Posted in cancer, mindset, thoughtfulness

Wishes of a cancer patient

The post that is going around (again) about cancer patients having only one wish—to kick cancer’s butt—is short-sighted and shows a lack of understanding of what cancer patients go through.

Of course cancer patients want to beat cancer and go on to live a healthy life. (There are people with cancer who refuse treatment and accept that it will eventually kill them, but they typically don’t want to live through the awful side effects of the treatment, rather than actually not wanting to go on to live a healthy life.)

To address the rest of this meme…

A cancer patient who has gained 30, 40, 50 or more pounds as a result of treatments probably wishes to be thinner.

One who has become skin and bones as a result of treatments may wish to be bigger.

The countless who are uninsured or underinsured or were fired from their jobs as a result of diagnosis wish for more money. (Heck, who among us is not wishing for more money?) While I was going through chemo, our house had foundation issues. You bet I was wishing for more money. (Or maybe a house without foundation issues.)

A cool car? OK, maybe you got me on that one. Though I’m certain there are plenty of cancer patients who would still love a sweet ride.

Every cancer patient wishes for a day off. A day off from tests, treatments, appointments, surgeries, blood tests, scans, anxiety, fear, looks of pity, inane comments.

A new phone? Depends on what kind of phone you already have, I suppose, regardless of the presence of a tumor.

A single cancer patient still wishes to date the person of their dreams … and fears that with a cancer history (and all of the physical and emotional baggage that comes along with it), it will be impossible. And cancer patients whose spouses leave them because of their cancer wish for the person of their dreams as well.

You know what I hated when I was going through chemo? The assumption that now everything was about cancer. It was as if I had become cancer instead of just acquired it. That nothing else in my life existed for the entire 8 months of treatment (but then that the cancer never existed once treatment was over. Odd juxtaposition.) This meme really supports that notion, which drives me bonky.

How can everything else simply stop existing?

Sure, it’s possible for your priorities to change. Looking at a potential death sentence can do that to you. But you still care about other people (and have wishes for them). You still care about other things in your life. You still want to look nice and pay bills with money left over and play with gadgets. You’re still a person.