A man holds a glowing heart in his hand, surrounded by letters and cards that connect him to others.

The Power of Connection

When dealing with a cancer diagnosis or in my case and possibly yours -- prostate cancer -- chances are that the last thing on your mind is the power of connection. Most guys just want to crawl into the man cave turn on the widescreen TV and disappear.

A little connection, meditation, and prayer in hard times

Before you bolt for the remote take a few minutes to consider what you could be missing. I call it CMP or Connection, Meditation, and Prayer. I know the last word often sends men running for the hills. But just know I am not talking about going to church or running off to some magic healing getaway in the middle of nowhere where folks eat strange foods and claimed to be “cured.”

It's about opening your mind and listening

Nope. This is all about opening your mind to some new possibilities when you face an unexpected health challenge. It begins by listening especially when your phone rings unexpectedly and someone says they heard the news and were thinking about you. Or you open your mail and find a handwritten note saying we are thinking of you. You may find a few folks who will say, “we are praying for you.” If you take the time to listen, a funny thing begins to happen. Your sense of isolation begins to disappear, and you slowly begin to realize that there are a lot of people on your side and many are pulling for you in the best way they know how.

These days for many it is not cool to be into the God thing after all we are all too sophisticated and way too busy with other important things and distractions. But cancer really does not care about your priorities or views.

Actions speak louder than words

I will say the first few 'get well' cards were nice. Then more and more came. Slowly I began to realize the power of connection. Who would have thought that a handwritten note that just says we are thinking of you could make such a difference? Now rather than losing yourself in mindless entertainment and meaningless distractions available on social media and the internet try to spend a few minutes just relaxing and clearing your mind of baggage.

People often ask me what do you say to someone who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer or any serious disease? If you are like most folks you do not know what to say. Saying something like, call me if you need something just puts more pressure on the patient. Do you really think he will call you at 9 AM and ask you to make soup for the family tonight? Why? Amid the overwhelming concerns that often surround a diagnosis, the last thing on my mind is to think about my needs and then hope you will not be offended or put off by my request for help.

Say thank you and return the favor

So, having survived cancer twice and now having the fun of fighting a new form of it in my life, the best thing to say to a prostate cancer patient may be - we are thinking about you. If you are so motivated it’s even better to say, "Is it ok if we drop off some beef stew and salad for your dinner tonight?"

When it happens, say thanks and meditate a bit on your life. Then think how you can return the favor to someone else who also may be in need.

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