What Not to Say to a Prostate Cancer Patient

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4


It’s not the big one Elizabeth. I’m not coming to join you.

In the 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son, Fred Sanford, played by Redd Foxx, would often feign shock over some absurd situation and clutch his heart saying “It’s the big one. Elizabeth, I”m comin’ to join you, Honey,” crying out to his dead wife.

This cancer isn’t the big one. But it’s big enough.

Truth is, I’m still exhausted. I still feel like crap most days.

After all how would you feel with a stick of plutonium up your backside?

Sorry if that’s a little indelicate. There’s nothing delicate about cancer.

And it’s okay to say that.

In fact it’s okay to say a lot of things.

Since my prostate cancer diagnosis, I’ve read around the web, lots of medical sites, lots of “what are the symptoms of this therapy” sites, and lots of support group.

But it’s only been recently that I started finding like minded people expressing what I’ve been feeling, but couldn’t quite put into words. That’s a bad thing for a writer to admit.

True, if I’d joined the support groups offered, I might have come to this point sooner. But we already talked about that yesterday.

Today I have my first external radiation treatment. I’m assured that it will not be as bad as the last time I had radiation some thirty years ago. But I’m not looking forward to it. It won’t be pleasant.

That’s why I’d like to list just a few things that you shouldn’t say to a prostate cancer patient. Even when you mean well.

Especially when you mean well.

I summarized these from multiple sites around the web (referenced below), but the sentiments are the same.

Mug Shots

When someone tells you that they have prostate cancer…

Never tell them that it’s the “easy” cancer or the “slow growing” cancer or the one that’s “easy to treat.” Don’t even think about implying that it’s not a huge deal. Are there less common, more aggressive cancers? Sure, but this is still a big deal.

And never, ever, say it’s “the best kind of cancer to have!”

There is NO good cancer.

It’s like saying “At least, Mrs. Lincoln, you had really good seats.”

Don’t tell your story, or someone else’s story. Everyone’s journey is different. Hearing that “my uncle got through it just fine” may be well-intended. But it’s not helpful. What your uncle, or grandfather, or brother went through, is not what I’m going through.

Prostate cancer is a big deal. It’s a pain, literally a pain in the butt, to deal with. Even with the least aggressive cancers there are unpleasant and sometimes long lasting side effects that are no picnic in the park.

Everyone’s journey is different. But most of us are losing some quality of life points.

Never tell a prostate cancer patient that they’re more likely to die of something else first.

“You may be dying with cancer, but hey, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.”

If you and the cancer person are people of faith, never say that they just have to believe that they will be healed.

Never tell a cancer patient that what they are feeling isn’t valid. Some days just suck and you’re not helping by telling them to look on the bright side. It’s okay to recognize that they may be feeling depressed.

Don’t be a cheerleader. Don’t tell him to keep fighting.

Don’t say “I know how you feel” even if you’ve had a similar journey. Because you don’t, and can’t know, how anyone of us feels on a given day.

Instead, just be there. Tell them you’re here for them, and mean it.

It is very much okay to say “I don’t know what to say, but just let me sit with you.”

Never say “If you need anything, let me know,” because they (we) won’t.

Say instead things like:

Can I bring you dinner?
Can I mow your yard?
Can I go to the store for you?
I’m thinking about you, or I’m praying for you.

Tell them happy stories. Change the subject.

And never tell them “Everything is going to be fine.”

Maybe it is, but unless you’re the attending physician, it’s likely you don’t know that for certain. Saying that it will all be okay can play down the severity of the situation.

And when that day comes, which it should for me five weeks from today, don’t say “Congrats, your treatment is over.”

While that may be true, the side effects likely will linger. When I had radiation following my cancer thirty years ago it was almost a year before the queasiness went away. I’m not anticipating that with this round, but fatigue is guaranteed. I’ve already got more than my fair share of that.

I know that I am very fortunate. My cancer was caught early. It had not spread. I have an expert medical team taking care of me. I’ve got supportive friends and family.

I am truly blessed.

This also truly sucks. So maybe knowing what not to say or to say to a cancer patient will help me, or it will help you help someone else.

