Open Message to a Newly Diagnosed Brain Cancer Patient

woman looking holding while holding head with left hand
Photo by Austin Guevara on

Yesterday I had a good MRI, but also learned that one of my friends has a friend whose daughter was just diagnosed with brain cancer. She is married with two young kids.  It’s hard to celebrate when you see and hear of others just getting started, and worse.  My friend texted me for help to pass on to her friend and her daughter.  This is what poured out of me.  I went back for a second to the feelings of just finding out and waiting for surgery, testing, results, etc.  Panicking, not knowing anything, having to wait constantly, pressure, sadness, fear, pain, absolute emergency mode.  The following is unedited other than names being removed (you’ll find some errors but I wanted to keep it authentic, and in the instant thought, phone-text format that it was).

Hi Friend, I’ve been thinking a lot about your friend’s daughter and those that love her. With brain cancer, there are so many different factors that it can be hard to address in a uniform way. I went through being diagnosed and also had kids (though older) I wanted to be there for, so I know I can relate on several factors. If she wants to talk please feel free to pass on my contact information. Generally speaking though, they are going through what I consider one of the most stressful times. Millions of questions come up, yet the answers are very slow to come. In order to actually do anything you need to know what the facts are, yet you don’t yet and you just feel so stuck. This is a time when she and her family can live in smaller increments of time, like, “let’s just get through dinner”. Meaning only look at the next thing because it may be all you can handle. This sounds bad but is a KINDNESS and recognition of oneself and the fact that it’s a very difficult time. Use small increments of time to get through the process of getting answers, then you can make decisions with all the information in the next phase. Allow kind people to help you and have someone represent your needs- otherwise it doesn’t help. For example, if you want dinner but don’t want a visit, have a rep thank them and ask them to drop it off, you need some private time (or whatever). If they’re offended, consider it a service of not having to deal with them in the future. Also set boundaries and have a rep help establish them. For example some people who think they’re visiting you and being helpful can actually be painful and toxic. Keep your pool of people loving, helpful, supportive. Finally for now, try your best to be positive. Take deep breaths you can feel fill you up when you struggle to be. Look for things that make you happy, smile if you can and recognize them. Look especially at the people you love. If/when you feel pain from this, recognize that it’s because you love them so much and flow toward the focus on good and love. If you recognize yourself not being positive, show yourself love, you’re going through a hard time. So recognition, not criticism. Now finally (sorry one more) trust your instincts and if you believe in God, trust Him. I firmly believe that my instincts were correct and that some, maybe all of them were given to me. I also remember having a conversation with Him before my surgery and making the decision to trust his will. I’m sharing what I remember, not telling you what to do. If you have a conversation it will be your own 🌺, whatever you want to talk about. You are in my thoughts and prayers- sending love and positive vibes your way. Lahla

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