Yes, I mean cancer. And the day before the end of the year it hit my family. My brother-in-law was at the hospital for a colonoscopy simply because his iron levels were low. No other signs. But they found what they were 95% sure was cancer. Suddenly he wasn’t leaving the hospital and surgery was being scheduled.
Today we learned that he’s at stage IV of colon cancer, which is when the cancer has spread to some lymph nodes as well as other organs. In this case, his liver has a spot. A spot??!! Ugh. However, the prognosis is very good. The cancer is treatable.
Aside from being scared and sad for him and somewhat in shock, all these other things have been running through my mind.
When it comes down to it, at the really crucial times, our lives aren’t just our own. Far from it. So many others have so much invested in us. At scary times like this, we feel the need to own, to claim our piece. And though it may not be right, per se, it’s that intense possessiveness of another’s life, of what he/she means to you, what you mean to someone, that makes life worth living. Worth fighting for.
Dealing with people’s reactions to shocking, life-rocketing news, can often be as hard as (harder than?) the news, itself. Everyone deals so differently and, often, so selfishly. I can tell my brother-in-law is putting on a very brave face. He says that telling people has been so hard. Understandably. It’s all the proverbial juggernaut. But I admire his pragmatism. And now that he knows the information, he says that he’s focused on healing. Accordingly, yes almost selfishly, I can be in sync with his reaction. I’ve found myself reading sites, needing information, and feeling sated when I got it. Plus I’m a believer in positive thinking.
I’m very aware of how far away I am and grappling with how to give support. Of course I need to go home, but I already have a visit booked for the end of January. Now I’ll see if I should go earlier. Maybe later is a bit better. I’m waiting to decide.
The amount of connectedness we have these days thanks to PDAs, wifi, laptops is incredible. Often I find it unnecessary and pointless. But being able to bat emails back and forth with my bro-in-law, sometimes a handful in 20 minutes, no matter where I am, has been comforting. Because of that, I haven’t felt so far away. I guess it’s digital support.