Even the best intended statements need an editor.

SOURCES

What Not To Say To A Prostate Cancer Patient
Mark Bradford’s Cancer Journal

What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient
The New York Times

6 Things You Should Say to Someone With Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer Today

11 Harmful Things Cancer Survivors Hear
Prostate Cancer Today

12 Things Not to Say to Someone With Cancer
Healthgrades

Photo by Kylo on Unsplash

MUSICAL INTERLUDE

 

 

 

WHAT I’M READING

 


 

 

RANDOM LINKS YOU SHOULD READ

Ron DeSantis putting on the ‘full armor of God’ to fight leftism, receives standing ovation for stirring remarks
Blaze Media
“It ain’t going to be easy,” he warned. “You got to be strong. You got to put on the full armor of God. You got to take a stand, take a stand against the left’s schemes, you got to stand your ground, you got to be firm, you will face flaming arrows, but take up the shield of faith and fight on.” Read More.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Fire Fauci Act Triples Support After Email Dump
Newsweek
Although the White House has stood by Fauci as an expert and trusted advisor, Republicans capitalized on the release of his emails as a means of renewed criticism. The thousands of pages of redacted emails called into question what Fauci knew about gain-of-function research being conducted in China, the effectiveness of wearing masks and the possibility that the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Read More.

Analysis: Biden’s Justice Dept may defend Trump in Capitol riot lawsuits
Reuters
The Biden administration paved the way for that possibility, say constitutional scholars and lawyers in the cases, by arguing in an unrelated defamation case against Trump that presidents enjoy sweeping immunity for their comments while in office – and the right to a defense by government lawyers. Read More.

 


 

Washington Post tried to smear me for criticizing race theory — and failed spectacularly
Christopher F. Rufo in The New York Post
In recent months, outlets including The New York Times, The New Republic, MSNBC, CNN and The Atlantic have relentlessly attacked me. But the coup de grâce, they believed, would be a 3,000-word exposé in The Washington Post. The paper dispatched two reporters, Laura Meckler and Josh Dawsey, and spent three weeks preparing a vicious hit piece against me, accusing me of a range of intellectual crimes. Read More.

PODCASTS I’M LISTENING TO

The British History Podcast

Chopped Bard

 

 


BENEDICTION

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

It was good for Paul and Silas

Give me that old-time religion 

Give me that old-time religion 

Give me that old-time religion 

Its’ good enough for me!

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25 NKJV


We went to church on Sunday for the first time in over a year.

Let me clarify. We went to church in person for the first time in over a year.

We’ve been attending online services in a number of forms. And we’ve led the worship for the livestream on a couple of occasions.

This was being back in the building.

It wasn’t out usual building, but a building from my childhood.

Again, let me clarify.

You’ll recall that we were in my hometown this weekend for a family funeral. We decided to stay through Sunday and go to church with my Mom.

It’s a convoluted story, and one that perhaps needs a flow chart…or perhaps a flannelgraph if you remember your Sunday school, but here is its in nutshell.

I grew up in the Church of God. The Anderson, Indiana flavor, and not the Cleveland, Tennessee flavor.

If you know, you know. Or you can wait for the interpretation.

Around the time I was starting school, our very small church was sold to the town who built a lovely office building and library on the spot. I spent much of my youth in that library.

Ironically, or not, the library is now located in the old Mormon church.

That’s another story.

When our church was sold, the ground was broken for a new church building on the main thoroughfare through town.

But the building didn’t go up overnight and we needed a place for church during construction.

We ended up meeting at the Seventh Day Adventist Church across the street. After all, they weren’t using the building on Sundays.

Our church building was eventually completed and we moved into the new digs.

The Write Side Shop



When I was in high school, in a story that may or may not end up in the book, our church left the denomination.

Several years later, post college, and in the early days of my political involvement, I left that church right before I moved away. That story may indeed show up in the book.

Not long after, my Mom and Stepdad left and began attending a small church in our original Church of God denomination on the other side of the county. They were there for years. When I say small, let’s just say that twelve people was often considered a good crowd.

