Thinking about it now, I was always curious about what was going on with my cousin, Krista, during her illness, and being so young compared to the rest of my family didn’t help. I always felt like I would never hear the actual situations, just the brighter side of what was going on. I’d always get the short end of the stick. I know now that it was just my family trying to protect me from being hurt, but I always wanted to know just like everyone else. I would think to myself “I am related too, doesn’t that count?” And it does.
Trying to get the low-down on everything that was going on through my parents wasn’t exactly the same as talking to Krista about it; you really need to hear it directly from the person. At first I was kind of skeptical about asking her things, I though it would make her feel uncomfortable, but it didn’t. I thought she might have gotten upset, and at first she did a little, but it only made her stronger by talking about it. When a person does get upset about their cancer, it means that they trust you, and that they want it to be over just as badly as you do. Once you get your first question over with, it isn’t so bad afterwards.
The questions just come pouring out of you, and the answers from the person come the same way. I’m also not the shyest person around, so I don’t mind speaking what I think if it’s appropriate. You’re probably wondering, “What is appropriate and what isn’t?” You pretty much have to make your own judgment of that, ask yourself what you would like to be asked, and what you wouldn’t. If you’re actually close with this person, then you know the boundaries. And if not, just keep the questions as brief as you can for the first little while.
Like I said in one of my previous articles, if I didn’t feel comfortable asking Krista, I would ask my parents, or my aunt and uncle. People are generally open once you ask; if you don’t, then they assume that you don’t really want to know, or are just not interested. Be assertive about your opinions. That tells everyone that you’re not just a kid, and that you want to be involved just as much as everyone else if not more.
Other ways to find out answers is looking on the Internet. There is so much information about everything relating to cancer, we might as well put it to good use. Here is a good website, for many different types of cancer. http://www.nci.nih.gov/ I think it has just about everything on it. There’s even a dictionary for those who do not understand the cancer terms, just like me.
Other than that, there’s one other thing I could suggest. RealTime Cancer. If the person is younger (and by younger I mean below 35), let them know about the site. It wouldn’t only benefit you, but them, too. It gives them the chance to express how they feel to everyone. And instead of explaining everything a thousand times, people can just read it online here.
As you can tell, RealTime Cancer helps everyone. If you are dealing with cancer, but not personally, like myself, the website gives you the opportunity to help others who are feeling the same way you are. RealTime Cancer is something that has helped me through everything.