Chrestotes: the quality of kindness.

Someone once told me a cancer diagnosis is the fastest way to find out who your friends are.  True friends will shine day and night while fakes become increasingly conspicuous by their absence. When your world shakes over twenty on the Richter scale another earth shattering revelation – you’ll be abandoned by people you care about – is almost as shocking as the diagnosis itself.  I remained open-minded and hopefully optimistic while chemotherapy dissolved more than just the cancer.

Three years on I’d love to report that my optimism was well placed, the advice proved invalid and all my friendships remain intact but I can’t.  I’d like to share an explanation for the disappeared friends but I can’t do that either because they evaporated into the ether like the crew of the Mary Celeste. I guess cancer is still too much for some people to deal with.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Aviary Photo_130718654939381437The other part of the prophesy – true friends will shine day and night – is equally true.

They shone, they shine and they keep on shining 🙂

I feel very fortunate to have true friends who are hugely supportive, thoughtful and encouraging.  They demonstrate all of the qualities of chrestotes: compassion, consideration, sympathy, humanity and kindness.

They’ve sent messages for a speedy recovery, cards, flowers and gifts. I am touched and overwhelmed by their continued kindheartedness and support and I feel extremely lucky to know such genuine, compassionate and beautiful human beings.

I’ve also received cards and good wishes from family friends – people who know of my trials and tribulations via my father and decided to lend their support. My hopeful optimism wasn’t entirely misguided because family friends, friends of friends and complete strangers have all proven amazingly kind.

Of course a post about kindness would be incomplete if I failed to mention my father.  For as long as I can remember he has devoted his life to help others yet his own life has been far from easy. A lesser person might have become peevish and resentful – my father isn’t.  Throughout the process of diagnosis, surgery, treatment, recovery, first prophylactic surgery, recovery, the recent second prophylactic surgery and this new period of recovery my father has been an inspiration – encouraging, supportive, wise and humorous (he has an excellent sense of humour and sometimes laughter really is the best medicine…)

The kindness shown by my family and true friends will never be forgotten. It buoyed me through some very difficult experiences and continues to inspire me on a daily basis. WP_20150320_010I am so very grateful to you all.

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9 thoughts on “Chrestotes: the quality of kindness.

    • Hello Liz, thank you for asking. I returned to work which was not quite as I had hoped, then had a week away in Scotland. I feel somewhat better now so am hopeful all will be well going forward. I hope you are doing well and life is treating you kindly.

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  1. Dearest Tracy. Thank you for the kind words and compliments. You now know, as your mother also found out, that true friends are far and few between. Many of your mothers life-long friends disappeared into the ether when she was diagnosed. In some ways, the loss of those ‘friends’ hurt her more than her illness. If anything appears to be true, it is that those people who receive a cancer diagnosis need all the support they can get. Those who receive such support seem to do better during and after treatment, both physically and mentally. I pass on my thanks also to all those, both far and near, who have taken the trouble to follow you and support you throughout this journey. My colleague ‘Tara’ who took the trouble to do the cross-stitch picture of the cat, always asks after you when we work together. She is approximately the same age you were when your mum was diagnosed and she too has had to deal with a cancer diagnosis in her mother. Fortunately, her mother received the same treatment regime you did and is now making a slow but steady recovery. I wish you and all those who follow you, long life and lasting happiness. With much love. Dad xxx

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    • Hello Dad, You are welcome and you ARE amazing 🙂 It’s funny how people disappear isn’t it and I understand how Mum must have felt. I also know it wouldn’t have corrupted her compassion for others because that wasn’t her. The people I’ve met through other blogs – cancer related or not – have often been more real than people I know in real life, though I am very fortunate to know some super people on and offline who’ve been hugely supportive, thoughtful and caring. It’s scientifically proven that anyone facing cancer need others to stick with them, stand by them and be present. But for some I think fear of the disease and an inability to commit in difficult situations makes them turn their backs. I’m sorry Tara has had to witness her Mum’s cancer and hope they both stay strong and healthy in future, it’s what we all hope for. With love always xxxx

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  2. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

    • I have a feeling the two of you would get along very well together, I sense you have many things in common, including being outstanding husbands and fathers with sharp minds and big hearts 🙂

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    • He is a saint and I’m very lucky to have such a compassionate man in my life. I’d rather have Dad and my few good friends – virtual and nearby – than an army of acquaintances. Sending you hugs Carolyn xoxox

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