Fast forward about thirty years. The small church was struggling, but still surviving. An opportunity came up to buy and moved into…wait for it…the Seventh Day Adventist Church building.

And so they did. If things go well this week, their offer to buy the building will be accepted.

All that gets back to the story of this past Sunday, my wife and I went to church with my Mom at the church of my early childhood, across from the church of my childhood and youth.

Where’s that flannelgraph?

Not only that, since the regular pianist, my cousin and or stepsister depending on how you draw the family chart, was out of town. So my wife played piano. To do so she had to learn some Church of God hymns that grew out of the camp meeting movement prior to the turn of the previous century.

All that gets down to the fact that it was good to be in church.

Pastor Faye, also a cousin, and for the record a former babysitter, gave a powerful message based from the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes.

All is meaningless, except that her sermon wasn’t.

On our ride home we chatted about the fact that it felt comfortable. It felt familiar. It felt like church.

That’s a feeling that we haven’t had for sometime. Not just because of the pandemic, but for reasons that will definitely not be included in the book, we’ve been in search for a new church home.

We haven’t found it. And we’re not driving four hours every weekend to find it.

There as familiarity in the old things. The old buildings. The old hymns.

Heck, the hymnals.

That old time religion if you will.

I know that there are different styles of worship. And I know that church music has evolved over the centuries. I mean in the early church, instruments and harmony were nowhere to be found.

I’ve even grown up through traditions that said “We won’t allow guitars in the church because stringed instruments are of the devil. We’ll stick with the piano.”

I’ll give you a minute to think about that one.

Personally, I love the hymns. Sure they’re old. But they’re solid. And they’re absolutely packed full of theology what we miss in the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs.

Too soon? No my brethren and sistren not nearly soon enough.

Give me an old-fashion hymn sing comin’ down in four part harmony any day of the week.

And twice on Sunday.

It’s true, I’ve adapted. But I find renewal when we get back to the hymns of the faith, when we get back to the hymnal.

And maybe when we step back in time to a little country church.


MUSICAL INTERLUDE

 


 

 

WHAT I’M READING

 


 

 

RANDOM LINKS YOU SHOULD READ

A Storm Is Brewing: Project Veritas, Another Reporter Speaks Out Against Their Network
Human Events
“The viewers are being deceived by a carefully crafted narrative in some stories…There’s a narrative. Yes, it is unspoken. But if you accidentally step outside the narrative, if you don’t sense what that narrative is and go with it, there will be grave consequences for you…Fox came at my throat for standing up against censorship.” Read More.

Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Faces Backlash Over Membership To Alleged All-White Club
Daily Wire
“Both Whitehouse and his wife Sandra as well as their families have been members of [the all-white private Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport] for decades,” GoLocalProv reported. “Whitehouse did transfer his shares in the club to his wife years ago, and she is now one of the largest shareholders in the all-white club. The club’s membership is a who’s who Newport, Palm Beach, and New York wealth.” Read More.

Virginia Democrats Launch ‘Antisemitism’ Attack; Ignore McAuliffe and Sharpton
Breitbart
Virginia Democrats are accusing Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin of taking a donation from an allegedly “antisemitic” contributor — while ignoring Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe’s recent appearance with Al Sharpton. Read More.

Abbott and DeSantis Ally to Secure the Border
In the absence of federal action, state governors are taking matters into their own hands.
The American Spectator
Abbott and DeSantis’s cooperation independent of the federal government could signal a growing trend of Republican governors flouting the Biden administration. Read More.

Controversy As Catholic Church Decides To Deny Communion To Satanic Goat Worshipers
The Babylon Bee
A number of bishops do oppose denying Communion to Satanic goat worshipers, though. They worry that this could put the church in direct conflict with Democrats — huge supporters of Satanic goat worship — making it harder for the church to work with them on issues such as poverty, racism, and the environment. Still, they admit, even if they were to be able to get past the Satanism, there was still no getting past the baby murder. Read More.

PODCASTS I’M LISTENING TO

The British History Podcast

Chopped Bard

 

 


BENEDICTION

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26