Sunday, July 1, 2018

What NOT to Say to Your Friend With Cancer (Podcast)

I guess I have been writing this blog since around 2013. Five years is a long time to spend on a blog of a few hundred words. Right? That's because I reluctantly became a cancer Griot after my first diagnosis of a rare sarcoma (GIST) in 2012. I bounced back as best one can with the constant audio of falling mortars in the back of your mind. I know it's hard to understand how someone can grocery shop or celebrate a birthday in a war torn country, but I get it. You adapt. You alternate placing one foot six inches in front of the other. And you move forward. I used to tell people "it gets better with time." It doesn't. It only "gets easier" as does anything with repetition.

But you are not reading this for my story. You want to know what to say to your mother, father, BFF, colleague, or FaceBook friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Each year, over 12 million people in the world are diagnosed with cancer. The National Cancer Institute published this startling statistic recently, "In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease." Chances are you know one of those people very well.

Those of us caught in the eyewall of this malignant cyclone really need the emotional and physical support of the 7 billion people who don't have cancer more than we need better diets, meditation, and targeted immunotherapy. Without you, the reason for our reason, we cannot make the changes in our minds that make the changes in our body to win the epic fight against ourselves.

I have had 100's of people give me advice I never asked for about how to handle this diagnosis. Some of it was very helpful but some of it was incredibly hurtful. No, I can't speak for everyone but I've been a willing ear and an advocate for enough survivors to feel comfortable offering this advice on things you should avoid saying to someone with cancer:

  1. "Do you have a family history of cancer?...Have you been around chemicals?...Were you a smoker? What is your diet like?" or anything that may be construed as "you brought this on yourself". Even if I did, I'd rather hear it from the oncologist than my friend.
  2. "Disease is caused by sin...You need to repent." As said by the same people who brought you, God is love. After someone's foundation has been shattered, this sounds a lot like "God hates you". That may not be what you mean but that's what it feels like. I suggest you skip the "sinner" part and go straight to "God loves you". People need to be receptive to difficult messages and, well intended though you may be, condemning a person in anguish may push them farther into a depressed state. If you are Christian and inclined to share a scripture, consider John 9: 1-5.
  3. "Don't talk about it...Don't say 'I have cancer' because you attract negativity." For a person newly diagnosed with cancer, putting a sentence together is an act of sheer courage. The choice of pronouns or grammar, in general, is not high on the list of things we care about. This is a conversation that needs to take place because being positive and hopeful is essential to recovery. I preferred the gifts of audio books and paperbacks (#Dodie Osteen's book is a MUST) which conveyed the same message from a faceless third party with the same experience. And, I needed to talk about it and talk about it and talk about it for two years until I got to the point where it wasn't the start and end of my every thought. I could not keep all that confusion, rage, and heartbreak in my head. I am so grateful for the patient people who let me talk until I reached this place where I can help others.
  4. "The same thing happened to my friend's sister (insert long, detailed story that ends abruptly when you realize that other person died and now you don't quite know what to say." Just think it through 'til the end before you share someone else's cancer experience. If it did not end well, keep that yourself. Survival against all odds stories are better.

It's been six years since I was originally diagnosed and I could go on but I hope this is enough to give you a bit of insight. There is no right or wrong because everyone's needs are different. My best advice is to let the person with cancer lead the conversation. When you respond, say as many positive things as you can over and over.

Lastly, please, please don't avoid your friend or family member because you don't know what to say. Honestly, a few of my friends did not communicate with me until I was well on the road to recovery (months after my diagnosis) and that's the excuse they volunteered without prompting. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that hurt me emotionally as much as the two surgeries. Match their courage to live with your courage to love out loud. I am ashamed to admit this truth but it was very hard to forgive them. I did but our relationship turned a few degrees below comfortable.

Most people don't know what to say. You don't have to talk. Show up. Hug. Be present. Be kind. Ask "What do you need from me?" Then, love us hard even when we are hard to love. Fear changes you.

Thank you for caring enough to read this blog. Please share it with someone else who is wondering what to say.


Check out this podcast episode!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dr. mOe's 10 Rules for Success (Self-Help)

In this podcast, Dr. mOe shares 10 practical and creative ways to live a more happy, productive, and fulfilling life by making yourself a priority. These strategies are excerpted from her latest book, "Success Is A Side Effect: Leadership, Relationships, and Selective Amnesia." Download your copy today on Google Books or Amazon! Follow her @drmOeanderson

Check out this podcast episode!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Andrew's World Radio Interview with Dr. mOe Anderson

Engaging, informative discussion on oral health's relationship to overall wellness and why this is important for both adults and children. Professor and former National Dental Association President, Dr. Kim Butler Perry and Dr. mOe Anderson discuss the devastating impact of oral health inequity on low income communities on Andrew's World Talk Radio.

Check out this podcast episode!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Self Publishing Guide for Aspiring Writers

Photo: Dallas Library Event Wtih Traditional and Self-Published Authors 2017

There is no better way to increase your brand awareness than writing a book. I know this from experience. I have been an author and journalist for almost 30 years. Six published books, 100's of articles, and several anthologies have my byline. My writing has led to a busy speaking career, coaching other speakers, back of the room sales at industry conferences whether I was speaking or not, and invitations to participate in major events where the intellectual exchange with other participants opened new, exciting doors for me. Writing is my oxygen. I remember not being a dentist but I do not recall exactly when I became a writer.

