Brian Mansfield is a writer for USA Today and was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 48.  Brian chronicles his life with cancer in a series of articles called, “My Semicolon Life.”

Brian says that asking, “What’s going to be the hard part for you?” is an important question to ask individuals who have cancer (or other serious illnesses).  He continues:

When I first went public with my diagnosis, everyone was asking:  How are you feeling? What can I do? What happens next?  These are all perfectly good questions.  However, one friend went right to the heart of the matter with this question:  What’s going to be the hard part for you?

“What’s going to be the hard part for you?”

It pushed my story ahead by passing the small talk and giving me the opportunity to express what concerned me most about my illness.  That was exactly what I had wanted to tell someone, even though I couldn’t have verbalized the question myself.  The diagnosis itself hadn’t shaken me like it does some people.  For me, the monster in the closet was the prospect of chemo.  I knew with chemo I’d feel bad, maybe look worse and might (or might not) be able to keep working.

Every cancer patient will have a different answer to this question, but the question is good for any of them.  If someone you know gets the diagnosis and you don’t know what to ask but want to look like you do, start with the question “What’s going to be the hard part for you?”

To download a free e-book on simple ways to care for the people in your life go to our post  titled 122+ Ways to Care Well.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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