Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Subscribe to our Living With Cancer e-newsletter to stay up to date on cancer topics.
As I reflect on the past year of our survivorship blog, it seems notable that many of you have mentioned the positive presence of people in your lives during this time.
These are the friends and family who know and understand how to love, support and simply be with you. This might also include people you've met along the way during your experience as a patient.
Now, it might also include those who are supporting each other through this blog. It's so amazing to see the love and strength that you're giving each other.
It's sometimes difficult for others to know how to be with someone who's experiencing cancer. Cancer is personal. It threatens our mortality, our lives, and the people around us in so many ways.
At times, friends and family pull away, not knowing what to do. However, this is the time when you may need them the most. I would love to hear from you about this. What has been your experience? What do you need the most from others?
Honest feedback may help others understand what kind of presence is the most helpful to a person experiencing cancer. I want to thank all of you for your presence on this blog in the past year.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
Follow on Twitter:
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
Gloria, I am so sorry that you and your body are going through such difficult times. I have gone through cancer with my father and now I am there for my mother who has recently being diagnosed with cancer. It is an evil disease and so hard to have any level of a positive attitude. I know what saved me or at least kept me from going completely crazy is that I found the hospital chapel and spend about 20 minutes each time I could leave the room. I spent about 4 minutes reflecting, about 8 minutes in prayer asking for courage, understanding, acceptance, and for 2 angels - one for my daddy and one for myself. I needed to armed, locked and loaded to deal with cancer. I suggest the same for you. I know you are the patient and that makes it even more personal, but prayer changes things and I believe it will for you. Just sitting in the chapel, in the quiet, and with my own thoughts I just let God know that I needed his help - He answered my prayers and I always left the chapel in a better spirit and better able to face the sadness. I pray this will help you.
The first thing you do is tell your daughter that you are going to get a coke. Then you leave the room and find the first closet in the hospital, close the door, and cry until you cannot cry not one more tear. Then take a walk to the chapel and pray, pray, and pray. Then go back to her room, hold her hand and tell her you are there with her and that you and God have had a conversation about her illness and God has agreed to be there with both of you. Prayer changes things - it may not make her well, but you will be stronger and better able to hold your daughter tighter and believe that she has an angel on her shoulder as will you.
Cancer is personal. My father had cancer and my mother and I were there with him - it was as much for my peace of mind as it was for his needs. You need friends and family when cancer calls. These are the people who help you build bridges to a brighter future and are the hues at the end of the rainbow.
how do u find the strength when ur 23 yr old daughter is critical and drs say theres nothing more bc she cant deficate that they can do except more more more chemo.
My best friend and also an employee has stage 2 rectal colon cancer. He has just received his first chemo treatment. He is a very private, positive and religious person. He has a very loving and attentive wife. He has always dealt with 'bumps' in the road with great strength and courage and would refuse help from anyone. I want to do whatever I can to help him but I don't know what to do. His attitude changes on a daily basis. I never know what will anger him or make him smile from one day to the next. I DO tell him that I love him, rub his back, hug him and offer to go to his oncologist with him (which he refuses). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I am responding to Gloria. I have stage IV lung cancer with mets to the bone, liver and adrenal glands. I started chemo in Oct of 09. Doing better but I am waiting to have a CEA and CT scan again. I agree that the waiting for results is probably the worst. I hate when people ask "when are they going to do more tests". Frankly I feel pretty good and sometimes do not want to know the results. I am sorry that your Dr. is not more honest with you. My doctor is great. But when I ask how long I will be taking treatments - he says "as long as they are working" What does that say?... I get tired of talking about my cancer. The first thing people want to know is "how are you doing". I usually say "great" and try to change the subject. If I really told them they would run. I am scared. My hair is growing back and I am grateful. But I miss my hair. This is not my hair. I know I sound really ungrateful. I don't mean to, I am very grateful to be here and feel as well as I do. Sometimes it is just good to get it out and say what I feel. Gloria if you would like to talk- let me know. Thanks for listening.
