About You and Me

Hey friend, if you reading this, then, one way or another, cancer is already a part of your life.

Maybe you just found out, or maybe going through treatment, or perhaps you’re waiting for the next checkup.

Maybe there’s someone you can’t be without and they have cancer, I want you to know that you’re not alone.

Yes, this whole cancer thing so crazy and it’s so hard to take, you can’t stop thinking about it, and everything you planned for, everything you worked for is under attack.

And that’s why I created this podcast, to find a better way of dealing with it mentally, physically, emotionally.

You’re going to hear stories from those fighting cancer right now, and those who have survived it, and medical experts who know what cancer is like first hand.

You know, I remember when I first found out I had cancer, it was like I just hit a wall.

And the next thing is, I’m falling from the top of the world.

I couldn’t believe it. I could not believe it was me!

I guess I always thought that cancer only happens to other people…

I couldn’t believe how wrong it was, I was so angry, it just made no sense!

Why me, why now?

I mean, I could die, and what then, what happens to my family?

And what am I leaving behind? And how am I going to be remembered?

And it’s a real struggle to talk about cancer and everything that’s going through your head.

You don’t want to come off like you can’t handle it, you want the world to know you’re in control, but inside, you’re exploding.

So you never seem to find the right words, or the right time, it becomes this weird, ominous shadow that hangs over you, so you end up keeping it to yourself most of the time, and not letting others in, the people who care about you, who love you unconditionally, sometimes you just don’t let them get close and allow them to be there you, to help you, because this burden is not yours alone to carry.

I was lucky to have my wife, my mum, a few good friends who were there, and I am truly grateful, but you know what?

I also had a fair few friends who went missing just when I needed them.

It really wasn’t what I expected and it hurt, hurt like hell, and I’m still coming to terms with it.

Because the way I look at it, if you’re not  there for me right now, when I need it most, then what is the point of having you in my life?

In hindsight, if there is such a thing, one thing that I would do differently is tell my friends, my family, people in my life, telling them what I want from them, how I expect them to help me.

And by that, I mean send an email to everyone and spell out exactly what’s happening and when, if there’s any treatment starting or waiting for results or there is a quick overview of what this cancer is all about, and make a list of things I need help with, and ask folks to raise their hand and volunteer for something from that list.

Because what I found is that we expect people to figure out where you are and what you want, but it’s not always easy.

There are people who want to help you, help you on your terms, who want to be there for you, but they don’t know how, and sometimes we need to guide them.

That’s what cancer does to you – it changes absolutely everything.

The way I think about the future, the way I live my life, every single day…

I now find the whole idea of pre-planning your long term future completely ridiculous.

How can you plan something to happen in 10 years time when you don’t know what will happen today, let alone tomorrow?

And at the same time, the future is here, I can make out the rough shape of it, and I can see that the only way to get into the future is through the present.

This moment, right now, what’s happening today, that’s what’s real, that’s what’s important, because we never get it back!

And it’s so delicate, so fragile, so easy to take for granted…

I guess that somewhere deep inside, I always knew that was true, but now I have definite proof, I can not only acknowledge it – but also celebrate it.

Take real pride and joy in small, everyday things like a good cup of coffee, like a great book that hooks you in.

Somehow, I know that these small things also add up to bigger, brighter future.

Now, I can be selfish in the most positive way where I focus on my what is truly important to me – my family and my message (this podcast, my upcoming book), and throw away any distractions, any nonsense that is somebody else’s agenda or is done out of habit.

I can’t put anything off for “another time”, because that time may never come – with or without cancer, any day it can be taken away.

And the good news is, there’s never been a better time in history to defeat cancer.

You have the best medical minds at work, but I believe you need to do your own research to make sure you know exactly what’s going on, every step of the way so that at any given time so you don’t get dragged down by all the scary thoughts of what might go wrong.

What helps me to work through my worries, is to take out a piece of paper and write out whatever event or milestone is coming up, let’s say it’s test results in a week’s time.

I write down all the possible outcomes and the likelihood of each, as a percentage.

And then whenever I get anxious, I pull it up, look at it, and it makes me focus on what is probable, not possible.

That is the key – this will help your mind from running off into a million different directions, worrying about things that might never happen.

And when you do your own research, you can ask better, more informed questions and that can really help with being anxious because you are more in control.

Ask your specialist as many questions as you need, because you need to know exactly what’s going, ask your nurse if you are in a hospital, find a community online that deals with your cancer because the most crucial thing is to talk about cancer, talk about your worries and the craziness of it all…

Talk to your friends, your family, people you work with, because you know what?

It’s ok to be angry, it’s ok to be lost, confused, pissed off, so tell them what you’re going through!

Tell them how they can support you, because it’s so tough on them too – they want to help you, but they don’t Joe Emailknow how and they don’t want to say or do the wrong thing and make feel like crap.

Tell them what’s on your mind, and they will thank you because they want to be there for you in whatever way you want to be.

Get support in whatever way you can, listen to my Simplify Cancer podcast, pick up every book you can on how to live through cancer, find a community online, use every tool you can that helps you get through it, and, ultimately, live the life you want despite cancer!

Stay strong, my friend, you can do this!