Coping With Cancer; It’s a Journey, Not Just An Event

Stan Goldberg, PhD

Thought of the Day-Cancer; It’s a Journey, Not Just An event. We often think of illnesses, especially cancer, as if it’s just a tragic event. Something that primary affects the person diagnosed with it, and to a lesser extent, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Most of us think of ourselves as connected to the world, rather than being isolated individuals. We love others, care for many, do things together, grieve with one another, and rejoice in each other’s good fortune.

Although we may prefer not to think of cancer in this way, it is a community event that brings people along the journey whether they want to come or not. When I contracted prostate cancer twelve years ago, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on friends and family. Maybe I just didn’t want to realize how something solely mine would adversely affect others.

Those of us living with cancer know we are on a journey. It can be one with successful outcomes, a road filled with annoying bumps or a path with a destination for which we’re not prepared.

When someone with cancer shares the diagnosis, treatments, or concerns, they are saying to you,“I’m on a frightening journey, and I’m welcoming you along to provide me support.”

When you hear those words, do you know how to respond? We often think that compassion alone will be enough to support loved ones and friends on their cancer journey. According the people I’ve counseled living with cancer, it’s not. Compassion is a wonderful starting point, but many people don’t know how to demonstrate it in ways that will be helpful.

In “I Have Cancer” 48 Things to Do When You Hear Those Words, I give compassion practical substance. The 48 suggestions were suggested to me by clients and patients over the past twelve years. They are also ones that are still important to me. I hope you’ll find them useful.

Preventing Senior Moments, by Stan Goldberg

Offers practical and achievable prevention strategies for senior moments.


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