WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Fortunately for me, it didn't. As a result, a lumpectomy was in order; the following week we'd remove Isis from my right breast and leave some of me intact. Our family celebrated with a weekend in New York where we toasted the upcoming surgery with Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth's highly apropos phrase, "Out, damned spot!" The last things I remember before going under was laughing with my surgeon and kissing my husband goodbye. A week later we would learn that the surgery had been a success — my cancer was gone. I would have a month to heal after which time our focus would shift to cancer prevention. One of my favorite days during that month was when our 16-year-old daughter's girlfriends visited. They were wonderfully genuine and curious, wanting to know how I was An Unexpected Journey 106 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 5 What to Say–and Not Say– to a Friend who has Cancer It can often be awkward to be around someone going through cancer treatment. What should you say and not say? While everyone has his or her particular sensitivities, here's what I found to be helpful rules of thumb: Focus on the present. While we are all insanely curious about people's prognosis, instead, ask them how they are feeling today. For some cancer patients, inquiring about what stage cancer they have or if they are cured can be very upsetting. Keep it real. Don't feel like you have to reassure people with adages like, "It will be okay" or "Everything happens for a reason." Instead just care for people in whatever situation they find themselves. Lighten the load. Cancer patients work hard during their treatment. Ask people what is helping them get through their journey. Consider that comments like "Attitude is everything" or "It could be worse," may add to patients' burden, suggesting that they are not being upbeat or grateful enough. Support their choices. There are many treatment paths to choose from. I chose to supplement the traditional cancer protocol with acupuncture and a cleansing diet. Other people make different choices. Whatever the case may be, try to support the choices that people have made for themselves. Just do it. Don't wait to be asked to help out. I was too tired to plan during most of my treatment. It was lovely to receive a spontaneous call from friends who were going to the grocery or mall asking if they could pick up anything for us. Allow for quiet. My cancer journey began during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and continued on through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. I needed quiet moments where I could just replenish. If you can make those possible for a cancer patient, you will give him or her a gift they will long remember.

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