elynjacobs

Cancer Etiquette: Tips to Help a Friend

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Ever feel at a loss for what to say to a friend who has cancer? Most of us have been there; what many of us do not realize is that our words and actions will be forever ingrained in the psyche of the recipient. Be it fear or the feeling of helplessness, it is often harder to be the loved one than the patient and sadly, we may say or do the wrong things.

To this day I still remember the day a friend came to visit me after my bilat; seeing my kitchen messy, she told me that her husband would be appalled if she left a basket of bread out on the counter top. Why this hit me the way it did, I am not sure, but at the time all I could think of was WTF?  While her words had nothing to do with my cancer, my current focus surely was not on the neatness of my kitchen.   Six years later and those words are still embedded in my mind–was it my fear that I wouldn’t be able to care for my family? Since then I have heard endless tales of words that stung, of well-meant comments that didn’t quite come out right.  Seems like we all need a user-guide to cancer etiquette.

When Surviving Beautifully, a resource for expert answers and support for women during cancer treatment, asked me to write a post for them on cancer etiquette, I thought wow, yes, this is surely a big topic.  When I saw this on their site “We provide the information you need to survive your way.  Every day”, I knew I wanted to write for them and was grateful to be part of their team. I hope you enjoy the post:

Surviving Beautifully Photo LadiesCancer Etiquette

by Elyn Jacobs for Surviving Beautifully

One more thing–don’t tell her she is so brave.  I remember how angry my mother would get when someone would say that to her.  “Brave?” she would say, “I am just trying to stay alive.”  Looking back, she was brave; one must be brave to tackle cancer–to sift through the options, make critical decisions and turn off the voices of others.  But don’t say it….we don’t want to be brave, we want to survive—our way, every day.

Please visit Surviving Beautifully for expert advice during cancer:

http://survivingbeautifully.com/emotional-support/  http://survivingbeautifully.com/elyn-jacobs/

http://survivingbeautifully.com/cancer-etiquette-elyn-jacobs/

Elyn

             ~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Newsletter.  Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/about/

Follow Elyn on Linkedin

Tune in to the Survive and Live Well Show

Replay the Survive and Live Well Radio Show archives

Follow Elyn on Facebook

Follow Survive and Live Well on Twitter

  1. I should add….be careful not to say “you look beautiful” under the wrong circumstances–she may reply “sure, if you find bald, bloated women sexy.” or….as one reader commented on FB: I haven’t been around because I just can’t face your bald head.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: