You learn an awful lot about yourself and others when you have cancer – some good, some bad, but mostly somewhere in-between.
About yourself, you learn how you handle adversity. Sure, most of us ‘of a certain age’ have had to face adversity before, but it’s the usual devastating rounds of death, accidents, and other tragedies. It doesn’t usually involve having to face the possibility of one’s own (possibly imminent) death.
So that’s one fun thing for you.
You learn how little really, really does matter in life. Not the things one accumulates, for sure. Not where you live, what you do, how you look. Not if you have hair, or don’t. Not if you have two breasts, or don’t.
You learn things about others, too, some of which might surprise you. Who can still look you in the eye, and touch you, even when they find out you are have this horrible disease. Which person doesn’t mind you sharing your fears, and which would rather pretend it doesn’t exist. (I understand both those feelings, but obviously it’s easier for me when I can talk to people about my cancer, and even laugh about it – but please don’t feel bad about yourself if you find yourself in latter category.
I have found that the little things people do for me can make me cry (but so many things do on a bad day!). How the most surprising people will offer a hand, and some you think will …. don’t.
A neighbour offers a hand dog-sitting on those long chemo days. A lady I’ve only met once sends me TV shows to while away my ‘chemo fug’ days. Another friend makes me some baldy head coverings, to keep my head warm. I’m offered homemade ginger biscuits to tempt my appetite, and an offer to do my ironing or clean my house – if only she knew how seldom I do either of those things! 🙂
It reminds me that at the start of this journey, I was told that cancer changes you in many ways. Even though I’m only part-way through this, I can see that that is right – and that the change can be very enlightening.