Yesterday I ran into one of my colleagues in our entry at work. Her presence was subdued and sad. Totally unlike her. I knew there had been some family health struggles and asked her about them. “Haven’t you heard?” she questioned. “My partner has pancreatic cancer.” Her partner has been diagnosed with a disease that moves swiftly and deadly. My colleague is 34 years old. Her partner is 41.
Unfortunately, she and I both know too well what the chances are for her partner. Working in the field of cancer affords you knowledge and information that at times you wish you were without. They say knowledge is power. In this case, the reality of the knowledge is devastating.
A cancer patient must fight, must stay positive and must view themselves as an individual who is not necessarily going to have the same prognosis as the statistics have shown. Being the partner to someone battling the fight of cancer and being left to deal with the reality of the disease, outcomes and probabilities and wanting to prepare for either outcome is one of the loneliest paths a person can walk. The carers of cancer patients – partners and family members – have to be so brave and many times do it alone. How can we better help those that walk with our cancer patients?
Yesterday, I realized that anything that is currently frustrating me in my life is just a minor irritant and that I am so fortunate. Sometimes we need to step back and gain some perspective about what really matters.