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Jun 2022

What to do with all that good advice

What to do with all that good advice

A wise woman once told me, “Use the advice that’s useful to you and put the rest in the bin.”

Diagnosis with Mesothelioma can feel helpless and without hope even to those in-directly affected.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling to deal with, sometimes motivating people to want to try and “fix it”.

Well-meaning platitudes and ‘helpful’ advice can often become a source of irritation to those coming to terms with altered futures. Magical cures abound, ignored by the specialists working every day towards life-extending treatments, but thankfully discovered by your neighbour’s friend in the deep recesses of the internet. Apricot kernels, cherrys’, special diets, and healing vibrations captured in the clay of hidden pools when the moon is full; appear to offer complication-free alternatives to proven interventions.

Suggestions are made with love to provide hope. But at their core are often unhelpful, sometimes dangerous, and only hide the painful reality of this diagnosis. “Helpers” can become defensive when advice is rejected, adding extra stress to those already dealing with a devastating diagnosis. “I was only trying to help” often translates as “I’m scared I don’t know what to do.”

You are not responsible for making other people feel better.

Your job is to prepare yourself and your loved ones candidly for the challenges ahead. It may appear selfish, but you have full permission to play the “cancer card”. 

Learning to adapt to this ‘new normal’ can evoke anxiety and isolation. Contemplating a loss of health, independence, income, intimacy, and the future uses a lot of emotional energy. And that’s before you consider the physical effects of the disease itself, treatments, or side effects. Feeling overwhelmed and guilty only drains energy further.

Excuse yourself from environments and commitments that deplete you. Prioritising time for people and activities that add value and setting boundaries that maximise enjoyment and minimise effort add to the vital richness of life.

So flex the card and press play on a prepared reply, “I appreciate your intention, but I’d prefer to talk about… (something less boring)… instead. Then revel in the power of not having to listen to unsolicited advice ever again.

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