You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really stop
to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself,
“I lived through this horror.
I can take the next thing that comes along.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Sitting in the oncologist office waiting room, I had some time to look around at all the other people there waiting patiently for their names to be called. I’ve done this before and I seem to do it every time I’m there. I smile at the others in the room, because I figure if you are here, then we’ve got a connection. Because let’s face it, there are plenty of other places to sit in this big ole world and I bet you wouldn’t choose the oncology waiting room to hang out in if you didn’t need to be there. Or if your loved one didn’t need to be there.
Cancer evens us out. Strange to say, right? But I find that those of us who have endured cancer find it easier to simply connect with someone else who has been in the same boat. It’s that common ground that we search for when we connect with someone else. By simply being in the same doctor’s office, we can pretty much bet we’ve got or had the Big C and we’re hoping to get better and stay healthy.
Cancer isn’t choosy. It doesn’t discriminate between races or genders. Old or young, it matters not. It comes in changing the lives of its patients and those who surround them. Cancer bonds people. Cancer breaks people down. Cancer divides. Cancer unifies. Cancer conquers some people and yet, there are others who conquer cancer. It’s an equal-opportunity disease for which there’s no cure, yet.
Cancer connects people in ways that they might not necessarily connect. The fear of death and the horror of cancer treatments, etc. give you a bird’s eye view of what you are truly made of and there’s no place for sissy’s with cancer. No matter with whom you talk, we’ve all had sleepless nights filled with worry and repeatedly question at every tumor marker test, if cancer has returned. Many of us have endured surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, blood tests, needles, being poked and prodded by countless professionals and staff. We’ve lost our hair, body parts and our dignity. But I’ve learned that we don’t lose our loving hearts, nor our need for comfort or our precious souls to cancer. It’s given me a new outlook on life. Sure cancer has weakened parts of my life, but it also strengthened me. It’s given me lessons on human nature that I would have never understood had I not endured the cancer. It’s made me appreciate the little things and be unafraid of dying. It’s changed my life in good and bad ways, but I try to concentrate on the good in my life at every turn.
What has cancer done in your life?