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Positive to the End

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Positive reinforcement is always fantastic to hear and I have been blessed to have received an immense amount. It helps us warriors get through tough days and sometimes the words spoken can be exactly what we need to hear.

However, from your perspective, it can't be easy to respond to the news of a loved one b ein g d iagn osed with can cer. On e' s instinctive reaction is to let their own fears takeover, but most often that isn't what a new warrior needs to see or feel.

How one responds to news and acts spontaneously is of utmost importance. So as a resident of the cancer universe, I thought I could assist you in dealing with your own emotions or certain situations better while you support your warrior.

Of course this is only my perspective and each warrior responds differently, but I hope it benets you nevertheless.

Chronic Disease, not Terminal:

Cancer is no longer considered a terminal disease. Warriors live with cancer and they can function ne. There are numerable other diseases that are incurable but cancer fortunately has many treatments available. So yes, it is a tough journey but it doesn't always have a negative conclusion.

I don't know when my cancer will go into remission. It probably will or won't, but that's not going to stop me from planning the next fty years of my life. Hence if you hear of somebody's diagnosis, don't let fear of death cloud your emotions.

Gauge your emotions:

The reason I can battle cancer with strength is because nobody cries or acts weak in front of me. My support group is very matter of fact about my illness and we have normal conversations.

Therefore gauge your emotions and behavior around those in treatment. Also, this needs to be done each time you are around a warrior. Our own mood can be very erratic hence your emotions shouldn't burden further.

Some days I am happy to cry about my cancer with a friend but other times I have cut off from well wishers, because their perturbation was too overwhelming for me.

Take permission before sharing information:

When we know a cancer warrior and receive information about the d i s e a s e , t h e impulsive reaction is to share it with them. And you should!

It helps us gather points on how to care for ourselves while taking away the responsibility of nding the information single handed. However, it's polite to seek permission before you share.

Respect the morbidity:

Despite everything I say in my blogs, the rst reaction when I was diagnosed was 'tik tok there goes my clock'… and morbid thoughts come from time to time.

It can be difcult to hear a warrior talk about their death but be strong and listen to us. You don't have to say anything. One hug at the end of the conversation is all that is expected of you.

Motivate on Vertical Days

I learnt this interesting concept from a fellow warrior when I entered the cancer universe. She said 'Sonia, I have two type of days, vertical and horizontal. The days I am ne I am vertical- up and running and the days I am not, I'm horizontal- sleeping on my bed'. It's been the easiest way to explain to family how I am feeling each day.

Bald is beautiful but don't lie:

Cancer alters a warrior's looks. Yes, we brave the changes happening to our skin and the loss of hair. It is also very nice of you to say that we carry off the look well or still look good. But it ok to agree with us and say “we miss how you looked too”.

Develop an appetite for intensity:

Till I am positive, cheerful and hunky dory, I have a lot of people around me. The day I am feeling morbid or grumpy, not so many. Of course nobody wants to be around an unpleasant person but hey, I have cancer! I'm allowed this much. So be strong and hear us on our tough days. That is when we need you. Strength is contagious: When you interact with a warrior, do it with all your love and positivity. Be a catalyst of strength.

Sonia Boury student of DCS 2010 and daughter of Neelam Boury student of DCS 2012, passed away in April after a valiant three year battle with cancer.


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