If you want to support a loved one facing cancer treatment, don’t inundate them with pseudo-scientific treatments recommendations.
If you’re a religious person, for the love of God, don’t tell someone with cancer that if they’d just drink juice (or take vitamins, or pray or have a “positive attitude”) that they could cure themselves.
And if you’re not a religious person, for the love of reason and decency, don’t tell someone with cancer any of these things, either.
It was my late sister Sharron’s birthday last week, and it’s Easter this week – my second time spending two holidays without her that we often celebrated together each spring. If Sharron was feeling good, I’d have a tepid sense of hope for her as her beloved peonies came into bloom. She lived with a rare type of sarcoma tissue cancer for 15 years, and we never knew if each season of renewal would be her last.
Since she’s been gone, I’ve been able to understand that my sister wasn’t alone in a particular burden she bore. I’ve been hearing from friends with cancer and other serious illnesses that they are overwhelmed when concerned people lob suggestions at them for homeopathic remedies they “should” be doing.
Over the years, it was painful for me to see people tell my sister (and me) that she could just cure herself if she really wanted to. Didn’t she know that if she just drank lemon juice every day she could wipe out her cancer cells? That if she’d just watch that Netflix documentary The Gerson Miracle she’d be OK? That if she were only willing to take vitamins, or eat raw food, or do yoga or look on the bright side of things, her illness would go away?