|Listen to Hazel's interview|
"If you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, just get you some hugs, get a lot of hugs. If you can get some hugs first, that gives you the strength to go on and start this fight. You may cry, but if you get enough hugs, enough so that laughter comes in, they tell us that makes the endorphins change. And when the endorphins change, they start fighting the cancer cells before you even get started. So my body goes to acting silly – get me a funny video, movie, something, it’s time to laugh! Almost everybody, people who never laughed before – make them laugh, their endorphins change right before your eyes.
"Everybody that really knows me, they support me whether I talk to them, whether we see each other or not. And if I don’t talk to them, in a little while, they want to know what the problem is. What I want them to know is that I love them dearly. The friends I really love, we can just hold hands. Just look at each other and giggle. We don’t have to say one word. It’s amazing! But when we do, we never offend each other, regardless. If one of us makes a mistake and cusses – which I’m usually the one – it’s okay.
"I grew up where there was talk of racism all the time. Now I just don’t see things that way anymore. Some of my prejudices have changed since cancer. Because cancer somehow made everything colorless. It’s not color blind, it’s color-less. We have a writing group with cancer people, and in that group there’s so many different cultures. I’m beginning to see things, since cancer, as different, everybody’s okay.
"Patience, cancer has taught me how to be patient, how to see things a different way. I changed my views on death because I’m not afraid anymore. Cancer has made me look at everything that happened to me in life different. Everything.
"Cancer teaches you, if you listen. And most of us start listening."