Hello, My sister is being treated for Colon Cancer stage 4 and I am 24 hrs away drive time and 2 hours away flying time. She is a very strong lady. My mother would have been supported and very proud of her. She tells me it is all in the attitude. Stay positive and good things will come. She just had her 2nd scan yesterday and she had more good news. Thank you to the Mayo Clinic in AZ for taking such great care of her. Everyone at the clinic is so wonderful. I had a chance to see her in Sept and went with her to do her Chemo, we sat and talked of good times , that we had shared. The gentleman next to us was having a birthday and the nurses came out with a piece of cake and sang Happy Birthday. That is when I know she is getting the best treatment and care. Thank you again. This is such a scary thing to go through and I pray everyday that she will have 1 more day. I wish I lived closer to her and I am planning another trip to see her soon. We have a project to do when I get back down to see her.God Bless and thank you.
Help!! I need someone to talk with about my Stage IV metas. nsclc. I feel like I am losing it. I am holding everyone up by saying "I am just fine", when in reality I am drowning from no one to talk to about this disease. I just found out that I have a recurrence of my caner. It has shown up on my last 2 ct's screens ,but no one told me until a nurse clumsily said I would need to talk with the oncologist. I see here twice a year and a nurse all the other times. I am scared. I have a hard time trusting Dr.s, but finally made the jump last Spring to trust this one instead of questioning everything. As you can see I am really upset by this lack of communication. What do I do? Who can I talk with who has walked in my shoes? Does Mayo clinic have a lung survivor group. My doctor does not believe in them, but I feel they might give me some prospective. I am glad I have a deep faith or what would I do, who would I go to? If you can help I would appreciate it greatly. reply and I will give you my pnone number or e-mail. God Bless and thank you. Gloria
Thank you so much for your newsletter which is of great help. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I really wanted my family members to be with me, just being there. But they did not come, which really hurt me a lot. On top of that I am a divorced woman. I felt extremely lonely at that time, plus the fear about cancer. But what makes me brave and strong in the whole process of fighting against cancer is the much sadder stories of cancer patients that make me think mine is not a big deal. The most important source of my strength comes from my community friends who come to see me very often and give me love, care, support and encouragement, and also comes from my doctor who is in charge of my case. He is patient to answer any of my questions about breast cancer. Armed with enough knowledge about breast cancer, I am not afraid of it, but just face it and has gone through all the treatments smoothly. So I think the presence of family, the support of friends, the knowledge about cancer, our attitude and the way to look at cancer, all plays an important role in giving cancer patients strength.
I am now a stage IV cancer patient. All I can say after reading the posts is that yes we are all individuals and we all deal with this situation similarly, yet differently. My supportive friends and family have helped me so much. As a cancer patient I have learned to enjoy each day as much as I am able and to "grab" my moments as much as I can. By being open with others and letting the "elephant" out of the room helps. I have had times when some friends have backed away only to realize it was their own fears I was touching. This does not make them any less a friend. Other's are able to handle the difficult stuff better. Our life experiences all lead us to where we are today. I lost both of my parents to cancer and have a sister who had non-hodgkin's lymphoma. I have learned both from my family as well as cancer patients that I used to work with in my past professions. Sometimes when you are the one with cancer the emotional part is a bit easier to handle once you come to grips with your situation, especially if you truly believe in God and are not afraid of death. It is often harder for other's that care about you. However, I have found that when the people I care about see that I am truly "enjoying" my days as much as I can they are able to "enjoy" them with me as well. I can relate a bit to the comment below about the person with cancer stating that don't dwell on their cancer. However, I find it helps to be open abou
Thank you for your newsletter. My sister-in-law has cancer, and I read your notes to find my way to helping her deal with her illness. I know she is very much in touch with her feelings from the Forwards she sends me. We live 5 hours away. Her answer to my queries is "I do not dwell on my cancer; I have a life to live and after the day of chemo, I forget about it." I was a little taken aback by her response. Obviously, she does not want to discuss her deepest feelings with me. She has a friend who went through a similar battle 19 yrs ago. I have learned to just accept the specific notes-medical details- that she sends periodically. I guess that is the best I can do. I hope I am correct in sending my thoughts to her. If I mention the cancer at all in my notes, she seems to be offended. I recall one of the earlier newsletters that applied to "people pulling away," "afraid to mention the word "cancer," and thought it was all right to bring it up in my letters. In this situation she does not want to be reminded of her illness as she feels it will take over her life." I will keep reading your newsletter. Thanks again. R.
