Those of us with chronic pain difficulties have a tendency to be pretty self-centered. It’s natural and understandable. But there comes a time when we MUST put that tendency aside and focus on others around us. When our family members or friends are in crisis, our pain, our disease must take second or even third place in our priorities. We have to set aside and ignore our own discomfort and the stiffness and swelling that are going on in our life in order to support our family members or friends.
My disease will always be with me in one way or another. But now, it’s NOT about me! My oldest son has just been diagnosed with cancer. A bad cancer (as if any cancer is “good”). So it IS about him! We will be fighting for him over the next several months to years. Any personal problems are of secondary importance compared to his needs.
As we batten down our own hatches and prepare for the storm around him, we are each, in our own ways, assessing our own problems and determining how to set them aside for the duration. Teens and preteens in the family will be doing )some faster growing up. (A number of the grownups may be doing some needed growing up, too – I hope!).
Chemo, radiation, Interleukin II, Autologous immune vaccines, Interferon – these will become our new vocabulary. Trips to offices, infusion centers, hospitals will accord possibilities to visit and talk with each other. With his wife needing to work full-time, we other family members will have to pony up to the bar and help provide driver services – for the long-term.
Taking part in fundraising, helping to find clinical trials for him, helping to keep his spirits up – these have to become our priorities.
No matter how much we are hurting, he is hurting more. No matter how upset we are, he is more upset. No matter how worried we are about finances, he is more worried. As a doctor friend said to me,
“He needs treatment NOW. Go for it. Worry about paying for it later. Treatment now, bankruptcy later – if necessary.”
His cancer, while among the worst possible cancers, does have a 60% 5-year survival rate with aggressive treatment with some of the newer clinical trial drugs. We need to seek them out and get him into them – no matter the sacrifices involved.
Nothing like a crisis to get your priorities straight!