Ask Dr. Giles: I worry I’m not showing friends and family appreciation.

Lina asks:

Even though I have the most amazing awesome support of friends and family who are giving me all the love and support, emotionally and financially, I wonder why I feel depressed at times and simply want to burst into tear. Am I doing enough chemo to tell my friends and family that I am trying to fight this with everything I’ve got? Am I staying positive and optimistic enough? They are saying don’t worry about it Lina, just be you and we are here for you. They take care of everything and anything. I just have to ask. Can you believe it? Anyway, I think that was a three fold question. Thank you for your time and God Bless You. Regards and best wishes, Lina


To battle cancer is to undertake an extremely personal and individualized campaign.  When I think of a person newly diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, I picture him or her as a new gladiator stepping onto the floor of the coliseum for the first time.  I see them as alert and wide-eyed, cautiously taking in their surroundings and trying to figure out what to do next.  They may have family and friends cheering and shouting encouragement, but the gladiator is the only one on the battlefield.  Everyone else must watch from the stands.

It can be overwhelming to think that you must go “one-on-one” with this despicable disease.  It’s enough to make anyone feel depressed, worried, and want to cry.  But that’s OK.  It means you are engaged in the process.  It means you appreciate the gravity of your situation.

Accept your periodic trepidation as normal and part of the overall process of facing the unknown.  I’m sure even experienced gladiators were sometimes worried or nervous, wondering if they had done enough to prepare.  Remember that being a little nervous is a good thing.  It means you are primed and ready to engage the challenge.  Have confidence in your instinct to survive.  Have confidence in the love and support of those around you.  Have confidence in the fact that hundreds of doctors, patients, and loved ones are engaged in the same campaign and are part of the family found here at  We love you and are hoping for the very best for you.