Tuesday, February 4, 2014


There are few words in the English language that seem to have the power to evoke reactions as does "Cancer".  Once the Big-C is uttered, people may recall those they have lost to it, those they know how are fighting it and/or those who have beaten it as well as the apparent randomness of it. 

Inevitably the word Cancer conjures up the thought of a merciless indiscriminate killer, and to be fair it does deserve it's bad reputation.  Too often young people with their lives ahead of them are cut down, and despite our desires that the outcome be different, the lucky ones that pull through unfortunately do not represent the majority of sufferers.

Why the morbid start to the first post for 2014?  Well, as one of the lucky ones, I am thankful everyday for the medical advancements (in both knowledge and treatment) that underpinned my recovery.  I'm even doubly blessed in that the ongoing side effects don't really interfere with my daily life.  Sure I've had to make adjustments, but nothing that stops me living the "full and fruitful" lives we all strive for.

And there is the kicker, the reason for this post.  Despite the infamy associated with the Big-C, many people out there suffer daily with medical conditions that turn their lives upside down and unlike me, they will never get their previous lives back.  While these conditions may not have the mortality rates of cancer, they never the less cause immense strain on the wider families of the sufferers, and that suffering is ongoing.

Two of my close friends live daily with medical conditions that have drastically changed their "standard of living".  There are no magic cures for either, so they have had to literally change their whole lives to compensate. 

And you know what, they do so without any self-pity.  Instead liberal doses of PMA abound and a "things could be worse, just got to make the most of it" mindset rules the roost.  They'll never get back the lives they used to have,  but it isn't stopping them making the most of the lives they have now.  And they are surrounded by people who care.

One thing that gets right up my nose though is when people make the inane "I know how you feel" or "I know what you're going through" comments.  Unless you've been through exactly what I have, no you bloody don't.  The reality is I would never say that to a fellow cancer sufferer because I know types and treatments can be so different.  Likewise, I don't profess to know exactly what my friends are going through at the moment, all I can do is offer them whatever support I can to help them through.  I have gained a bit of an understanding of what they face, but that is not the same as living it.

Where am I going with this?  Unfortunately it seems to take someone close to us to become afflicted before we take stock of our own lives and what is important.  We all face our own trials and tribulations daily in this fast-paced world, but we need to look at the bigger picture.  Ask anybody who has been through a long-term medical issue, and they'll shout from the rooftops about how invaluable the support of their loved ones (family & friends) has been in their ability to deal with it.  So, why do we not support each other more of the time? We need to find within ourselves the ability to take stock of what matters to us.  People can sometimes struggle with asking for help, wouldn't it be nice if the help was offered without being asked?

Let's make 2014 the year where we don't sweat the small stuff, stop taking our health for granted, and embrace what we have to the full.  Let's also find a way to spend more time with our loved ones so they know should the need arise, we've got their back. That's the new perspective on life we need to find.

Promise next post won't be so "deep".