Here are some random thoughts about cancer in general and and what I think I have observed in my own nine years of surgery, recovery, and chemo. Those who have been riding that tiger formany years surely have a sense of its presence that is different from the sense with which those with fewer years' experience regard it.
It occurs to me that when cancer first is diagnosed that it is a challenge to know that the illness is cancer. Some can't even say the word for a few months. Some become angry and feel that they have been betrayed, because they think that they don't deserve to be saddled with that monster. Some have expressed anger at God for permitting them to have cancer. Some have told ...view middle of the document...
One important thing it does, it permits the patient to be "more treatable" than a person who chooses to remain uninformed, or a person who is in denial. The process of learning has not ended for me since my first diagnosis and due to the changing knowledge that is available, it probably won't end in the foreseeable future.
It impresses me that the first time a medicine or a medical procedure is tried it is not perfect. We all benefit from those who have preceded us in the cancer journey before we were diagnosed, and those who come after us will be benefited by our experience. This is true both from the medical standpoint and from the patient's understanding of the nature of the disease and how to manage it. Neither we, nor our physicians are to be held accountable for perfection.
In the cancer experience, learning about other people, their fears, strengths and concerns is a continuous process. Just learning about them gives us a sense of compassion for them, and helps us relate to them in a way in which only humans are capable. We don't shoot our wounded. We try to comfort and strengthen them. In some way which I don't understand we take on their hurts in such a way that they are made easier for the ones who are suffering. It isn't a masochistic manipulation of the relationship, but an opening of communication that says we understand. That consciousness of understanding gives strength to others without weakening ourselves. I believe it really makes all involved stronger.
In the process of learning all we can about our disease, all we can about others and their problems with cancer, we begin to learn more about ourselves. We learn that we have capabilities that we did not know existed. We have become, because of cancer and our associations with others in the same boat, equipped to comprehend some things that we were not equipped to comprehend before our diagnosis and before our association with other cancer patients. I have said more than once to friends, that I am not foolish enough to be thankful for cancer, but I am thankful for some of the lessons it has taught me. I think I know myself better now than I did nine years ago when I was diagnosed. Thankfully, I truly believe I am a better person in some ways. My physical condition is considerably less desirable than it was before I was first diagnosed, but my spiritual dimension has grown.