This section is dedicated to the family & friends of cancer patients
First and foremost I want you to know that you are the reason that your fighter can do what they do. Please be their rock before, during, and after. They will need you.
When initially learning of a cancer diagnosis emotions are at an all time high. There a so many unknowns, please keep that in mind and be patient.
There are good days. There are bad days. Be there for both.
If you don’t immediately know what to say, don’t avoid them. A simple “I don’t know what to say right now, but ____” (I’m sorry, I love you, etc.) goes a LONG way.
Distraction is wonderful. Send them pictures that will make them laugh. Ask them out for coffee. Send a card, flowers, gift. Go to dinner. Make plans for something really, really fun in the future – this gives them hope.
Don’t grill them with questions. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to prove yourself during a diagnosis. It’s an incredibly stressful time and having to explain yourself, a doctors reasoning, or a treatment just adds to the stress.
Know that everyone handles things differently. Privacy might be preferred, if they choose to keep their diagnosis private, respect that. If they choose to share their diagnosis, respect that too.
No ones cancer is the same. I repeat, it is NOT the same. Your so-and-so may have had xyz in the summer of 2016, but it does not mean that the same outcome, experience, process will be the same for some one else. Please do not compare stories to that of another, this can be counterproductive.
Let them know that you are there. But, really there for them. I’m not talking the half-assed “I’m here for you” text. I mean be there. In person. Call them. Text them, daily, weekly – not just once.
Take care of yourself, they will need you. Make sure that you take time to process your feelings. Cry. Grieve. Rejoice. Whatever you need to do, do it. They need someone strong to lean on and even though you may not feel strong, you are the strong that they will depend on.
No one fights alone.