I so wanted her to live, but it was not to be.
Every day I came to sit beside her hospital bed, hoping against hope. My funny, lovely grandmother had contracted cancer; in 1973, little treatment other than surgery was available. She succumbed at the age of sixty-two.
Decades later, I have passed that age and seen cancer affect my friends and family too often. Research and new treatments have allowed many to beat cancer away, but others have not been so lucky. And the treatment remains a kill-or-cure option. Those who travel the road of chemotherapy, radiation, and medication toward recovery are often saddled with debt, despair, and loneliness along the way.
Some people say if they were to be diagnosed with cancer, they would forego all treatment. While I believe it is a human quality to “rage against the dying of the light,” I also know how demoralizing cancer treatment can be. As friends or family of those stricken with cancer, we should give our full support to them, whichever route they choose.
One of the saddest stories I’ve heard was from an acquaintance who had beaten breast cancer. She said that, after receiving the heart-stopping diagnosis, she called her best friend to tell her about it. The friend cut her off, saying she could not “deal with it.” I could not imagine how devastating that would be.
Granted, it can be difficult to hear that a loved one has a potentially terminal disease; but the same could happen to anyone. How would I handle hearing the words you have cancer? I have witnessed people battle through with courage, grace, and dignity. I would hope to do the same. This is what I would want from those I know; this is what I try to do for those who are suffering from the deadly disease:
· Let me talk. Even if I rant and rave, cry and scream, just listen. I need you there.
· Don’t cut me off or forget about me. A text saying “Thinking of you. Hope you’re having a good day” can bring light to a dark day. A funny card or little gift can brighten the mood. Cancer treatment is a long tough process; don’t let me give up.
· Finally, if the prognosis doesn’t get better, don’t lie to me. Don’t tell me it will all be fine. Just stay with me, hold my hand, be my friend to the end.
I wish everyone a cancer-free life.
OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.
Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction antholgy BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.