Yesterday, a lovely friend and I went to visit another friend very ill with advanced cancer. The family are doing so wonderfully with something so unfair, painful and heart breaking. It has all happened so fast. Last time I saw my friend, he was talking and laughing; I didn’t realise that he was so ill. And that was only late last year.
It made me think about Breast Cancer Nirvana. Was I being too upbeat about something so horrible? Yes and no. Many of us have been through the horrible sides of cancer but luckily, at this point, I am on the way up. But I haven’t been ready to talk about late stage cancer or of a couple of my friends who died in their early thirties of breast cancer. How do we begin to talk about that?
Well I will try right here and I guess much of this comes down to beliefs. And these are mine:
- Cancer can be prevented. Yes …But also some of us seem destined to have had it. Cancer occurs in beautiful children or the super healthy who contract cancer at an early age or late age. There seems to be no rhyme or reason. There is no blame and no absolute answers thought the science is edging closer and closer.
- In my twenties, one of my best friends had breast cancer. She was one of the healthiest, happiest, loveliest people I know. She did everything she could naturally to heal cancer and died in her early thirties. I learned a lot from my friend. From her, I learned that if she couldn’t beat cancer with all those juices and wonderful therapies, I would need to do even more and do chemo. There is no reason for her death. She was dear to so many people – so loved and also, helped so many people in her life.
- Sometimes, we do everything we can. We do the chemo, surgery, radio, clinical trials…and it is enough. Sometimes we do everything and it is not enough. Sometimes we are the most unhealthy person on the planet and live to a ripe old age. There are no absolute rules. We all know that life is a mystery.
- With my ill friend this week, he is so loved and cared for. I felt privileged to be in their family home and hope that our visit shed a little light at such a difficult time. But most of all, I just felt grateful after visiting him. I felt grateful to walk, talk, drive, have a hot chocolate and walk on the beach. I can’t believe how lucky I feel that I am here right now. Even though, I have been through cancer twice in the last 4.5 years and am five months away from finishing my treatments, I feel grateful. I will take every ounce of life that I can get and live it as much as I can.
Perhaps that is the gift of life being so precious when a loved one is so ill. Everyone around that person feels the preciousness too. And I was so inspired by their strength, love and all the support around them at such a difficult time.