My friend has Stage 4 cancer

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    This is my first time posting and I am in need of advice.

    My friend, whom has been a big part of my life since 2005 was diagnosed with Stage 4 Throat Cancer.

    Even though I know him so well, I have a very hard time putting together the right words of support.  At times he has made remarks that he does not anyone to pity him.  In fact, he calls my mom more than he calls me.

    His mother passed away in 2006 and his father passed away in 2015.  So, himself and his sister are basically family, my mom has even told him that we love them and they are family to us.

    I would greatly appreciate some advice as how I can be supportive to him without him thinking that I feel sorry for him.


    Thanks for reading




















    Dear Daliya,

    You wrote about finding it difficult to put together words of support. Maybe what would be useful is not words of support but supportive actions like helping with day to day tasks or giving company for appointments or taking care of any other details that you can for him.

    What is the type of communication that you had with him before? Is it reasonable to continue a similar kind of communication given the changed situation. You can have a word with your mother about what he communicates with her. That too can give you leads on what you can do.




    Dear Daliya:

    What if you tell him how you feel, the truth of how you feel just as it is, but express yourself in a contained way, that is, say the words that are true to you but not while crying, or losing control and saying whatever comes to your mind. Say what is true in a dignified way. Does that make sense to you?




    That’s wonderful advice, however he moved to a different state.

    I have sent him cards, ones that brighten up his day.  The only type of communication we have is over the phone.

    He is an alcoholic, which makes matters worse because this is a whole different ball game.

    He has been drinking, his doctors can’t give him chemo when he has been drinking.

    He uses alcohol to deal with the pain, mentally and physically.  He has been hospitalized at least 5 times because he gets drunk to the point of unconsciousness.

    A couple months ago he got married to a woman from a different country, she doesn’t understand the severity of his alcoholism.

    It’s a very sad situation, he has a feeding tube, when he talked to my mom yesterday he kept telling her that he can’t wait to come up here and have her make Italian food for him.

    It’s such a sad situation.











    That does make sense to me.  I do tell him that I can’t even imagine what he’s going through.

    My dad passed away from cancer in 2016.  He fought so hard, he was a very proud man and I could talk to him truthfully.  My father and I had a very special bond though.

    I was the only person in my family that he could cry to.

    I am a very good listener, but when it comes to expressing my feelings I don’t know how.








    Hi Anita,

    We have spoke before, thank you for listening, I didn’t mean to stop writing to you.

    I found out about my friends cancer shortly after that.  I was in such shock that I didn’t want to think about my friend so I only talked to my mom and his sister about the situation.

    I wasn’t ready to share my feelings with anybody but them.

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