Every cancer survivor remembers the day they were told they had the "c" word. That news trips a deluge of emotions. It starts with denial, and the belief that it's all a dream, and it can't be happening. The rest of that particular appointment with your doctor is a blur. If you are alone, you will not remember a thing. It's like a film running in slow motion.
As soon as you get safely away from the doctor's office........in other words, out of ears reach, and preferrably with nobody else around, you break down in tears. You ask yourself, how could this be happening to me at this time in my life? To be very honest, there's never a good time in your life for this to happen, but that's besides the point. The drive home is a mixture of disbelief, and a deep rooted sorrow mixed with tears.
But you need to somehow get it together, because you have loved ones waiting for you, and you will have to share the bad news.
A few days go by, and you find yourself in another mindset. You're angry.........very angry. Now you're wondering why me? You question what lesson you need to learn, and why it had to be in such a drastic way. There HAS to be a variety of different ways a message could be learned without going through THIS! This is also when you start going back down memory lane. Think, think think.......... Were there signs that I didn't pay attention to? Was I tired? Why didn't my mammogram show anything? After all, I did get a baseline mammogram at age 35, and started regular ones when I was 40.
And this is where you reach the fork in the road. Each cancer survivor has their own particular journey, complete with a variety of emotions and personal experiences. Everyone gets to this particular fork in the road, though. It's the one where you make a choice. You believe, or you don't. You be confident and move on, or you give up.
For anyone who has been following my blog for the past several months, you know what decision I made. I chose to believe. I chose to live for so many reasons.
But not everybody has that fortitude. Maybe some patients get to that fork in the road, and don't have the emotional strength to go where they want to go. It's not always that easy. A quote I read on twitter this morning, on MyHopeSpace, said "Everyone has hope, but sometimes it takes a special person to help you find it". A special person may be the reason a patient chooses his/her path to recovery.
Contrary to what many people may think, it doesn't take much. A patient going through cancer treatments, doesn't necessarily want to be doted on constantly. Sometimes a hug is enough. Hugs are powerful. They prove to the recipient that you love and care for them. They provide protection and safety. They can transfer hope, and the knowledge that you are there to provide support. All without saying a thing.
For the people out there that have a friend or loved one who is fighting cancer, and don't quite know what to say or do........don't worry so much about whether you are saying or doing the wrong thing. Don't stay home, or not call because you are so afraid of the whole situation, and feel awkward. Give that person a hug. That hug will mean everything, and could make the biggest difference of all.