Seven words on cancer

Family:

They say blood is thicker than water and it’s easy to see why. My family trudge every step of this path with me no matter how challenging. My Dad remains a rock despite the fact that he’s encountered the journey far too many times before and with no happy ending. My Mum would’ve done likewise if cancer hadn’t robbed her of her life at such an early age. M, J and S remain positive, future-focused and encouraging. They all believe I’ll still be here in 30 years and that’s a wonderful vision to hold on to.

Medics:

These people are amazing. The surgeons, oncologists, sonographers, anaesthetists and nurses are skillful, compassionate and dedicated. Behind the scenes there’s a whole community including  histopathologists, biomedical scientists, pharmacists and nutritionists to name but a few.  They’re the driving force behind cancer care and cancer research. Many of us would not be here without them.

Invincible: 

We like to think we are and then we find we’re not. Deep down I’ve always been acutely aware of the fragility and vulnerability of all life on our beautiful blue planet, including my own. I spent 35 years attempting to ignore this until cancer provided an uninvited reality-check. So now I know I’m not invincible but I also know I’m more robust – physically, mentally and spiritually – than imagined.

Friends: 

Whatever the weather some friends will weather the  storm with you. They’ll offer to do things for you (or do things anyway because they know you’re too proud to ask), they’ll help put you back together when you’re in pieces and remind you of all the reasons you need to hold on. Other friends will abandon ship. The wife of a friend explained this to me when I was first diagnosed and I thought her judgement somewhat harsh at the time. We stand by our friends when they’re sick or dying don’t we? I owe her an apology and at the same time I give thanks to the all-weather friends who opted to stay with me.

Health:

Must never be taken for granted. Fit and in the prime of life one day, nose-to-nose with death the next, the turnaround is quite a shock. When the shock subsides a subtle awareness of the uphill journey from illness to wellness begins to dawn and the distance seems so vast. It’s also full of boulders and sinkholes.  I never loved my body but I didn’t hate it, even though it was pre-destined to let me down. As a receptacle for my soul it continues to serve it’s purpose and I’m grateful for that. But it doesn’t feel like me anymore and for however long I’m here, I’ll never be able to trust it again.

Time:

Does not last an eternity. It passes in the blink of an eye and once its gone it can’t be revisited.  Time is too precious to waste so life-changing events shouldn’t be the catalyst for this vital life-lesson. If the art of valuing time was taught in high school,  future adults might stop deluding themselves that they have all the time in the world, plenty of years ahead and are guaranteed to reach a ripe old age. Write all the time related clichés you know on a piece of paper and safely set fire to it. See how quickly it burns?

Death:

We all die. From the day we’re born it’s a one-way ticket and a completely natural part of the circle of life. Developing cancer makes death impossible to overlook and also brings the very real possibility that it will arrive much sooner than anticipated. There’s no getting away from this, no amount of worrying or soul-searching can change the shape of things to come. All I could do was find a way to live with it and in doing so savour every second of every minute of life in this very moment.

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11 thoughts on “Seven words on cancer

  1. My iPad is making me a worse and worse correspondent. I read this (using a mobile) on the day you posted and meant to comment later on when I was near a real keyboard. I am basically useless when it comes to the onscreen things whether they’re small (phone) or big (iPad). That said, what I meant to say then was that I’m pretty sure you hit all of the big words, save for one–perseverance; a word that’s useful even at the best of times but even more so here in this context.

    That said–you’ve covered off that thought nicely in your most recent post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too Maurice… The iPad drives me nuts, doesn’t always play nicely with WordPress (or others for that matter) and autocorrects words into complete gobbledegook on a regular basis. We shall both persevere with our mobile devices and I’ll keep going on the health front too 🙂

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

  3. Hi Tracy,
    What a wonderful post. It really resonates. This part really struck me, “As a receptacle for my soul it continues to serve it’s purpose and I’m grateful for that. But it doesn’t feel like me anymore and for however long I’m here, I’ll never be able to trust it again.” I feel the same and I have finally realized I am allowed to feel grief and gratitude at the same time, despite societal messages to the contrary. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about these seven words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Nancy. There is a lack of understanding about the grief/gratitude situation we find ourselves in and how confusing it can feel. There is still much to learn about the psychological impacts of cancer, as well as the physical.

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  4. Write all the time related clichés you know on a piece of paper and safely set fire to it. See how quickly it burns?

    Beautifully said. I am going to remember this quote for as long as possible. [See, I’m learning already.]
    Ω

    Liked by 1 person

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