It is now nearly a month since I was diagnosed with cancer. Spent today trying to console two former colleagues who were really distraught at the news. This made me think back on all the things people have said and done when they heard I had cancer. So this is my list of dos and donts of what to do when your friend/colleague/whoever tells you they have cancer (when I think about it, never known anyone really close who has had cancer, so never been in that situation myself and therefore you are all forgiven for the gaffes):
DO NOT SAY/DO:
1. "Oh, that is really serious"
2. "Are you joking?
3. "Oh, I would hate if if I lost my hair"
4. "You must understand it will get worse"
5. Put on your voice reserved for the recently bereaved and slowering your usual animated pace by about 100, say : "Oh, so sorry I have not phoned earlier. I am soooooo .. blah ... blah... blah"
6. Phone incessantly
7. Stop speaking to that person
HOWEVER, DO SAY/DO:
1. Send frequent text messages saying the person does not need to respond
2. Make a point of staying in contact
3. Spoil that person
4. Stay friends with that person, in fact, be even friendler than usual