Some people, with the best intentions, will tell you it will be Ok. Some will offer their opinion on chemotherapy, and how they feel it is just “poison”. The intentions are good, the delivery and message can be distressing to the patient and family to hear. There are also the group of people upon hearing the news, that disappear and you do not hear from them. It can be surprising that some that you thought would be with you are not. For your own health, try not to dwell on the ones that cannot handle your diagnosis.
To be helpful, according to www.cancer.org , take your cues from the person with cancer, some will want to talk about their illness, others prefer privacy. Let them know you care. Respect their treatment decisions. Listen without always feeling that you need to respond. Offer to help in concrete, specific ways. The advice continues about what not to say. Don’t offer advice they don’t ask for, or be judgmental. Avoid being patronizing, or telling the person with cancer “I can imagine how you feel.”
During you or your loved one’s journey with mesothelioma, you might discover that you have formed new relationships. Sometimes the people who surround you at your darkest moments may be not the ones you expected to be there. We have seen bonds form between people that they were even surprised about. Two women from totally different walks of life and completely opposite interests had formed a tight bond, so much so, that they made their husbands appointments on the same day so they could support each other. For these patients and families this was the positive that they were taking from the diagnosis of mesothelioma. For some, these are reassuring positive relationships, for others it might be too much to handle.
If someone you know is diagnosed with a serious illness, reach out. Listen instead of talking. Expect the person to have good days as well as bad days. Cancer is an equalizer. It reminds us all that our time on this earth is limited, make the most of it, and reach out to others who are having a rough time.