My best female friend was diagnosed w/colon cancer in 1999, & subsequently had a total hysterectomy & colostomy, plus radiation & chemotherapy. The cancer reappeared in 2007, & she had surgery, radiation & chemo. In 2010, 2 spots appeared on the PET scan, & she's having chemo again. She's had all the radiation she can safely have. In 2007, I noticed that she was the only patient in the infusion room who had a friend w/her. This year, nearly all the patients have a family member or a friend present. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of social support! I am a nurse w/38 yrs of practice. I told my friend that she should never be alone for an oncology appointment or for treatment. I have been w/her for almost every appointment or treatment--her husband is with her when I cannot be. We talk, laugh a lot, hug, read, & pray. Jesus is The Healer. She's using faith & medicine. I believe the day will come when she will be free of cancer, never to have it return. She's using the whole person approach: medical treatment, nutrition, exercise, social support, & faith. God is good! Take good care of your body, mind, & spirit.
I have a sister who's currently undergoing chemotherapy for almost 2 months now.She was diagnosed of having Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia this year.She's only 21 yrs old and her Hematologist told me that she has a poor prognosis and we need to be strong and be ready for what will happen next...im totally clueless and speechless and I need to show her that im strong and happy but deep inside of my hearth im totally broken:(
It will be 16 years since cancer this January. Entered hospital Stage 3 with 3% to survive. After 5 surgeries, 6 months chemo, 45 radiation treatments, staph twice during operations, God gave me life. Prayers and belief that I still had work to do and positive outlook are my beliefs I survived. God gave me strength to care for a 94 year old Mother and now a 9-year Alzheimer's diseased husband. Never, never short change the power of God. Pray without ceasing for God's will. It works.
It would seem, from what I read below, that many of us are not getting the support from family and friends. When I was first diagnosed in October, I didn't know what to tell people about my cancer. I felt (and to a lesser extent) still feel like a young adolescent going to his first dance with zits all over his face. That is, I was feeling embarrassed about having cancer. I'm getting better at this, but some of my family (none close to where I live) are having a hard time accepting my diagnosis.
My brother the other day said: You might live 5 to 10 years with your incurable cancer..." I did not respond effectively. What I will say to him later is: It all depends. My life expectancy depends on: 1. The effectivity of the cancer treatments and 2. Much more important than (1) is the amount of pain and suffering I can endure. Eventually, I will have to say : Enough pain - Enough suffering - I'm going to Hospice!
The word Victem used by so many to describe a person diagnosed with Cancer seems a terrible selection of a word. I find this word very negative, but am yet to find a better one. What would you chose of a word be? I am part of a cancer organization and would like to educate myself and others on how to make sure "words" stay positive. Thank you
I need some help in coming up with a diplomatic response to the "how are you doing" question. Fighting recurrent ovarian cancer I am "feeling" pretty good but my count is still rising way out of range so I'm not doing as okay as I wish! I try to steer the conversation elsewhere by saying I'm still going for treatments but I'm happy for my strength and energy and am feeling pretty good and then ask a question back off topic but it doesn't work - and I'm starting to decline invitations because quite honestly I'm tired of talking about it! But this is not the time of year to isolate myself. I thank God for my husband who is always by my side and my two beautiful daughters. Any ideas are welcome. Thanks!
You are so right. I helped my best friend through his cancer while his family and children did not want his cancer to interfere with their lives and did not want to take care of him. They came around the last month. Cancer killed him but he died with a broken heart. So if you have a family member with cancer, visit and spend time with them. Let them know that you love them. When they die they do not see your tears.
