For the few reading this, don’t be in a hurry and get this all twisted with presumptions. This is directed at the folks who habitually spew the “chance” argument as it relates to toxic chemotherapies and their loved ones who’ve been recently diagnosed with cancer. The last thing anyone should suggest is to give toxic chemotherapy a go, just to give the patient a chance. OMG…
So how can people assist their loved ones who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? From my experience, the best thing anyone can do is to simply shut up and listen.
I am NOT suggesting cancer patients shouldn’t undergo toxic chemotherapy, nor am I suggesting they should. I am NOT suggesting alternative therapies of any kind or any super duper “cures,” (of which there is no such thing).
With the mainstream’s obsession of talking over one another instead of having conversations, society is shifting away from the art of listening and resorting to whatever populates in their mind, regardless of logic, or lack therof. You simply cannot skim the details of a cancer patient’s predicament in the same way society handles today’s news. Nowadays, society wants to be all up in your business and be fake experts on subjects they know nothing about.
I AM simply suggesting the best thing you can do in these situations is to simply SHUT UP and listen.
The hardest thing for anyone having to endure is planning how they’re going to deliver bad news to the folks they love the most. In the case of divulging a cancer diagnosis, there’s no easy way. The shock of having to utter the words, “I have cancer” is so overwhelming that these moments transcend into an entirely dejected dimension. These conversations are extremely difficult not just because you have to relay the bad news, but other people are eager to know what the treatment plan entails. But what if the patient hasn’t decided on a treatment plan? Immediately, people’s ignorance begin to emerge:
“Consider chemotherapy. Yes, it’s poison, but it’s a chance.”
A chance for who?
Is it a chance for the patient? Or is it a chance for you?
I remain perplexed, because people often say such things as means of being supportive, but that doesn’t even come remotely close to being supportive. That’s being downright self-absorbed in your own game. You’re not the one having to experience the side effects of cancer treatment. It’s too easy for people to sit from afar and preach on what they think their loved ones should do even though they’re not the ones taking the fall.
- Is it a chance to up your empathy game?
- Is it a chance for opportunities for you play “nice” when you were a raging bitch in the past?
- Is it a chance for you to make up for “lost time?” (You bitches should have been there all along).
- Is there a chance for you to make photographic memories just for posterity?
- Is it a chance for you to send “pity” invites to your lame ass barbecue?
What do people really mean when they suggest give your health a chance?
Do they realize:
- Taking the chance means you will be waking up in agony and in pain.
- Taking the chance means constant regurgitating
- Taking the chance means you’re way too tired to take up anyone’s pity invite.
- Taking the chance means you will be constantly photographed which highlights all the ills (the weight loss, the fatigue, the discoloration).
- Taking the chance means having to endure the barbaric side effects of treatment every DAY?
- Taking the chance means everything that made you a man/woman will be abruptly taken away
- Taking the chance means constant battles with your faith
That’s one helluva chance. You are literally asking your loved ones to endure tremendous amounts of suffering – the kind you would not wish on your worst enemy – just to beat the 2% odds, or extend a life full of torment by maybe a month or two, that’s full of emotional and physical turmoil. Meanwhile, you have the audacity to be preachy while sitting pretty, can eat whatever you want, not enslaved by any physical limitations, and go on living a normal life with a normal job and a normal social life.
Some might argue, I feel strongly about this because I just don’t want them to go through any pain!
Counterpoint: When it comes to cancer, especially in its late stages, there’s no such thing as being “free from pain.” There will be pain either way. Some patients may opt out of toxic chemotherapy altogether because for some, it’s not so much about beating the odds as it is about choosing the lesser evil of the two. In the end, whatever the best course of action feels best for the patient (or not), you don’t get the final say.
No cancer patient should ever feel pressured to undergo toxic therapy of any kind. It should be looked at as a personal choice. Just as no woman should ever feel pressured to get an abortion, or that no man fell pressure to get a vasectomy, the same courtesy ought to be extended to patients with cancer. So for people who spew the “chance” argument, put yourself in their shoes. How would YOU feel if people were rallying for a form of torment they wouldn’t bestow on their worst enemy?
You will run the risk of resentment. Every pain, puke, hair and weight loss will be reminders of succumbing to the pressure from friends and family of getting the life back before there was cancer. It simply isn’t that easy.
Ya’ll simply need to shut up and listen. Listen to their wishes. Help them weigh out the pros and the cons of treatment. Ask them what they want to do. Support them no matter what course of action is taken.