Thursday, July 12, 2012

Things to do for your cancer patient pals

I kind of wish I had gotten the red one too,
but I guess I'll be sensible and first see
if I end up wearing this one after today.
I'm still into the scarves and hats, too.
Wig is good for San Francisco weather. 
I've heard a lot that friends and family of people with cancer can get frustrated because they want to help but don't know what to do. I was thinking of making a list of ideas, not so much about me...But I thought a list based on my experience might be useful.

BTW, if someone says to me, Let me know if you need any help, they will never hear from me. Because I don't know what they're offering, or if they're just being polite...and it's difficult to ask for help anyway.

I am too tired now to write this list. So here's a poem you may enjoy in the mean time:

How To Behave With The Ill, by Julia Darling

Approach us assertively, try not to
cringe or sidle, it makes us fearful.
Rather walk straight up and smile.
Do not touch us unless invited,
particularly don't squeeze upper arms,
or try to hold our hands. Keep your head erect.
Don't bend down, or lower your voice.
Speak evenly. Don't say
'How are you?' in an underlined voice.
Don't say, I heard that you were very ill.
This makes the poorly paranoid.
Be direct, say 'How's your cancer?'
Try not to say how well we look.
compared to when you met in Safeway's.
Please don't cry, or get emotional,
and say how dreadful it all is.
Also (and this is hard I know)
try not to ignore the ill, or to scurry
past, muttering about a bus, the bank.
Remember that this day might be your last
and that it is a miracle that any of us
stands up, breathes, behaves at all. 


  1. Yeah - I agree w/ Danamaya - the red one was tres chic!

    People do say all kinds of well-meaning things. This happens before and after someone's death as well. I was told by a dear friend (before Steve died) - Well, you're still young. I knew she meant that my life would go on, but it was still quite hurtful. Over time, I learned to trust that my friends did mean well and that they were at a loss to know what to say or do. Many of them were scared, in denial or in shock. I learned to be grateful for the ones who said anything. So many people never responded to my pain, never reached out at all. A well-meaning, though perhaps inept, reaching out was preferable to me to being ignored in my suffering.

    Much love and cyber hugs,