I am nearly 4 years out from my initial diagnosis of ovarian cancer. I had the love and support of my husband, children, g-children and close friends. What helped me the most was their being able to listen to me when I expressed honestly my feelings about having a lethal disease. I know it was painful for them to hear but just having them sit quietly and LISTEN was so comforting. That and the foot rubs, back rubs, meal prep, errand running, humor, cards, phone calls, you name it. No one ever let me go to an appointment or chemo alone. Since then I have supported three friends through their cancer treatment and the rule is "no one goes alone". Everyone STILL celebrates every single "all clear" check up with me. I am well and truly blessed. I, too, am a nurse and have been in the room with death many times. People often "run" because they do not know what to say or how to give comfort. That's when we, the cancer patient, need to step forward and ask for what we need. It's hard but the reward is great.
I know so well feeling the "bailing out" of family and friends. My two sisters and my daughter have all treated me with anger--anger that this recurrence of ovarain cancer after 4 years has invaded their lives and they wonder how I could possibly be upset, worried, in so much pain. It seems more about how its affecting them. This has caused me even more sadness and emotional trauma. I have also had "friends" who have run the other way. Some I have heard from since my first diagnosis in 2005; others seem to be on "the death watch". It has been horrible, except for my loving, comforting hard working husband who is with me every minute. I have also found friendship and comfort from the Ovarian and Gyn. cancer group at Gilda's Club in metro Detroit. What a great group of survivors! Love, support and understanding is so important and so needed during this struggle.
TLC - You have just described...me. I should have gon einto the medical/hospice and healing environment and now with my life starting over, after divorce, abuse on top of it and my DX, loss of my 2 sons and jobs, my own personal business, etc. I am placing all those pieces of ym life's puzzle before me to form what I will work for and attain. I have been told over and over again I need to be a life coach, work with cancer patients, a now a day florence nightengale...I find myself drawn to people and them to me to just hold thier hand (and I have held many as a chem patient) I would return to the hospital on my weeks off and console many, reassuring them they are loved, needed and wanted, even though I wasn't receiving anything in that dept., it did't matter, I was there for them when no one wasn't....I lost friends and am happy to say many continued to fight the chemo etc and to continue their lives. My onc allowed me to speak tohis patients, now that initself was very amazing for me..and I have been with him from the start and will soon celebrate my 5 yr fight thus far with Breast cancer. I'm 47 now and it's been a grueling 5 years, so much has happened to me, but it's smoothing out now and I have re-con yet again comming up here in Jan. and then 2 more, this time I found the RIGHT team of doctors to "complete" me and I am SO HAPPY...such a releif it will be after being "toyed" and "mutilated" with and used by the medical industry...but all
Oh Helen -I am so sorry....what state do you live in. I WISH I could just travel around and support those in dire need of strength, mental, emotional and physical because I have continued to be all, despite what's been thrown at me....I may have something there, perhaps a Traveling Life Coach! I'm here, please write as I will and love to help in any way to you all.
I have preferred not to mention it to my siblings and friends because I did not want to have to talk about it when maybe I was not thinking about it.
But I have had the amazing support of my religion and a buddhist group who were not aware of what I was going through but their ideas helped me make sense of my fears and my situation in general
My husband could not come up with anything better that telling me he wanted to live his life but that too was in the end taken in as a way to finally depend on myself and loving myself, which as strange as it might seem I had never done before. So it was something important in my life I had finally reached
I must say I have not cried much, only occasionally tears come to my eyes but somehow i am unable to give it a good cry.
I have been blessed with the company of good people in general and i appreciae their goodness wholeheartedly.
I pray God and Sister Mary MacKillop, the new and first Australian Saint who has actually been canonized for 2 miracles in favor of cancer patients, for all patients whom I hug ideally . I also pray tha a curemightsoon be found for this disease.
I have been part of the cancer journey as a patient, a sister, and a hospice nurse. For me what I need has changed from the time of diagnosis to the present, I need both the physical touch of my husband and my kids and grandkids, and I need acceptance for whatever I feel (and believe me that changes), and sometimes all I want and need is normalcy. I cannot make the cancer journey go away, and I probably honestly would not want to give up the gifts and transformations that have happened because of cancer, but sometimes I just want to be me, not "cancer patient".
