WHAT TO EXPECT: People react to cancer in different ways. Some people step up, do everything they can to help, and are totally there for you. Others freak out and totally disappear.

One of the benefits of cancer treatment is that it shows you who your real friends are. You will probably be surprised. You may get support from people you least expected it from.

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: It is amazing how a cancer diagnosis will pull people together. It will provide solid evidence that people really do care about you and are there for you when you most need them.


Provide updates for family and friends online: Family, friends, and neighbors all want to know how you are doing during the many months of treatment. You and your family won’t really have the time and inclination to answer a lot of calls and emails. People who really care might hesitate to intrude. Having a way to find out your status online works well for everyone.

There are a number of websites available which enable you to set up your own free blog during a health challenge. PostHope, CarePages, and CaringBridge are three of which we are aware.

If you are more tech savvy, WordPress is another possibility. Gary developed his own WordPress blog and wrote regularly using his own particular brand of humor. You can read these posts at:

We got a huge amount of support by reading the comments of our friends and relatives on Gary’s blog. That got us through many a grey day. For this reason alone, we strongly suggest you have an online presence.

Ask for and accept help and support: This is the time to call in the troops. You may need to ask for a favor. We hired a housekeeper after Gary’s surgery. Anne’s sister spent countless hours listening to her fears and worries. Neighbors who are nurses gave helpful perspective. A friend made a drugstore run. Neighbors brought food. You can’t do this alone.

Pray and accept prayers in whatever form they come: Gary is not a religious person, but he was grateful for the many prayers he received including prayers to God, to Allah, and to Mother Earth. He was on the prayer list of more than one denomination. And of course he was “in our thoughts and prayers” many times over.

Anne learned to surrender and pray for “the best possible outcome.” That is our prayer for you. May you have the best possible outcome from your stomach cancer treatment.