Be brave. You can fight this thing. You must have a good attitude. Be positive. Don’t cry! Men are not supposed to cry. You are not going to die. Cheer up.
How does one express fear when told to be brave and fight? How does one express a searing feeling of helplessness? Fight what exactly?
A cancer patient has a good attitude every day when he wakes up and wishes his cancer is gone, but still knowing in the recesses of his heart that it is still be there and he still gets out of bed and carries on.
A cancer patient is brave every day when he accepts the changes that have come into his life and he is able to come to terms with the reality that life will never be the same again.
A cancer patient has a positive attitude when he endures all the insults his body will endure for the sake of treatment. Calling it a treatment doesn’t make it less barbaric or less invasive.
A cancer patient is allowed to cry. With so many life disruptions and so much invasion with drugs, surgery and radiation, it is hard not to cry. All a person really wants is someone there. No words.
Do we die alone when others refuse to see what is real? Let’s face it. Some of us will die. We know who we are. We need help in getting through it. Plans that need to be made. Words that need to be said. Most cancer patients in the final stage know they are there. No surprises. A cancer patient needs not to be lonely. They need to share this stage, too.
How can we do the job we need to do when we are expected to be unrealistic heroes?
Look closer at your loved one with cancer. You will see a person who is already a hero. You will see someone working very hard to understand what is going on, someone living her day as best she can while waiting for the last treatment to shrink the tumor or waiting for the latest test results. You will see the struggle he has as those very markers that he identified with his manhood start to erode, to slip away. He tries so hard to keep up a good front. Women who have to work through the very worst of their treatment just to keep their insurance. Moms with little children struggling to care for their children after chemo. There are many heroes among us.
A cancer patient needs a kind word, a thoughtful gesture. A cancer patient will have ups and will have downs. He will endure. Grow stronger. Be confident that she can handle her fate as she has so many times before. To help them get there, a little kindness goes a long ways.