My experience with my brother is that I have been his cheerleader, his advocate, his older sister, his prayer warrior, and sometimes I am the person who asks him the really hard questions (they are like the big elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about) that he deserves to answer and talk about honestly with someone who loves him and respects his wishes. I also agree with the other bloggers who have said "tell people you love them, how much, how hugely", it does make a difference to hear the words.
From my nurse experience of being with people who are dying, the material aspects of life do not matter, the thing that means the most to people is LOVE and a sense that their life mattered, some how, some way. Most people just want to be with those they love, so spend time together.
Thanks to everyone for being so honest, I find this blog to be amazing.
I was rediagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to the lungs and bones in 2006. My initial cancer was in 1993. I have never been so lonely in my life, even though there are those that call, visit and care. No one wants to hear the truth, they just want to hear that I am fine. I find this so frustrating and I am very tired of shoring up everyone else's emotions and feelings. I don't necessarily need a lift, just an ear, one that really listens, gives not a single piece of advice and really cares about what I'm thinking and feeling. I have survived far longer than anticipated, and for this, I am very grateful. Having a sense of humor helps everyone else deal with it, so that is how I help them. I am rejoicing in being able to celebrate the holidays with my family for another year.
What I need most from people for my cancer and my grief (I lost my brother a few months ago)-and cancer and grief are a lot alike-
I need hugs, lots of them, and I need people to listen without judgment.
I had mixed dealing. Me being the baby of the family...well my family is scared they will bury me. I actually sat down with them and said that I am not scared. I have my faith and that is what is getting me through this. I have turned myself over to God. I asked them to all remain positive and honest. To keep their eyes and ears open for new medication/treatments etc. So, after that happened; they are no longer scared like they were before. They have actually dealt with this better. Because they have a better understanding of what is going on and why. Which helps me because it stops the anxiety, fear and stress that I would be facing in addition to all the side effects I face daily.
Before I got serious brain cancer I managed a large Dept of people. Often times there were health or other serious problems in the Dept and I gave them time off and other help, but didn't really understand the seriousness and personal impact. I personally was always healthy and active until 70 when I got PCNS large B-cell lymphoma and lucky to be here even though I suddenly lost my work and physical and some mental health. So....I think one has to almost personally experience some of these life-threatning events to truly relate to others who have the impact. I have seen a big difference when communicating with those who have or haven't been personally impacted.
Ellen - BE THERE, hold his hand, laugh and hug a lot, touch is essential to wonderful healing, look in his ear and tell him you see the nativity scene and the three wise men and one of them is holding (something your brother enjoys or likes), say, "a pizza", use some humor, watch funny movies together and tell him you love him.
before I was treated for cancer, the oncologist told me I needed someone to be with me. I assured him I could handle the treatment by being alone. He refused to help me unless I had another person with me. I thought he was being unreasonable yet I needed his help so I called on siblings all living at far distances. However they arranged to take turns being with me and their presence gave me a gift I never expected. It made all the difference in my recovering and I know I coudn't have done as well without them. Now I wonder , how did the oncologist know that?
I was treated for ano-rectal cancer about fourteen years ago, when I was 65. In those days it was difficult to be confident of the extent of the tumour, and the standard treament before surgery was high dose radiation. The first treatment completely eliminated the considerable discomfort (ano-rectal cancer is impossible to ignore), and the subsequent ones removed any hope of an erection. This ruined my marriage, because my wife insisted on "cave man" style sex or none at all, and could not tolerate artificial aids like Viagra. This was a great shame, because she would not listen to any explanations. About eight years later, I was worried that all was not well, because it felt that there was more around my perineum than there should be. Had the cancer returned? After a long examination and discussion with my consultant, we came to the conclusion that the nerves had regrown, I had feeling in my perineum again, and one buttock could feel the other one! I can also achieve an erection again, but it will require a very understanding partner to be sufficiently gentle and undemanding to make use of it. It seems to me that this aspect of nerve destruction and long term regrowth is not sufficiently understood, and partners are not made sufficiently aware of the psychological damage that they can do by ignoring it. I shall be 79 in two days time, but I am still hoping to meet someone who can understand and respond constructively to the situation.
