Whitman Was Right

“There is something in personal love, caresses, and the magnetic flood of sympathy and friendship, that does, in its way, more good than all the medicine in the world.”

Walt Whitman on his experience in the wards of wounded civil war soldiers.

When I heard that phrase “magnetic flood of sympathy and friendship”, it took me back to how many of my friends, and even friendly aquaintances, rallied to me and helped me weather this illness/diagnosis. Magnetic, that’s what it was. I’ve written this before, but I think it needs repeating: ask for what you want, ask for what you need, ask for help. Please don’t let pride or embarrassment, feeling vulnerable or fear of imposing stop you from telling your loved ones, your friends, what you need, what you want. I understand that not everyone comes through, that you may feel disappointment with some people. But brave that possibility, because no one will know what to do or how to help unless you tell then, unless you ask. Check out “We All Do It Differently” in the Attitude section. Now here’s a person who really asked for what she wanted. I bet your requests will seem very reasonable after watching that video. Maybe not as exciting though.😃




  1. Colorado Springs

    I read about your website in a recent issue of Spirituality & Health. I appreciate this site as it provides other perspectives to a cancer diagnosis and the many decisions of how to approach treatment (although I completely understand that you are not giving medical advice nor encouraging people not to seek medical treatment). My issue is not pancreatic cancer, but there is a lot on here that provides encouragement when dealing with any type of terminal illness. I have chosen to continue quality of life as I have it, and am looking for resources/personal accounts in that vein. I am so glad to come upon this website and I look forward to reading more, as well as accessing the other resources you list (I just finished Randy Pausch’s very moving and generous blog via the link you listed). I was glad to see a post from yesterday (the quote above) which tells me the site is still active. Thank you for doing this! It provides immeasurable comfort to people like me who otherwise feel very alone in this journey!

  2. oncology MD

    This is wonderful, Claire. I am an oncologist and I am very interested in how to help people heal themselves beyond what I can offer them (not pleasant stuff usually)… I am not sure all can be as brave as you have been. Thank you for sharing, I will direct my patients to your website if they wish to explore. I also read about your website in S&H.

  3. Wendy

    I love that an oncologist is reading this website and open to sharing it with his/her patients. I have mets stage 4 cancer and I would love to have such an open minded Doctor. Thank you Claire for your influence.

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