from the person with cancer. Some people are very private, while others will openly talk about their illness. Don’t feel that cancer is the only topic of conversation you can have. Talk about other things, too. Keep your relationship as normal and balanced as possible. Include your friend in usual projects or social events. Let him be the one to tell you if the commitment is too much to manage. Expect your friend to have good days and bad, emotionally and physically.

Respect his decision about how the cancer will be treated, even if you disagree. Listen without always feeling that you have to respond. Greater patience and compassion are called for during times like these. Offer to help in concrete, specific ways. Don’t be afraid to hug or touch your friend if that was a part of your friendship before the illness.

Don’t offer advice unless it is asked for. Don’t be judgmental. It’s normal for the person with cancer to be quieter than usual, to need time alone, and to be angry at times. But you do not need to put up with serious displays of temper or mood swings, or accept disruptive or abusive behavior just because someone is ill. Try not to be patronizing or use phrases such as, “I can imagine how you feel,” because unless you have had cancer, you cannot know how he feels.

Here are some additional suggestions: Send cards and emails to let him know you are thinking of him, but make sure he knows you don’t expect a reply. Phone calls are OK, but a ringing phone can also wake him. If he has a partner, lend your support and attention to that person, as well. If he has kids, offer to take them out so he can discuss his condition openly with doctors or partners. Offer to inform friends and relatives of the news.

Don’t ask for too much detail or explanation. Don’t tell him about other people who have had his type of cancer. Don’t urge him to “stay positive” or tell him “it will be fine.” That can frustrate his need to express himself honestly. Don’t offer to bring books about cancer unless he specifically asks for them.

Try to simply be yourself when you talk to your friend. What matters is that you show you care by being available, offering support and listening.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

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