In the initial stages of treatment, I felt devastated. In this period I had MRSA too. (often lethal staff infection)
I was lucky---all of my family and friends stood by me, some being much more supportive than others, but none fled. I lived with my younger son, his wife and two boys, ages 2 and 5. In the summer I thanked the older one for allowing me to be in his house while I was so sick, and he looked at me and said, oh, because you had no hair. The youthful exhuberance and natural love for life was always inspiring. (I had my own room to retreat to when it got too noisy for me.)
It is always good to hear from you Sheryl and to read peoples letters, to have a "cancer" world to connect with. I did this poem in February, after being diagnosed the end of October. Maybe the words of advice I received, Remember You Are You, will be helpful for someone else.
Inspired by Trusha,
[my son’s wife’s sister.]
You are stage three, grade three,
Bang, bang, bang,
Fear, run, hide.
From across the ocean
An email warns, no!
Beyond all that you are still you.
Yes! pant, pant, true and I calm down.
For I come from a spark with
A soul to define and to nourish me,
I have a light, a path, a destiny.
No, panic no more. I am here.
P.S. For those of us who have any brain cells left after treatment, pick up a copy of Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee's - "The Emperor of All Maladies". Kind of helps to know how long humanity has been dealing with cancer...I would love to be around when he writes his addendum citing the cure...
Asking for specific help from friends and family is difficult at first but helps both sides of the equation once you are able to give up the controls. Something as personal as "will you help me change the linens and do the laundry?" Any household chore or shopping trip is most welcome! My closest friend kind of disappeared and someone I knew only from work surprised me by being the support and help I needed. I am a 4 year survivor with metastatic breast cancer to the bone and believe me a good day is priceless and so appreciated. Work for the cure, please. Light a candle. Be part of the solution any way you can!
My experience has been one where I have changed my entire environment, lifestyle and thinking! If it's not positive, it's not in my life!! I have tried to be tactfully surgical in eliminating all negative entities (internal and external) in my life. Has it been difficult? Yes! Has it been worth it ? Yes! The people in my life currently are loving, supportive and even a bit "lovingly critical" when it comes to my well-being. A huge thanks goes out to them all! My children, family, friends and caregivers at the VA SORCC. You'll never know how much it matters to me! Positive for me is like air. It's a matter of life or death! Love Ya'll, Cary
When I was diagnosed with CML,(I am 49 yrs) earlier this year, I decided not to tell everyone at the same time. I have yet to tell my parents (although I am a wee bit older than you) and my children, & my siblings. I have instead only solicited the support of prayer warriors, other survivors, and a team of specific caregivers with specific duties. All sworn to silence. This is my journey & I decide how to travel it. As a mother I would be devastated to hear of my childs illness and I agree with you that it would be hard. Be patient with your parents and I like how you live thankful for your angels! Your being here, on this site, at this time is not by accident. Your instincts are so in tuned! You are travelling your path well. peace & blessings. Tammy
My name is Gail,I am a cancer survivor and a nurse. Today marks the thrid time cancer has hit my family,My Uncle Dan has stage 4 Oral/Phangel cancer.Its time to rally the troops and support him and Aunt Barbara.I changed my cell phone call plan so I can call anytime as we are seperated by many miles.I also plan to be there during chemo/radation.
I am a cancer patient supporter/researcher/caregiver for a family member. I am shocked at how often people in the family do not understand how to "help" the patient, YET, I am in awe of others outside the family who have BLESSED the patient in countless ways. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, IT WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. Bless you all~
Ask him what you can cook for him and if he wants your company ask when he'd like you to bring it over. If he likes movies, bring some DVDs. If he wants to talk, listen supportively and empathetically. If he is quiet have something like a movie or game through which he can relax and have some connection without pressure to talk; or offer to take him out on a date to his venue of choic. I don't know how impaired he his. Be supportive without being intrusive and let him tell you what he needs.
