Horror of horrors. The child of a friend was recently diagnosed with the big C, and my heart just snapped in two. Children. Shouldn’t. Have. Cancer. Ever.

I’ve never experienced this before — I’ve had friends with cancer, friends whose parents have had cancer, but this is the first time in my community that I’ve known about a friend who’s child is sick. As I waded through my own emotions (shock, outrage, sadness), of course I wondered how I could be helpful. I no longer live in Chicago, so I can’t just show up with food or blankets or stuffed animals. I could send them food, but I could tell from Facebook that a lot of people were already doing that. Plus, I’m a damn survivor! Is there anything that I can do or share that is particularly relevant to this particular disease?

I wasn’t sure if this friend had ever seen my blog, especially my post What to Do When a Doctor Says Cancer, so I hemmed and hawed and went back and forth about whether to send it to him. Thought process:

  • It’s his child, and this post is written for an adult.
  • Livestrong no longer provides those same services, so that part won’t be helpful.
  • I’m being pushy — all he’s been getting is advice so maybe mine isn’t needed or wanted.
  • His child has fucking cancer! There’s no part of his brain that can receive anything extra right now.
  • Don’t be arrogant — what makes you think your advice is worth reading?
  • Lydia, shut up and just put the link in an email. If he doesn’t want to read it, he doesn’t have to.

So I closed my eyes and hit send. A little less than 24 hours later, I got the following response: “Thanks so much for this. Your piece is great and needed.”

I burst into tears. Seriously. I love being helpful, and I’m so glad that, in my own small way, I was able to provide something both great and needed even if it wasn’t perfect and even if it wasn’t solicited.

Thank you all for reading my blog. And if you find any of it helpful, please let me know in the comments or by sending me an email. I hope that, in a small way, I can provide something of value to each of you, and I really appreciate knowing that I have. It’s what feeds my work.

Much love to all of you.

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