Have you ever encountered this? Friends with whom you are able to chit-chat, interact, joke and just plain have a relaxed conversation discover you have cancer. Have you noticed how some shut down and don’t know what to say? They become a bit distant and silent?

How do you handle it? Suggestion: Put your friend at ease. Talk about your cancer.

Change the subject? I don’t think so.

Let your friends know it’s OK to talk about your cancer. Ask for their support and prayers. Put them at ease. One might even consider joking about it.

Be well
- Joe

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About the Author

Joe Vitale was born on a mini-farm in Waukesha County to Italian immigrant parents in 1938, and spent most of his life in and around Waukesha. He attended Catholic schools in the city, graduating from Catholic Memorial High School, and went to Carroll College in his undergraduate years. He had a career in education that spanned nearly four decades, starting out as a teacher and, after postgraduate work, becoming an administrator in the School District of Waukesha. He was a curriculum director in environmental education and later a principal. He was diagnosed in 2007 with myxofibrosarcoma. "My good fortune of being cancer free has helped me realize how fragile we are," Joe says. "The past five years I have been actively involved with the Sarcoma Support group, now the Cancer Support Group and the Sarcoma Event Day ... I have been extremely fortunate with my outcome and hence the time to pay back."