Monday, October 3, 2011

The "C" Word

It seems like not a week goes by that I'm hearing about someone who has just been diagnosed with, is currently fighting, is a survivor of, or has recently died from cancer. I suppose it's being middle-aged. But whatever the reason, it's very unsettling. And not because I'm faced with my own mortality. Because I don't take it personally; I don't take the information and think, "Am I next?" No. It's unsettling because I realize I am not emotionally equipped to know how to react or how to help. Even though my uncle and my cousin both died from cancer, and I know so many people who (thankfully) are survivors of different forms of cancer, and I know folks currently under treatment for cancer, I still feel completely inadequate when it comes to being a supportive friend.

I've been blessed with excellent health to date. Sure, I've had some high cholesterol and should lose another 20 pounds, but all in all everything is in good order. And as I've said many times before, every day I live past 51 (the age my father died of a massive heart attack) is a blessing. But good health puts me at a disadvantage in that I don't have any frame of reference when it comes to cancer. Obviously, that's a good thing. But at the same time, I feel at a complete loss when it comes to offering support.

And now a co-worker and his family have been blind-sided with what appears to be cancer. This just after another co-worker died after his battle. And I'm feeling more at a loss than ever. I can only offer practical support, as it relates to work, and spiritual support, in the form of healing thoughts and prayers. And wonder if it's enough.

Any thoughts or insight from your own experiences are appreciated.

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