Being diagnosed with cancer is not only tough on you as the patient, but on your family and loved ones too. Think about that, because it’s worth remembering. You’re not the only one suffering.
This is something that has been rattling around in my head for a while and was most prevalent when I was sitting in a hospital bed. I’ve thought about it a lot. When I was diagnosed the experience was horrible, but I was whisked away and offered support, had nurses to hand 24 hours a day and doctors to quiz about every little problem as it arrived or I was concerned about it. I even had Macmillan nurses to hand to deal with all the little things in my life that simply got in the way of recovery.
For me, the support network was there. For my relatives, things were tougher. I’d lie in bed in a hospital 24 hours a day and had every need attended to, but my relatives had to go back to their ordinary lives knowing that they had left behind someone with an illness. For my fiancée, life was even harder – she had to go back to an empty house, and worry about what was happening to me for the 16 hours a day that she wasn’t by my hospital bed.
The benefit to me of having all that support to hand was that I could afford to be upbeat about everything. I latched onto my 95% survival rate the moment it was mentioned to me and I clung on for dear life, never even for a moment thinking that I would be in that 5% who might not make it. A positive mindset carried me through my treatment and the inevitable sickness and feeling like crap all the time, and allowed me to be one to comfort my relatives.
It’s easy to let the illness overwhelm you, and make you want to curl up in a ball and let things be done to you to make the illness go away. I know I could have done the same thing. I chose not to, and as a result I believe that my recovery was easier, faster, and had less of an impact on my relatives. But they went through an experience that was far harder than mine, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.