This article originally appeared in our 2011 newsletter. Matt Nelson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010. He wants you to know he wouldn’t have survived without the love, generosity and expertise of the people at weSPARK. Matt lives in Studio City with his wife and two daughters.
By Matt Nelson
I recently got diagnosed with cancer — that’s the easy part. After the doctor told me I had a significant amount of cancer in my prostate, I did my homework. I spoke to friends who have had prostate cancer. I spoke to all the doctors. I went online a little bit. The decision to have surgery was pretty clear so I chose a surgeon and scheduled a date. Like I said, that was the easy part.
Far harder, has been navigating all of you. That’s right, all of you — navigating your reactions and your comments after hearing I have cancer. There’s the Over-The-Top-Cheerleader: “You can beat this, you can beat this!! My mother had ALL her organs removed and she’s still alive!!” One guy actually told me cancer is a fastball and I am going to hit the cancer fastball over the fence for a cancer homerun.
When I get one of these motivational speeches, that is the only time I am sure I am going to die. Or there’s the Funny Guy, the guy who thinks the right thing to do is break out his cancer humor. A friend of mine was at a children’s restaurant. Here’s the text message he sent me: “I’m at Chuck E. Cheese — the cancer of restaurants.” I didn’t laugh.
Or there’s the Interrogator: “What stage is it? What stage is it? Are you going to die? Do they give you odds? Has it spread? Is it all throughout your body? What’s the surgery like? Do they cut you open? What kind of scalpel do they use? Are you scared, are you scared, are you scared?”
Actually, no. I wasn’t that scared until you CONVINCED me to be scared. And I wasn’t thinking about the odds of my dying. But I am now. So thank you for putting that thought into my head. So what does that leave? What is left to say to the person who has been recently diagnosed with cancer?
Well… allow me demonstrate: “I’m really sorry. That’s crappy news. I believe you can get through this. Is there anything I can do to help?”
This week we’re talking about cancer….specifically the good, the bad and the ugly around advice, love and support. Check us out on social media all week (June 11th – 16th) for more info! weSPARK Cancer Support Center is located in Los Angeles and offers completely FREE programs, workshops, classes and individual therapies to cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. Remember to take a look at our monthly program schedule for more information about the services we offer.
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