Skip to main content
  • Advertise
    Want to Advertise with Us?
    Conquer welcomes advertising and sponsorship collaborations with reputable companies offering high-quality products and services to people affected by cancer.
  • Affiliated Brands
    Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators
    The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. Our organization of over 8,900 members was founded in May 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services to better manage the complexities of the cancer care treatment continuum for their patients. We view our organization as one consisting of “professional patient advocates” and, to that end, we support and serve our members.
    Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship
    The Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship (JONS) promotes reliance on evidence-based practices in navigating patients with cancer and their caregivers through diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. JONS also seeks to strengthen the role of nurse and patient navigators in cancer care by serving as a platform for these professionals to disseminate original research findings, exchange best practices, and find support for their growing community.
    The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA
    The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON) provides coverage of the wide spectrum of oncology-related events, trends, news, therapeutics, diagnostics, organizations, and legislation that directly affect hematology/oncology nurses and advanced practitioners involved in healthcare delivery and product utilization. The scope and coverage include a unique presentation of news and events that are shaping the care of patients with cancer.
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Contribute

How to Talk to a Friend With Cancer

April 2024 Vol 10 No 2

Please don’t ask—
   about my prognosis,
     if I’m terminal,
       what stage I am in,
         have you gotten second or third opinions,
           have you tried this treatment?
I feel hollow, invisible, as cancer wins your attention. Don’t drain my precious energy telling me
what I should do next. It is not your body, not your journey, not your life.
This is between me, my chosen tribe, and God.
Stop giving me platitudes—
   stay positive,
     take up needlepoint,
       visit another country,
         read this book,
           meditate, pray more,
             change your diet,
               travel to where my aunt who had cancer went.
Let me initiate if I want to talk about cancer. I will tell you when I need your embrace, need to
share the fury of my anger, how I ache with shooting pain where the cancer lives within me.
Ask me what I need. Look into my eyes. Come alongside me with love and compassion.
I cannot make you feel better—
   Your discomfort is about your own fear of mortality.
     Striving for constant happiness is an illusion.
       We are all the same distance from the ditch.
         If there is a high, there will be a low.
           Where there is a mountain, there will be a valley.
I may not share it, but I look closely when you are not around.
I watch my body decline as side effects ravage my limbs; my limitations tarnish my dreams.
I struggle to love the battle-scarred parts of me, to love the life I still have left, amongst the losses.
I can have cancer and be happy. I can have cancer and be sad.
I can integrate all these parts of me because they are the truth of me.
I am whole.

About the Author

Michele is a life coach and writer from Dallas, Texas. Her first collection of poetry, Walking by Starlight: A Healing Journey Through Cancer, was published in 2018.

Explore more inspired creations from the Conquer Community »

Recommended For You