“The Loneliness of Cancer”

The most difficult part of writing and putting together my new book, “Waking Up,” was reading my breast cancer journal. As a survivor, we try and move forward, yet as I read each entry I remembered…and it was ironic how much I had forgotten. I had forgotten all those feelings and emotions; forgotten the details of every treatment and procedure; and I had forgotten that I even had it at all.

“I will say one thing about cancer, and I do know that every day you live with it, your thoughts can change. For today, I know it can be a very lonely place. Seems the people closest to you don’t know quite how to deal with it, so they get angry or they stay away from you. What they don’t understand is that by walking away, or treating you differently, is hurtful.”

“Their reaction to my cancer changes me because their anger and avoidance put me in the category of “the girl with the cancer.” I’m just “the girl who cancer has paid a visit to” and if all goes well, it will be a short visit.”

We don’t always know the right thing to say or do to someone with cancer, and even as a survivor, I don’t really know either. Yet I will say that the best you can do is be there for someone on the cancer journey; support and love them. The most important thing to do is to treat them as the same person you loved before the cancer, because cancer is not “who” they are, cancer is simply “what” they have.

~Anne Dennish~

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