With no family history of cancer, you just don’t expect your sister, who is ten years younger than you are, to get this diagnosis. You’re hit in the stomach. You think, what can I do? Reality sets in, you read, talk to friends and doctors, form a plan with her.

* I love you. I want to help. I want to support and be with you.
* You are strong, smart, positive and have many friends and family close by.
* Let me know when you want me to be there. Call me whenever you need to hear my voice. I will stay in touch and come to visit, but there will be times, when I won’t know you need me; call.
* This is a bump in the road. It will take some time to find a path. This is a great opportunity to rethink how we spend our memories and time together.
* You must have confidence in your doctors; don’t listen to anyone else’s experiences; This is your journey and not someone else’s. Pick the professionals you are comfortable with.
* Make self-care a priority – have massages, manicures, pedicures, get dressed and look cute or stay in your pj’s when you feel like it.
* Don’t try to be brave for everyone else or try to take care of everyone else. Cry when you need to. Don’t talk when you don’t want to. Say what you’re feeling – what you want and don’t want – don’t try to do this alone.
* Do your research, make your decisions, but don’t spend too much time just thinking about cancer – decide on your plan of action, then concentrate on rest, self-care, diversions and laughter.
* Don’t be alone too much; always have someone go with you to the doctor; they can either come in and take notes or just to be there when you come out. These can be great talking opportunities and possibilities for some quick healing. Don’t forget to add in something fun, like lunch or movie.
* Make a list of things friends and family can do when they offer; if you don’t want food, then what? Have this list by the phone – allow friends and family to reach out and be connected to you, even if you don’t want 30 casseroles – this time will go faster with the connection and blessings of family and friends.
* Practice and read about your faith; let people pray for you.
* Stay in your same routine as much as possible; do the things you would normally do, especially with your children.
* Continue to ask yourself what are you and everyone else around you supposed to learn from this experience?

What opportunities will this offer for readjusting the way you live your life? This bumpy road is showing you a second chance; it’s a time to ask yourself, what is important and what do I want to change? This is a gift and a wakeup call to reorganize the things you would like to be different.

What can you do when a family member or close friend is diagnosed with a serious disease? Stay connected, do the research, encourage them to talk about what they want, don’t spend all of your time only dealing with illness, create some memories.

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Carolyn Bates is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Certified Personal Life Coach specializing in successful life transitions and retirement for Baby Boomers and people 50+. She is recognized as a Professional Personal Life Coach, Author, Published Writer, Group & Workshop Leader. Coaching Life Design writes a monthly newsletter, has an interactive website and continually creates and offers teleclasses focused on the challenges of creating the life you want.

Author's Bio: 

Baby Boomers revolutionized America. Now, they are transforming the spirit of aging. Owner of Coaching Life Design, LLC, Coach Carolyn, is a graduate/certified personal life coach, leader of teleclasses, group facilitator, speaker and published author, offering empowerment for the success of those 50 Plus. "Create your Life before Life creates itself".

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