Strength in the Face of Cancer
Everyday we hear of people in our world dealing with incredible loss and deep sadness. Often times we find ourselves asking: how do they do it? How do they find the strength? Where do they find the courage? We may even ask ourselves how we would cope under the very same circumstances? Unfortunately, we only become aware of the answer when tragedy visits us and our own lives are turned upside-down.
When a loved one, a friend or close companion is diagnosed with cancer, life as we know it changes forever. Suddenly we enter a new world of uncharted territory filled with what we believe is only helplessness and despair – all of which arises from fear, fear of the unknown. Our day to day lives shift from aimlessly walking around shopping Malls to walking the Hospital corridors and sitting in chemotherapy waiting rooms, shocked by the number of people afflicted by cancer. We can not help but wonder: will we one day be a patient as well? Bringing us even more fear. A fear for our own mortality.
You see, Cancer has no respect for gender, or age, for race, color or creed, rich, middle class or poor, none of this makes the slightest difference. They are all united in their suffering, making us realize we are just fellow human beings on the same sad journey.
One can not bear witness to the incredible courage of those who have cancer without being deeply affected. My husband’s courage in the face of his Embryonal Carcinoma (Testicular cancer) held me in awe and I decided to do everything within my power to help him and others that were going on this roller coaster ride of emotions.
As a cancer coach and RN, I encourage those affected directly, and indirectly, by their loved one’s cancer to learn about the stages and symptoms of their disease; the pain they will experience and the ways they can help to bring it under control. This way they can work with their doctors to achieve the best possible quality of life for whatever time they have been granted. For myself, It was incredibly hard to wake each day with the knowledge that my husband could very well be dying; having already lost my father my anticipatory grief often overwhelmed me. Through courage and strength, and the grace of God, I managed, like so many others, to carry on.
Deep within ourselves there is strength and courage to sustain us in times of personal tragedy. Though not readily apparent, you will come to realize that you are indeed strong. You may staggered and stumble a bit with the burden of grief, but you will manage to help those affected by cancer discover a quality of life few think possible considering the nature of this disease.
I have witnessed courage – that of my husband as he battled his disease – and of so many others as they have stood beside their loved ones, determined to improve their quality of his life bringing each and every one peace through their strength and courage. Their illness and possible death will wound deeply. And yet, you will emerge far stronger, more courageous and so filled with everlasting love than ever before.