Scholarship winners Alanna Thornton and Carolyn Simbirdi describe the impacts cancer has had on...READ MORE
I Have Cancer, So Who Am I Now? What Happens When The Man Who Can Do Everything Gets Sick
“I used to work 9-5, coach my kids’ soccer team and volunteer at my church…but now I have cancer.”
“I used to see my friends all the time, go for long walks with my wife and enjoy my life…but now I have cancer.”
“I used to help raise my grandchildren and fix up our families’ homes… but now I have cancer.”
But now I have cancer: It’s the last sentence you ever want to say.
Even worse, I used to do all these things, but now I have cancer… so who am I? No longer employer or employee or entrepreneur, no longer volunteer, member of a community, father or grandparent or friend. Cancer, it becomes you.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Instead, there is a way for cancer to be the adjective rather than the noun in your life; sure, it is a big part of your life and it changes many things you had going for you — but it doesn’t have to become or replace who you are.
The catch is, in order to keep cancer like mesothelioma in its place, in order to limit it to the adjective it deserves to be, you’re going to have to talk about your feelings. And while it may be hard, hear us out, because it could potentially make a big difference in your life – especially if you are a man.
While helping so many people get the help they need to fight mesothelioma by filing a lawsuit, we’ve witnessed a common thread between women. Women can talk about their feelings, and by talking about their feelings they are able to get the support they need to feel empowered, even with cancer, and to feel as if they still haven’t lost themselves to this disease.
Sadly, we’ve also seen far too many men keep their feelings stuffed inside. That’s probably a really smart idea in the business world, and it may even work in your family or social life. But it’s not going to work with something like cancer. Because cancer is so big that when you have it everything changes.
The only way you can tackle something so big is by standing tall and looking cancer in the eyes – getting not only the medical help but the support help that you need. While many men can be their family’s rock, no man can be a 100% solitary cancer support group.
Just like women, when men face cancer, they need friends to pitch in to help. They need to talk about their feelings. They need a game plan for how they are going to try to keep their spirits high, even when there is a big elephant in the room.
It’s a sad situation to find yourself in. But if you use your voice and ask for the help and support you need, you will see another day. You will be able to say: not today, cancer, you won’t keep me down.
We know this is tough. But we also know you can do it. So go out, get the support you need or even turn to Facebook or other support groups online if that’s something that suits you better. You can talk about your feelings and how cancer is getting in your way — and by talking, you will be able to address these problems.
And remember: No matter what, cancer never defines you. You are still the person you were before.