What do you say and do when someone tells you they have been diagnosed with cancer?

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Saturday evening I was out shopping and my body was asking for clam chowder. Lucky me I was near a restaurant whose clam chowder I enjoy. The restaurant was crowded so I opted to sit in the bar. I chose a seat at the bar. While having a shrimp cocktail and clam chowder I was so lucky to begin chatting with the woman a few seats down from me. We chatted for quite a while and then she shared with me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago. I immediately shared with her that I am a breast cancer survivor for 13 years. When I shared this she looked shocked and relieved. She then said that she couldn’t believe the words came out of her mouth. That she would share this with a total stranger. Then she went on to share with me the hell that she has been going through in making the choices for her treatment and fighting with her family members who have their interesting points of view about what she should do about this diagnosis.

We agreed on a number of things that I would like to share with you. Perhaps you might find these helpful to you in your life.

Number One: A diagnosis like this, is so shocking to your body, mind and spirit, that you may not be able to read. Please don’t waste your money on books about cancer unless you’re going to read it and share the knowledge you acquired with me, without any point of view.

Number Two: I might want someone to go with me to appointments so I can have another set of ears getting the information. This is all new to me.

Number three: Please trust that I am completely capable of choosing the way to go, even if it is different from what you or anyone else thinks I should do.

Number four: I didn’t lose my inner knowing when I was diagnosed. I trusted it before and I believe I can trust it now. Please, please, please let me choose.

Number five: Please don’t judge me for any of my choices, no matter what the outcome is.

Number six: If you have never had a doctor tell you, you have cancer, you may not understand anything I say or do for the next 6 months. Please be tolerant of me, I’ve never done this before.

Number seven: Ask, if I need any help only if you are truly willing to help. I may not handle disappointment very well during this time.

Number eight: While I go through this process, please just love me, visit me, call me. Let me know that I am loved and most of all, please be kind and gentle with me. I may be fragile during this time.

Number Nine: Any jokes, laughter and fun that you can share with me or invite me to enjoy will be so very appreciated!

Number Ten: Please know that right now I need family and friends more than I might admit. I would cherish feeling supported during this time and I may not be able to tell you how.

Just so you know…as we were chatting about our experiences and sharing our suggestions, we were full of joy and shared lots of laughter.

Here are my thoughts about cancer.  A diagnosis of cancer is simply that…a diagnosis. Science is a study. You are an intelligent being who knows exactly what to do.  Trust!  Trust you and your choices whatever they may be. Your body, mind and spirit are so very powerful. I wonder if they might be more powerful than you have ever  imagined, believed or considered?

Thank you to my new friend for being willing to trust me enough to share her diagnosis with me. It is my hope that I was the gift she needed to receive this night.

Thank you to the universe for putting me in this place at this time so I could be a contribution. This experience has truly been a gift of great magnitude!

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