How Are You Doing?
The questions you must prepare to be asked the most are "How are you doing?", "How are you feeling?", and "Are you ok?". People especially ask when they first learn you have cancer and when they haven't seen you in a while. Although there are some dear ones who are simply going to ask every time they see you. Asking the question isn't a problem for me. But I often wonder, do they really want to know my answer? The truth is, it's often not an easy or comfortable answer.
"How are you doing?"
Sometimes when people ask how I'm doing I say "I'm OK," simply because they honestly can't handle my reality. I care about the people around me so much I find it easier to protect their sensibilities and give them a sweet simple answer. I can take care of myself. Many Survivors go through this. You may say that's not fair and you wish we wouldn't do that, well we agree it's not fair too. So here is how you can help Us help YOU:
How you can help us...
We aren't broken...
...and you don't have to try to "fix" us. If you ask about our diagnosis, prognosis, or doctor report, don't slam us with natural remedies, cures, and how we can meditate it away! Worst of all, don't tell us it's in our head, it's not real, or we caused it. (Yep people say the darnedest things! LOL!!) And please oh please to clog our texts, DMs, and emails with YouTube videos, emails, group chats, and the kind of all the other sick and dying people you know (we are trying to live by the way!), unreal recipes, crazy stories, etc. Not knocking anyone's journey, but be sure we are ok and we are even ready for all that. Be a support, not a fixer. If we need help or advice, we can ask.
Be prepared to hear the answer
If YOU ask US how we are feeling, you need to be prepared to hear the answer and accept it. You don't have to like it, but guess what...YOU ASKED! You can't say we are wrong for how we feel and we didn't offer you the information, to begin with! So while most of the time we may be these incredible survivors and beacons of hope, know we all have bad days. We have days we are down, we are super sick, in tons of pain, fatigued, in a bad mood. We will be ok.
Almost every survivor has faith. It may not be the same as yours, but they do. Many actually find it during this journey. I haven't met anyone who just doesn't care and wants to die. So that being said, If we may not sound as strong as we could be (and we have our moments) just pray FOR US don't attack, criticize or judge.
Listen to us
I know it's easier said than done, but... LISTEN! When we want to talk, just listen to us. Ask what we need, how can you help, what can you do. It's ok, most of the time we are never going to ask. Most survivors hate the feeling of being a burden or a problem. If you want to help your loved ones, then offer. It will mean so much that you asked. I can tell you that I still struggle to cook and do housework. Anytime someone offers to bring me a meal or order a meal for me, it's the best! Occasionally a friend offers to come to do my laundry or help around the house. It means so much to me. I recently had a friend send me flowers because she wanted to be with me in chemotherapy and wanted to lift my spirit. Just reach out. We will respond and appreciate it so much.
PRAY FOR US, Don't PREY ON Us... We go through so much with doctors appointments, scans, bloodwork, chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, physical therapy, clinical trials, sickness, ER visits, biopsies, etc...did I say BLOODWORK? LOL! We see so many doctors, nurses, therapists, surgeons, specialists, techs... we just want to be around people who are kind and who care.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?