A person in one of my groups said they are more than a year out from treatment, and still dealing with side effects and repercussions of treatment. I wish dealing with cancer was like taking an anti-biotic, and all was right with the world.
At the end of treatment comes other issues, and other concerns. Each time I have come away from chemo, I have come away with new aches and pains. I have been endlessly tired for over 2 years, with, or without treatment, and even when I was considered "clear." I have heard of the effects of chemo affecting the brain of a person for even 10 years. I guess the plus is the person got to live 10 years, but I can tell you the effects are incredibly frustrating not only for the person, but the people around them who have to deal with it.
Here is the quote:
"I think the hardest part of cancer treatment is at the end--when everyone assumes you're 'cured' and you no longer need their help. You're in your weakest, most devastated state, plus you no longer have the mission you had when you began this journey: to kill the cancer. The cancer is toast, but so are you, and now, like a soldier at the end of war, you need help putting yourself back together, only everyone has gone home since they assume the war has been won."
The last sentence was exactly how I felt when I announced my clear scan.
Please be gentle with those who have dealt with cancer and treatment. They likely need it, and will appreciate it, but some will never speak up for fear of what you might think.
Today I saw Jennifer Aniston talking about her newest role, and how there have been those who have been silently suffering that are grateful for what the movie highlights and brings out. I have known for quite some time this blog speaks for many people, and not just those dealing with cancer.
When people are dealing with things, they often will not want to tell you what is really going on, in part, perhaps, because they know you don't want to hear it. In part, perhaps, because you might not know how to deal with it. In part, perhaps, because they don't want to be seen as "less than" in your eyes.
If you love someone, give them permission to speak their truth, even if their truth is agony. So many times I speak the truth and get told I am being negative. I have come to realize more often than not "negative" is something we don't like, or don't want to, hear.
Unfortunately, just as we don't seem to really grasp what soldiers feel upon return from battle, we don't seem to really grasp a lot of things. That is, until we become enlisted, and have our own experience. I can only hope that by sharing the things I do, in the way I do, I can help others understand things without having to have their own enlistment to go by.
Sometimes I do wonder, however, if the only people who will really understand are the ones who have not choice but to understand. I really hope I am wrong, because the fact is that people like us really need people like you.
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