How to Help a Cancer Victim

How to Help a Cancer Victim

First understand:
we’re confused,
we’re angry,
we’re stunned,
we’re overwhelmed,
we don’t know what we need.

Know you can’t fix it.
Know we’ve heard a lot to be frightened of.
Know we’re fragile.
We just want to be normal again.

I know you want to help.
I know you want to comfort.
I know you fear for me.
I know.

Don’t be surprised if I respond with anger.
Don’t be surprised if I respond with silence.
Don’t be surprised if I respond with a joke.
Don’t be surprised.

Some pain is in the body.
Some pain is in the mind.
Some pain damages the soul.

Help me.
I wish to be normal again.
I wish to talk to you like we once did.
I want to hear of your family,
of the dog, the cat, the car and your crazy Aunt Sally.

Call me, text me, email me,
do normal things with me.
A cup of coffee, a day on the beach,
a trip to the store, a hug for your old friend.

I am not writing this week as I focus my writing time on finishing editing my poetry book.  Instead I offer the above poem from the collection I am working on.

Till next week,


About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
This entry was posted in Poems, Prostate Cancer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to How to Help a Cancer Victim

  1. Thanks, Andrew. I had cancer when I was a teenager and I didn’t have the words to express myself. I certainly wasn’t a poster child – in fact I became a problem child.
    Thanks again XXOO


  2. dorannrule says:

    This is so important Andrew. It is a cancer victim’s perspective, but it adds straightforward advice for the friends who want so desperately to help.


  3. Cally says:

    Wonderful insight. The words were so deep and meaningful.Thanks for sharing. Take care Cally.


  4. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Thanks, Andrew. This goes hand-in-hand with some advice a friend gave me last week about how to interact with another friend who just got a terminal diagnosis.


  5. restlessjo says:

    Hard from both points of view, isn’t it, Andrew? I’m one of the fortunates, so far, who’ve only wondered what to say. But we never know whose turn next. This is very touching and right to the heart of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tjsthings says:

    This is so beautiful and poignant and accurate. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Carrie Rubin says:

    This is wonderful. The “do normal things with me” point is so important to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jennypellett says:

    Thank you for this poem. My brother in law is going through treatment for cancer at the moment. He has a terminal prognosis. Your words are true and made me pause. Thank you again.


  9. George says:

    You nailed it , Andrew.


  10. Well said, Andrew. And likely fits so many people with chronic illnesses.


  11. jfwknifton says:

    That’s really good. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.


  12. PiedType says:

    A tear of understanding, from someone else who just wants to be normal again.


  13. Annika Perry says:

    Your poem is spot on, Andrew. As so many we have lost very close relatives to cancer and doing ‘normal things’ was so important to them when we visited. Very touching poem and so true.


  14. You.are.real. Thank you for b.e.i.n.g. We are all a part of the great Singularity. I just learned this, last night. And, I pass it to you. Be encouraged!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Andrew, this is beautiful.


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