Page 10 - What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient

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3
Introduction
say and why not to say it, and it provides you with words and
actions that
are
supportive.
In the beginning of this journey, I felt like a puppet of the
medical system. Someone was telling me where to go, what to
do, and how high to jump. It felt like I had no control over
what was happening to me, and, be clear, these people held
my life in their hands. While I was happy to hand the reins
over, the feeling that I had no control was pervasive. The
choices that I now had to make were really important and I
didn’t know what I was supposed to do next. The word
patient
began to feel more and more like
victim
to me. It became clear
that advocating for me was going to be important. One of the
first ways in which you can do that is to decide what you will
call yourself.
I choose to call myself a cancer survivor, which today is
what I am. So when I am referring to the person who has
been diagnosed with cancer, I may frequently use the term
sur-
vivor
. The sections of the book where I am addressing you—
the cancer survivor—are identified by an “S” icon.
There are sections of this book where I speak directly to
the friends and family of the person who has been diagnosed.
I will frequently refer to you as
the network
because that is what
you are—a supportive network. My conversations with you are
intended to provide insight to the person’s potential frame