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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When Cancer Sends You Running for Cover

I met a woman today while working out in the pool. We'll call her June. She is a 47 year old woman who has survived 3 different types of cancer.

Her story touched me because my husband is going through chemotherapy. More on that later.

She proceeded to tell me that she had been in the military when she had her first battle with cancer. Her military friends rallied around her and she got through it.

Her second battle with cancer was cervical. She sabotaged her relationship with her boyfriend because she didn't want him to see her go through chemo and she felt useless as a woman for not being able to have children.

Her friends dwindled. This happens when someone is diagnosed with cancer because friends just don't know what to say or do. Instead of doing research and learning how to support the friend/family member, they turn away. They run and hide.

Her third battle with cancer was breast cancer. She had to have both breasts removed. During the time that she found out about this, her aunt died in April, her mother in May, her breasts in June. Her family turned away from her and she is now basically alone in the world.

She attends cancer support groups for socialization and talks about the caregivers. That's her thing. She wants the cancer patients to know that these people surrounding them haven't left, they are still there supporting them. They deserve recognition.

I wanted to write about June because she touched my heart. Here is this woman with no friends, no family, survived 3 rounds of different types of cancer and she is still smiling.

I don't take care of my husband for recognition. I take care of him because he is my husband and I love him. Does he drive me crazy? Oh yes. Our life together has changed dramatically. Everything centers around him.

What most people don't understand is he doesn't want to be treated differently. He wants to hold on to his independence. He wants to tie his own shoes even if his fingers don't work anymore. However, there are certain things he just cannot do anymore. He needs to stay close to home because the chemo really does a number of his body. He gets tired so outings have to be short. He can't sit out in the sun. He can't eat much.

I try to have friends over for dinners so that my husband gets to socialize, be with people, laugh a little. It gets pretty monotonous, just the two of us.

Friends don't call as often as they did before. Some, not at all anymore. That's ok. Our family is still here and I know that I can call on any one of them at any time and they would be here to help.

So cancer sent some friends running for cover because they just couldn't deal.

I'm so thankful and so is my husband for the ones that have stayed, that don't treat him differently, that still call.

Speaking with June today made me realize that we have a great support system. Something a lot of people out there don't. June has no one to go to doctor appointments with her. She has no one to run to the store for her when she is not feeling well. She has no one to just watch a movie with, share a dinner with.

When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone that love them does, too.
~ Terri Clark

Please keep June and my husband in your thoughts and prayers.

Hugs, Christine

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