Another offshoot of my literary life is that people constantly approach me for advice on publishing their first book. Often, they have written a few or several chapters but they have no idea what to do next. I have published the traditional way with a publisher and I have self-published with my own company, TyMAC Books. The industry has changed so much since I started. You no longer need to write long proposals and wait several months for rejection letters from editors who "don't think you have an audience" meaning you are not famous already, like former political aide and reality star Omarosa famous (or infamous). To her and those risk adverse editors, I say, "Bye!"

You can self-publish a high quality e-book in a few months without a second mortgage or a second thought. My bandwidth is tight almost all the time, but I love to help others share in my addiction to words. Soooo, in 2011, I created this self-publishing quick start guide for a quick response to all the requests for advice from aspiring authors. I have updated it multiple times but the major steps to creation have not changed drastically.

DISCLAIMER: I can not possibly cover every step of self-publishing in a 4-page guide so you must take classes, read books on publishing, join writers' groups, attend workshops/classes, and seek professional advice (attorney, editor, cover design...) for a comprehensive understanding of the process. If you try to do it all yourself, it will look like it and you may end up with a bad contract you cannot extricate yourself from easily.

Good luck. Please post your comments and share this blog on your social media sites.

Follow me! @drmOeanderson

Monday, January 8, 2018

Run Oprah Run

Recently, media mogul, Oprah "Golden Touch" Winfrey made a speech during the Golden Globe Awards. As always, she was articulate, well prepared, and passionate in her delivery. She moved the audience and Twitterverse with her opinions on racial injustice, #metoo, and freedom of the press. It was quintessential Oprah. A quick YouTube search yields a treasure trove of her speeches of equal if not greater caliber. She said a lot but one sentence seems to have moved every news anchor to the edge of their seat. “I want all of the girls watching here now to know, that a new day is on the horizon," Oprah said in a tone that sounded both like a call to action and a threat. A threat to whom? I have no idea, but many pundits believe that Oprah is planning to run for President of the United States in 2020. So I guess it's a threat to anyone who dares oppose her.

I am very happy about her announcement for one reason. Finally, the media has something else to talk about! I am a news junkie but, lately, hearing the same thing on broadcast after broadcast has forced me to put on my reading glasses and find the "off" button on my remote. As Americans, we believe we have free speech and the news is fair and balanced unlike those countries where broadcasts are closely controlled. That's true theoretically but there has always been an editor or editorial team deciding which stories out of thousands of stories deserve to be shared with the general public. When we hear about collusion and Korea every news cycle it means news from other parts of the country and other parts of the world were kept from us. And when the news is always depressing, divisive and disastrous, it is not an accident--it is a programming decision.

There are good things and good people doing amazing things every where, every day.  Wouldn't you just love it if those "new day[s] on the horizon" routinely included stories about all the wonderful men and women who actually are making the world greater?


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Racism, Sexism, and Fear: Fight Back & Win! (Must Hear! Motivation)

Does all the news and negativity have you feeling like nothing you do will make a difference? Think again. Dr. mOe Anderson is a native Texan who has faced and overcome unimaginable odds against her including: racism, sexism, regionalism, and cancer. Take a few minutes to be educated and inspired by her words of encouragement. This is the time for YOU to make a difference!

Check out this podcast episode!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Don't Stop Listening Radio (Motivational)

Dr mOe believes one key to success is "stop trying to make a dollar and start trying to make a difference!" Dallas radio host KJ and Dr. mOe discuss this advice and much more during this fun and informative interview!

Check out this podcast episode!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Do You Have A Poker Voice?

Successful leaders learn to not only have a poker face but they also have a poker voice.

What does that mean?

It means that when they speak, they have learned to control the tone of their voice, the pace of their voice, and the content of their remarks so that it is difficult to gauge what they are thinking.  This gives them a distinct advantage because others cannot anticipate their actions or reactions.  It makes them appear more powerful and superior to ordinary people.

This is a critical skill for work and home: watch your body language.  Make sure it is consistent with your words.

After body language, watch your tone.  Try to keep it neutral at all times.  In the bestseller, The Forty-Eight Laws of Power, the authors assert that "An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings."

All of know at least one drama queen or drama king.  They love to yell and make a scene when they're offended.  While all of that screaming might make them feel better in the short term, in the long term it does nothing for their careers or their relationships.  I mean, how often can you give someone a piece of your mind before you run out of brain?

Dr. Richard Carlson makes a suggestion that I have found extremely helpful in dealing with difficult situations.  He says, "Before becoming defensive, take note of what is being said…Reacting in a defensive manner usually involves a knee-jerk or instantaneous reaction to something that is being said.  Someone makes a comment and you feel hurt.
Pause a moment and ask yourself these questions before you react.  "Does the comment make sense?  Is there an element of truth in it?  Can you learn something here? Or is the person simply being a jerk?"  (Don't Sweat The Small Stuff at Work, Hyperion 1998, p. 203-204)

If there’s something you can use, take it and run with it!


My First Published Book Was Controversial But Worth It

Friday, August 18, 2017

National Dental Association 2017 Presentation Excerpt

Need a professional chuckle? Click on this video excerpt from my recent presentation on managed care dental programs during the National Dental Association Conference in Dallas, Texas. If you are in a hurry, skip to 8.13 where I relay my first experience with the Employee Assistance Progam aka EAP.

Making the transition from serial entrepreneur to corporate America can be stressful. An important part of personal growth is developing a sense of humor! #successisasideeffect #needaspeaker?