Aug 08, 2012 - 12:31 pm
Lessons I've learned from cancer...
This letter is being written to you from an advocate's perspective. I've learned many lessons along my journey as a caregiver, cheerleader and supporter and patient. These lessons have changed me for the better. You've caused worry, stress, anxiety, heartache and I refuse to let you control my emotions any longer. I never imagined the destruction and chaos you could cause until I entered into your vicious world filled with turbulence and terror.
I've learned that you not only affect the me but you affect my loved ones, our friends and families. You are ruthless and can often take matters to the extreme. I witnessed my mother and father with lung cancer. You were very mean to them. They lost the battle but I'm still here to fight their fight and advocate for them. As my wife Debbie and I enter into our second year of my fight with kidney Cancer we vowed not to allow you to win. It's not all about you.
I've learned that I shouldn't let my guard down because you are sneaky and hide out waiting to attack again without notice. Have you ever considered the aftermath of your damage? How you've drained people not only of their emotions and strength but you've also exhausted their life savings. You have no clue, do you? You just set out on a mission to destruct and try your best to succeed. I applaud the survivors who beat you. They kicked you to the curb...did it hurt? I hope so.
I've learned that we should expect the worst but always hope for the best with each new test, exam, xray and doctor visit. It's also important to make memories along the way because we never know what will happen from one day to the next. Support teams are crucial. Whether they are family members or support groups discovered elsewhere. Accepting life one day at a time is mandatory. There will be good days and bad days. Relish the good days and learn from the bad days.
I've learned that during a cancer crisis you truly find out who your friends and family members are. Some people are just truly clueless and fear you! I used to fear you, I don't anymore. I just detest you, that's simpler for me to do. There's no point in complaining to others, or whining or saying "why me" because no one really wants to hear it. Sympathy actually makes a person weak. Instead I've learned to nudge victims of yours forward and remind them to hold their head high. It's vital to have patience with cancer patients. You might be trying your best to take them down, but I bet you didn't expect someone like me to bring them right back up. Yes, you have some competition, are you feeling a bit inadequate?
I've learned to embrace the small miracles. The tiniest bit of hope is always welcome and appreciated. Each day that we arise (even though you are festering in someone's body) it's still a gift that you could never take away! I've never heard one nice thing about you. Not one. You suck, is my favorite thing and I hear that quite often.
I've learned to always ask questions. There are no silly questions! Doctors might think they have all the answers but no one knows your body better than you do. Yes, cancer even you don't have the upper hand at times. There are new medicines available every day that can whip your ass. Maybe the doctor isn't aware of them yet and I could teach him something new to help another patient. I bet you don't want us to know all the updated potential cures but guess what we have access to many new updates. Google rocks, but you suck!
I've learned that we should always take a family or friend to each appointment. No matter how much strength the patient says they have, an extra set of ears is extremely important. While the patient speaks with the doctor, the team mate could take notes in a journal. A detailed journal is crucial. I have supplied information to doctors before they even received it in their personal file. Yes, they were a bit shocked, but doctors only have so much time allotted per patient, I'm their helping hand.
I've learned to appreciate the medical workers. The nurses, techs and PA's. They are human. They are usually working in an understaffed environment and might seem a bit frazzled at times. I go out of my way to make them feel appreciated with a compliment or a smile. I've witnessed them being yelled at by stressed out patients and rushing doctors for something that wasn't even their fault. I place myself in their shoes and treat them as I'd want to be treated. Hey cancer...not even you could make me become a bitter, hateful person! The more damage you cause the more strength I obtain to help others fight you! Did I mention that you suck?
I've learned to listen and to learn from other cancer patients journeys. First of all I'm thankful for the survivors who are still around to share their survival stories and help me so that I could help others. Their stories inspire me to inspire others. Their stories give me hope to pass on hope to others. Victims continue to fight you daily, your strength is weakening.
I've learned to laugh more. Mostly at you! Like "in your face" kind of laugh. For a while you robbed me of my humor but it came back with a venegenance! It's a gift that I share with others who need a laugh. Laughter is therapeutic. Sure there are days when I don't feel like laughing, but I do my best to find a reason just to irritate you. Humor is truly the best medicine. For the record, you are pond scum.
I've learned that cancer sucks! Yes, you suck! It would be nice if you could just slither away never to return, but you aren't going to do that because you enjoy the attention. You cause so much heartache, but you don't care. What bothers me the most is how you could attack small defenseless children who never had a chance in life. These innocent, beautiful souls fight you with valor which amazes me. The strength and determination of all cancer patients amaze me. I've witnessed patients and their loved ones sitting for hours while receiving chemo treatments. Some would sleep and some would laugh yet they all have a bond. YOU! Little by little the wonderful world of medicine is beating you, they are taking you down to your knees! Before you know it you will be history. Just dust in the wind. We won't say R.I.P. On a final note...You SUCK!