By Shormistha Mukherjee
So, someone breaks the news to you. And tells you they have cancer.
How are you going to react?
If they have known this for over 24 hours and have had time to digest this information, then here are some things you don’t need to say.
1. OMG. I am freaking out hearing this news.
Umm. Yes, you are worried. But no one could be more freaked out than the person who has it. So if they are calm, it might help if you stay calm as well. Your intentions are great, your heart is in the right place, now you just gotta keep your freak in place.
2. Nooo, why did this happen to you? You are such a lovely person.
Eh? That makes it sound like the person did something to deserve it. He or she did not. So while you might mean ‘you are awesome, and this should never have happened to you’, what you are saying is way off.
3. But you are so healthy… you do yoga and eat properly.
Most people do yoga and eat healthy because they want to keep it simple and love the two things. At least I do. And yoga and eating healthy is not like a mosquito net that suddenly developed holes, and let the cancer in.
This apart, there are loads of things which are awesome to hear. Like I’m sending you love and hugs. Like you are a strong girl and you’ll be fine. Like I’m going to keep checking on you.
Like the million things my family, friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues and even acquaintances have said to me. Every single person who has reached out to me, I want to thank them. I know it’s tough. You keep wondering what should you say at a time like this.
But here’s what I’ve figured. Even if it’s tough and even if you say the wrong things, it’s okay. Because Cancer is not He Who Must Not Be Named! The more we fear it, the less we accept it as something we can deal with easily.
And when we talk about it openly, MORE WOMEN WILL GO GET A SONO-MAMMOGRAPHY DONE. I can not stress this enough. Not just a sonography or a mammography, but a sono mammography. Please speak to your doctor about it.
And lastly, in my head I don’t consider this a ‘beat the shit out of fight’. I am fighting a good fight. Not a violent one. I’m making peace, accepting, prepping my body, finding things that’ll help me treat this with food, exercise and happiness.
As a wise friend of mine, N said, don’t focus on the illness, focus on the wellness. Yay! Bring out the yoga mat, the clean food and the happy vibes.
Originally published on Agent Greenglass’ blog. Look out for part three tomorrow!