I spent a lot of sleepless nights during the weeks of recovery after surgery to remove malignant tumors and lymph nodes and into the following 8 months during chemotherapy treatments. Now, going on two years later, and as a survivor with no evidence of cancer, the experience is always in my mind.
Not just about the actual discomfort from side effects, weight loss , reduced stamina, etc., but mostly about the people who provided support and encouragement, who went out of their way to keep me comfortable and entertained and always looking ahead to a healthier life.
However, the even more powerful impact was witnessing the display of hope and the strength of character of the other patients there in the treatment rooms who had more serious potential outcomes; how they coped with their situations.
The important lesson was in learning just how much people cared, and how incredibly valuable
that support was to surviving, or at least coping with our personal situations. Most hospitals and cancer treatment centers have official Support programs as well as cooperation with groups of volunteers like the Gilda Club.
And for many cancer survivors, we just automatically pitch in to share and encourage those we meet along the trail who can benefit from a shared word, gesture, or even a touch - to let them know we understand - and care.
The long sleepless nights can be a cause for reflection, and prompted me to put my thoughts and feelings into prose that you can read here - and share if you wish.
A Journey On The Cancer Trail