I read an USA TODAY online article today that I found to be worthwhile. It’s written by a newly diagnosed colon cancer patient. Here’s his “bio”:
When USA TODAY’s Nashville music critic Brian Mansfield was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 48, he figured that a lifetime of Southern-fried foods, extra-large sodas and stress eating on deadline had brought it on. Turned out he had a genetic syndrome that gave him an 80% chance of developing colon cancer. He’ll chronicle his life with the disease – and with only a small part of his colon – in a series of weekly installments.
And here’s some excerpts I found featuring helpful advice for anyone who is trying to help those of us with cancer:
What’s the very best thing you can hear from a friend when you’ve got cancer?
“I’m coming over. What can I bring?”
Funny! Here’s another one…
“What’s going to be the hard part for you?”
I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s so good it bears repeating. When I first went public with my diagnosis, while everyone else was asking, “How are you feeling?” “What can I do?” and “What happens next?” (all perfectly good questions, I should add), one friend went right to the heart of the matter with this question. It pushed my story ahead, bypassing the small talk and giving me the opportunity to express what concerned me most about my illness. It was what I’d been longing to answer, even though I hadn’t even known what the question was. It’s an all-purpose question that still allows for a different answer from each individual. It’s the question I’ll remember to ask others.
And finally, it isn’t that Brian just wants “stuff.” But I think he is tired of the meaningless platitudes and hollow “How are you?” questions by people who don’t really want an answer.
Check this out. I loved this!
“Let me send you something that helped me.”
The comments after any of my columns will give you a taste of the advice people want to offer. My cancer was probably caused by fluoridation, dehydration and a Western diet. It can be helped, maybe even cured, if I just change doctors, switch from an acidic to a basic diet, take herbal supplements, study epigenetics and claim the promise of God’s healing power.
Everybody’s got a suggestion, and getting inundated with it is the price I pay for the occasional piece that really helps — like the recommendation that I get guaranteed renewable life insurance on my kids before I have them tested for my genetic disorder. But there’s no way I can follow up on every piece of advice.
Lots of people told me about books they found helpful in their times of trial; two people sent me copies of theirs. Those are the ones I read. Lots of people had dietary suggestions; one person in California shipped me a meal-replacement formula he really liked, even though he knew I could find it in Nashville. That’s the one I eat.
Here’s the deal: If you know something you think could make all the difference in the world to someone with cancer, just buck up and send it to us. We don’t care where help comes from, but we don’t have the time, the energy or the money to track down every suggestion somebody throws at us.
Did a book change your life? Great. Send us a copy, even if it’s used. If you’re convinced your supplement will make us feel better than we have in years, prove it by buying us a bottle. If you’re a nutritionist offering unsolicited advice on how we should adjust our diets, then you better be ready to show up at our doorsteps with a box of vegetables, a cutting board and a blender. Otherwise, you’re just grandstanding. And teasing us. We don’t have time for that nonsense. We’ve got cancer.
If you do send something, don’t follow up. Don’t say another word about it. We won’t be able to use everything we get, but we’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness behind every bit of it. If it works, we’ll shout it from the rooftops and be more grateful than you’ll ever know. But we’ll try to make sure you do.
I’ll leave you with a helpful comment a new acquaintance received. Soon after her diagnosis, someone called to say, “I know a lot of people will call you and want to bring you food right now, and it will probably be overwhelming. I’ll check in on you in six weeks.” She called again six weeks later, almost to the minute.
That’s my kind of friend…
Isn’t that great? I have a good “myeloma friend,” named Danny Parker. I met him at a program designed to help high risk multiple myeloma patients.
Danny researches anti-cancer supplements and diet constantly. He has become such an expert, Danny posts a column about it every week or two on my myeloma blog.
Here’s a link to his last installment:
Anyway, Danny recommended I use several different types of supplements, including curcumin. So what did he do? Without even telling me, he started sending me the supplements. They just showed-up.
When I thanked him but suggested it wasn’t necessary, he ignored me and the packages kept coming.
How cool is that!
And even better: Danny is a healthy cancer survivor still today.
If you would like to follow Brian’s journey, CLICK HERE.
If you would like to access more about Danny Parker, including links to a dozen or so columns he has written about cancer nutrition, CLICK HERE.
Insightful reading for cancer survivors and caregivers. Feel good and keep smiling! Pat