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  • Writer's pictureBurt Rosen

Ask away - I'm sick, not shy


For some reason, people are afraid to ask me how I am. Why? I am not sure.


It could be that they are trying to be considerate of me. To not make me think about the tough stuff. To let me lead in offering info. Or because they think it might make me sad.


But guess what, THAT'S NOT WHO I AM!!! I am a blabber mouth, the proverbial open book, the guy that doesn't get offended or put off by any question. I love to talk, I am not shy at all.


So, if you want to ask me anything at all, go for it! Here are some sample questions (any question is fine to ask, these are just thought starters):

  • So what's wrong with you anyway?

  • Is it bad?

  • How did you learn about your diagnosis? What was that like?

  • Who are your Drs? Do you like them? Are you getting 2nd opinions?

  • What does that diagnosis mean?

  • How are you dealing with the labels you now have (ie, having cancer)

  • How are you feeling mentally? Are you dealing with things ok or are you struggling? (A bonus is an offer to be a listener)

  • How are you feeling physically? What symptoms do you have?

  • What treatments are you doing? Are they working? Any thoughts as to why they are or aren't? What's next?

  • How's your family doing? Are they ok, it must be very tough on them.

  • How has all of this impacted you? What have you learned so far? Has this changed you? If so, how?

Hopefully, that helps and shows that I am fine with any question on any topic from anyone at any time. A lot of people in my position are happy to share. If you aren't sure if they are like me, just ask them! Don't tiptoe around us.


The strangest thing is that people will ask others how I am doing and not ask me. I am here and always available to update anyone who wants to listen. I have had people that have been with me, never asked me anything, yet have asked someone else in the room about how I am doing when I am not listening. Kind of nuts. "Active Caring", another phrase I just made up, is always welcomed.


I guess my last point is that if you don't want to ask, you shouldn't ask. You need to make sure that you are comfortable. But if there is anything inside of you that has a question, go for it. I ( and we -- some patients and caregivers) am not fragile and don't break easily!

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Rico Micallef
Rico Micallef
Apr 06, 2023

Burt when I was getting divorced, I was regularly asked how I was doing, and frankly I got tired of rehashing the same stuff all the time so eventually I would just say fine. Similarly, when my mother was in the hospital, the daily calls were a drain, so I started a daily email of what was going on, and when people inquired, I'd add them to my email list. I spent my mother's final month in the hospital with her, by the end there were probably 60+ people on the daily emails which I affectionately called Nurse Rico's blog. I would recount the previous day's activities, what my mum ate, if we walked around the hospital, who came t…


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Burt Rosen
Burt Rosen
Apr 06, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Rico! I love your emails! I am trying to do it with the blog and in tougher times we text too. Thanks for the thoughts!

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cwallace
Apr 05, 2023

Good morning, Burt! Thank you for your post about asking you questions; really helpful knowing the parameters. Soooo, I am curious as to what prompted you to seek out a medical eval that led to your diagnosis; ditto for your recommendations for pros in this field (for possible future reference).


I appreciate all your open and genuine posts updating us on how you're doing physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm of the "This is hard" (to not delude myself and in turn, not set myself up for a big fall) and "I don't know, but I'll figure it out" camp, which you seem to share.


How are you and your family doing? Although I've never met them, I think of your…


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Burt Rosen
Burt Rosen
Apr 05, 2023
Replying to

Hi!, first of all, thanks for reading my blog! It makes me so happy to see when people look at this stuff. The basic point of the post is no kid gloves are needed with me. Ask what you want when you want and how you want. I am un-offendable.


The way I got to my story is convoluted. There is one of my first posts or, if you are really bored, on the bottom of the resources page are links to my story that other people have published. Basically, I had horrible brain fog, went to the ER, got diagnosed with internal bleeding, got admitted to the hospital, got every type of scan imaginable and then they found masses…


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