People suffering from cancer want you to know the following:

  1. It’s okay to say or do the “wrong thing”
  2. Silence from you hurts my feelings and silence can be deafening.
  3. I understand if you don’t know what to say or do.
  4. My cancer is not contagious. Please don’t stay away because I am sick.
  5. If you are afraid to be around me, know that I am terrified to die alone.
  6. I don’t know why I got cancer and I don’t want to hear why you think I did.
  7. Do not dismiss my caretaker as if they are invisible. I rely on her/him for my every day needs and my needs every day. They are important to me and I want them to be important to you. Remember that if my caretaker is my family member they are in two roles. Being a family member and a caretaker of one who has cancer is both physically and emotionally exhausting.
  8. Help my caretaker take care of me.
  9. As my caretaker how you can be of help
  10. Provide the help my caretaker or I ask you to, in the way we ask you to.
  11. I want my caregiver to take good care of herself/himself.
  12. I don’t know if the cancer is gone, and bringing up my health brings me down.
  13. I need you to understand when I don’t return your telephone call or when I don’t want to see you.
  14. It is about me, not you. I have the cancer, you do not.
  15. Telling me to think positively can make me feel worse.
  16. I want you to pray for me, my caregiver and my family. But don’t trivialize my fear of this battle with cancer by telling me it’s all in God’s hands and there’s nothing I can do to change the outcome.
  17. My mood might change from day to day, hour to hour, please don’t lecture me and please forgive me if I snap at you.
  18. Trust my judgment and my treatment decisions and that of my caretaker’s; this is my life and my cancer I’m battling.
  19. Know that I am a layperson and not a doctor so I don’t understand everything about my treatment or what the doctor tells me. So please do not keep asking me to explain everything to you.
  20. I need your help to get my mind off this cancer, I need help to laugh.
  21. I need to feel optimistic and have hope.
  22. I really want you to help me without me having to ask you to.

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