How to act if your friend gets Cancer

Tuesday, June 12

I was extremely lucky whilst I was off on sick leave earlier this year after my Melanoma Cancer surgery,  to have my Mum and my friend Lori come from South Africa to be with me.  I also had at least one, but usually 2,3 or 4 friends visit me everyday.  My phone rang constantly and I spent a lot of time replying to texts, emails and facebook messages from my friends and family from all over, who were concerned about how I was doing.

After each visit to my Surgeon or Oncologist I would spend at least half an hour sending off messages to everyone to update them.   And on the day that I found out that the cancer hadn't spread to my lymph nodes and when the PET scan showed that there was no cancer anywhere else, there were mini celebrations had all over the world by loads of the wonderful people that I know.

My advice to anyone who has a friend or relative that is diagnosed with Cancer or having treatment for it, is to connect with them! Email, text, phone or write a card, and VISIT a lot.  Let them know that you care and that they are in your thoughts. 

If you hear via a friend or stumble upon a cryptic wall post or something that makes you wonder what may be wrong with someone, contact them! And talk to them about it. I found it really uncomfortable when I bumped into people that I knew, who knew about the dramas that I had been having and didn't even make any reference to it when I saw them!  

I know that it can feel awkward and you might think that the person doesn't want to talk about it as it is a  private matter, but perhaps just say something like "I've heard that you have had a rough time and I've been thinking about you", and leave it at that.  Or simply "It's been a while, how are you?".

Unless someone has specifically requested that no one know about their cancer, and you just happen to have heard, Get in Touch!

Before this blogging business, I had never shared anything on Facebook, and although some people put 'thinking of you messages' on my wall, I didn't have anything posted anywhere about what was going on.

Word got around though, and I also contacted some other people that I wanted to know, but I knew wouldn't have heard.  Writing this blog and sharing the story has resulted in me regaining contact with loads of people that I haven't been in touch with for years.  Out every bad comes good:)

The feelings of Fear and Desperation, as I recovered from a 4cm wide and 2cm deep circular chunk of tissue being removed my shoulder and lymph nodes taken from my axilla, were almost more debilitating than the surgery itself.  The thought that my body might not be strong enough to carry me into old age, left me listless and depressed.  The contact from the outside world and knowing that SO many people cared, was quite honestly the only thing that got me through it all.

I am so blessed.  We quickly ran out of vases, and eventually all our tall drinking glasses were filled with flowers too.  I had a huge stash of books, magazines and chocolates from friends, cards on every surface, and struggled to reply to all my messages.  I even received a bubble wrapped box of 30 of my favourite Chocolates from our Neighbours in South Africa!

So many people went above and beyond what I would have ever expected.  I will never forget all of you that called me from South Africa on my mobile, a lot, and spoke for ages, even though it's so expensive! 

I have never craved human contact so much in my life before, and I will be eternally grateful that I received it in abundance.

Thank you to my amazing friends and family.

And Thank You especially to the best Fiance in the World.

You are Awesome!

Have a Happy Healthy Week
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