Thanks for your lovely blog. What a cancer-patient needs the least is money. What he needs the most is pure love.
Ellen, Best advice I can give: Just be there, call, hold his hand, help him when he needs help. Those are the things that meant the most to me when I was in treatment. Just "BE" there.
I have CML, a form of leukemia, at the age of 25. My parents and friends have decided that it is too hard and essentially fled as a result. I have an incredible mentor, friend, and second 'mom' at school that has stepped up and been the supporter I need in my life right now. She is an angel sent from heaven during a time in my life that is very difficult. Cancer is a scary thing and when people run, it makes it even more difficult. I understand that people need to protect themselves from being hurt when a person losses their life to canceer, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I consider my parents to not have the courage to be next to my side. Instead, they hide in a cave and pretend everything is okay. My biggest piece of advice is to find a person that will not be afraid to stand next to you on good days and bad days. A person to share moments with you and a person that isn't scared to love you even though the future is scary. Trust God and put all worries on his shoulder. You will be going to a better place and for that I am excited, not scarred. God bless all those going through cancer or have. God bless those on the sidelines too, I can't imagine it's easier on the other side.
Thanks so much for your comments. I see with my brother that the way doctors and others interact with him have a HUGE impact on his attitude. I am so thankful that the doctor he met with today made a very good impression on him - very smart, up to date in terms of research, and a great bedside manner. I am determined to be positive when I am around him. Thank you Thank you. If anyone has any advice, please keep it coming.
Hello..when I was diagnosed with cancer that last thing I wanted to hear was "I am so sorry." My mother, god bless her, said "OK..let's beat this. Now its time to be strong and courageous! You are a survivor and it's time to use all the tools to stay alive." She never once inclined that this was "the end." Thru everything, it was her positive energy that lead to my recovery. Her endless words of wisdom and strength. I became strong because of her and beat it. Not only once, but twice when I had my reoccurance after 10 years. Be positive. Surround yourself with positive people! It's amazing what you can do!
Hi. I have multiple myeloma. I have felt fine and never had any side effects of chemotherapy. One of the important factors in how well I have done was my oncologist's initial confident statements to me that the treatment I was getting had been shown to be highly effective with low toxicity, and I was going to "live and not die." While I am not into denial, what your doctor says and how he/she says it has a lot of power. My husband, a physician who is involved in clinical research, continues to remind me of the shortcomings of statistical data on which much of doctors' dire prognostications are based. In addition, I have continued to exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep and sun exposure, so that I feel and look healthier than ever, and my doctors, nurses, family, and friends end up not treating me like a sick person. My husband has been supportive, but not hovering and morose. He helps me to laugh and find the humor in my situation, which is so important. I am probably laughing a lot more now than I did before my diagnosis. Thanks to the understanding and support I have at work and at home, my stress levels are significantly lower now. All these things are good for the immune system and important to survival I think.
When my husband went through brain cancer, all our friends fled. He is no longer the same person that he was and he feels very alone. I'd suggest asking what you can do with a specific task in mind. For example, can I mow your lawn for you next Saturday? Or can I pick up your grocery list next Tuesday when I go grocery shopping for myself? Or would you like me to sit with you when . . . ? Don't take offense if the answer is no, but I'll bet the person with cancer or their loved ones will cherish the asking.
My husband past away last year from metastisized pancreatic cancer. We were married 22 years and always supported each other in good times and bad, but when he only had a couple of months left and his time came nearer I went into caregiver mode because it hurt me so much to see his suffering. Once I lay next to him in his hospital bed in our living room and just cuddled him. It was wonderful. So many times I look back and wish I had done this so much more. All I'm trying to say is, don't be afraid to hold them or tell them what you want to say. Don't wait and of all things, be yourself.
I'm hoping to get some advice. Please help. My brother's melanoma has returned. He just had surgery this week, and is recovering. I love him very much and want to know the best way to support him.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.