*Commentary is not meant to substitute for professional advice. Any attempt to reprint, duplicate or use text used herein without expressed written permission is a violation of the law.

How Do You Answer Cancer? - October 19, 2011
-Author, Aleasa M. Word

Walking into the room, oblivious to anything else going on, there he stood. Not much to speak of, just a male doing what men do. I said hello, then he said hello. Then silence. Shortly thereafter, I asked how he was as we waited for his food to cook in the microwave. He began to make small talk and then dropped the bomb on me. The big C!

Was I friends with this person? NO. Did I really know much about him? NO. Had I even solicited this information by asking questions about his health? NO. I was waiting just like he was and then he said it. In an instance I was silent, yet I knew I should say something. What should I say? What would I say? How should I react? Did my face have “the look” revealing the letters OMG that just jumped into my head? Then it struck me. How do you answer cancer?

I picked up my pieces after only a few seconds which seemed like an hour. I looked him in the eye and said “you’re going to be fine.” I said it as if I already knew. I’m not quite sure that was what he expected to hear; but, that’s what made sense in my mind at that moment. Maybe God gave me those words. For all of the shock, there was a peace that passed all understanding for this person who I never really knew on a personal level. (At least for a second that is.) Though others had been sick before, I began to feel empty for him. He said “kids get it all the time, so I’ll just have to man up and take my medicine like they do.” At that second, that very moment, I just wanted to cry and give him a hug. How could I? Would he be receptive? Would it be appropriate? I stood there looking at him during that awkward moment crying inside and said “ I will pray for you.”

When it comes to praying for people I realize praying for someone never costs us anything. I didn’t even know this man’s views on religion; but, it came natural to me to say that to him. He politely said “thank you.” As it never skipping a beat, we continued on about someone else I knew who’d been recently diagnosed and was getting treatment. All the while I stood there stunned on the inside, hopeful on the outside.

Why did this man feel he needed to tell me about his recent diagnosis? Was he that comfortable being around me? Did he feel a peace in the room that I was not privy too? Or did he just need to talk? Was saying it his way of making it real and accepting it? How could he just blurt it out? One thing for sure, this was not at all about me. It was about what he needed to do deal with the cards he was dealt. It was about my good friend who’d given me her praise report that same day that she didn’t have the big C but had been concerned.

Suddenly the microwave beeped. What was I supposed to do now? How was this conversation supposed to end? How can you just walk away when someone drops something this heavy in your lap? How do you answer cancer?

Having a few relatives who survived breast cancer when I was younger didn’t give me a real insight into what people have to go through when they have it. Unless you’re on the front line with them, you don’t have any idea of what it’s like to deal with the chemotherapy and radiation. No clue about all of the follow up visits hoping it’s gone. Whether you know these things exist or not, to know it and to live it are two different beasts.

God knows I hope we soon find a cure for this dreadful disease. Everyone from celebrities to John Doe on the street can step into cancer’s path at any time. They too may be hard pressed to answer the question - How do you answer cancer?

To them and to you I hope that you may stay well. For those who have it, all I can really say is be encouraged - though I have no idea at all how you are really feeling inside. I do know that whatever you are feeling or whatever you are going through, I give you my love and prayers. I have no answer for cancer but I know God does.

Author's Bio: 

Aleasa M. Word is the owner of Allergy Words Consulting, LLC. She is a motivational speaker. Please visit www.allergywords.com for more information.