Ok so I’ve written about what ‘not’ to say to someone with cancer but let’s flip it. How about what ‘to‘ say to someone with cancer? Here’s a few thing to say that will help and also stop you putting your foot in it. It’s not everything but it’s a start.
+ Start off by being who you were before their diagnosis, don’t back off or tiptoe around them, this is when they need you more than ever and will need to lean in more than ever.
+ Look them in the eye when talking about their cancer.
+ Say the word ‘cancer’…not the ‘c’ word.
+ If tears leak out of your eyes, that’s ok. It’s emotion.
+ Tell them they’re beautiful.
+ Ask if it’s ok to bring small children to visit, noise and germs might be a problem but they might also be having a good day and the distraction and joy of little ones could be needed.
+ Tell them you will be there for them.
+ Ask if you can take them to treatment or pop into treatment for a visit.
+ Ask if they want to talk about their cancer or treatment? They might need to empty their head or maybe they just need to forget for a moment.
+ Ask if you can help with the kids.
+ Ask if you can clean their house or mow the lawn…or wash the car.
+ Offer to take them out for a cuppa/lunch/movie.
+ Ask if they need help with paperwork.
+ It’s ok, you can say it…fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck!
+ Ask where they are at in their treatment
+ Ask how treatment makes them feel…and listen. If they can live it you can listen.
+ Ask if they need any special meals, tastebuds often change throughout treatment.
+ Ask if they have everything they need to make them comfortable.
+ Ask to have a photo taken with them, even if they are bald.
+ Ask if it’s ok to hug or kiss them, immune systems are compromised at certain times of chemo cycles so it’s best to be careful.
+ Ask if their partner and family are doing ok? Once treatment is done…keep asking them how they are doing. Every year tests are done, fears are held and it can be lonely.
+ Tell them you love them and love them through their toughest times.
til next time,
If you need cancer related assistance head to Cancer Council of Australia.