Today, I had the honor of being present for a chemo treatment. Yes, the honor.
Rick's Aunt Lisa has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Today's treatment was to be 5 hours long, so we decided we'd use the time to do a little bit of work and a lot a bit of chat. As I walked into the chemo room, it was difficult not to feel a level of sadness and despair. Here sat all of these people, hooked up to machines that were pumping fluid into their bodies. Men and women of all ages who have one thing in common. They are all receiving treatment for cancer. They are all trying to survive.
I sat down with Lisa and we began to chat. I believe in honesty, openness and keeping things real, so I asked questions. Lisa was really good about filling me in about what her treatment looks like and the effects that the treatment has had thus far. At one point she informed me that this new treatment was more aggressive (thus the 5 hours), but that because of this, she would not have a treatment next week. I asked her if that was a good thing...would she rather have one longer session, and then not have to go back the next week. Her response floored me.
"I wish they would keep me hooked up all the time. GET RID OF IT!"
That was when it hit me. These people are fighters. I was in the presence of an incredible amount of strength. All of these people aren't just trying to survive...they are FIGHTING for survival. They aren't wishing for a raise at work, they aren't hoping for a good night's sleep, they couldn't care less whether the house is clean, or if they have a "busy day" ahead of them. They want to SURVIVE! And they're willing to fight for that survival! What an incredible display of strength. It was quite inspiring The original feelings of sadness and despair had definitely been replaced.
I left there with a greater appreciation for life.
I left there with a true sense of perspective.
I left there feeling honored to have been able to spend a couple hours in the presence of such an exceptional amount of strength.