Who speaks first about your cancer?

Who speaks first about your cancer?

Today I received a link from Karl Schwartz of Lymphomation.org to the following article by James Salwitz, MD, to which I'm sure many of us can relate, going by what I've read on this site.



ATTENTION CANCER PATIENTS - I wish I had better news, but I do not. The

reality is that if you ever want to have a real conversation again, if you

want friends, if you want to talk about what you are going through, then you

must start the conversation. Otherwise, everyone will dance around the

elephant in the room, and frankly, that elephant is you. You must give

others permission to talk and permission to care.


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5 Replies

  • Neil, thanks for posting this insightful article because it brings into perfect focus the points I made in my earlier blog, 'does having cancer make me scary?'. And it highlights to me that I have a strong role in helping and allowing people to help me. That's maybe something that I haven't made enough allowances for.

    Humour can diffuse so many awkward moments and it is perfectly understandable that friends and relatives may sometimes find it difficult to know how to pitch the conversation. How can they know what is permissible and is it ok for them to show visible upset?

    Interestingly, Karl Schwartz says identical things in his last sentence to the things I said in my blog.


  • Oops apologies...I see the article was forwarded by Karl Schwartz but actually written by James Salwitz MD.


  • True. Recently I met a good friend who I hadn't seen for ages. She knows about my CLL. She asked about my job, my son, my husband, the house until I said to her "you are spinning in ever decreasing circles. You can get to asking about me now". And she answered "Thank you, I didn't know how to approach it."

  • I think that's exactly the point: people are terrified that you're going to be offended, or burst into tears if they raise the subject. And then they wouldn't know how to deal with it, so they avoid the risk. Once they understand that you're comfortable (or at least not uncomfortable) talking about how you feel, what's happening etc. you can have a conversation.

  • Hi I like people caring enough about me to ask "how are you" sometimes I just say OK when I'm not really sometimes I say not doing too well but I have found people's support very helpful.

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