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by Rod Hage   |   March 21, 2017

Cancer Can’t Touch Our Friendship

When you find out your friend has cancer, treat him/her the same way you did before diagnosis. If you went camping on the weekends, continue to go camping on the weekends. If you went to the movies, keep going to the movies. Just show up and keep doing what you have always done. Be there. Be the “normal” in your friend’s not-so-normal life.

My friend Mark has cancer. He looks at his cancer as an inconvenience, as something that he has to deal with and move on. He asked that I treat him the same, and I have – except for the now necessary sunscreen, medications, and snacks. Everything else is the same. If we are going to an event or away for the weekend, I always extend the invitation to Mark and his wife to join.

We talk often. Make sure to find time each week to talk about the good and the bad. We catch up on doctor’s appointments, family, work events, and the day-to-day minutiae. We treat each other the same as we always have – jokes, sarcasm – our friendship hasn’t changed.

We talk about his treatments, but only when he wants to talk about them. Mark will tell me about his new trials or tests he’s receiving, what they want to try next as he continues his treatment. He appreciates the ability to talk freely, and I’m always available when he’s ready.

Mark fully expects to beat this round of cancer, just like he has the last three rounds. We talk of a positive future and when he will be back to work and cancer-free. We talk and plan for this future; it is not our job to bring up the negatives and punch holes in his beliefs. As his friend, I believe that he will beat this cancer. Cancer can take away a lot, but it has no hold on our friendship.