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Home How to Relate to Others When You Have Cancer | by Susan Poole | May, 2021

How to Relate to Others When You Have Cancer | by Susan Poole | May, 2021

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Surviving breast cancer involved everyone around me. This is what I learned in the process.

=Image credit: Voyagerix.

I admit, before my own diagnosis, I never knew what to say to people who were going through cancer treatment. I remember struggling with it. Wanting to express my thoughts and say something to offer comfort, but trying to settle on the right time or the right words.

Regardless of whether those around you say too much, too little, or nothing at all, it shouldn’t be interpreted as not caring. People express their feelings in various ways. I learned this early on after my diagnosis.

You need to get things off your chest, let a little air out of the balloon as I always say. It’s impossible to move through life carrying something as heavy as knowing cancer cells are growing inside your body without needing to talk about it. It feels good to unload some of that fear and angst onto someone you’re close to, someone who knows and supports you. I’m lucky to have people in my life that I trust with everything, and it helped that my best friend was unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer a year before I was. She was my go-to, my rock, my “I couldn’t get through this without you” person.

I’ve received top-notch care throughout my cancer journey and I’m fortunate to have access to one of the best health care systems in the world. However, there are still limitations. And no one knows your body better than yourself. Over the last five years, I’ve learned to be my own advocate. To question the decisions being made for me and never just following the doctors’ orders unless I’ve done my own research.

Tap into it.

Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Gather ye rosebuds. Or in the words of my favorite country singer Tim McGraw, “Live like you were dying.”

Thanks to my annual mammogram, my treatment was far less aggressive than it could have been. My surgeon said that I wouldn’t have felt the lump in my left breast for a very long time based on where it was positioned, and early detection is the key to surviving any type of cancer. So if you take one thing away from this piece, make it be that.

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