We only get a small number of blogs from pancreatic cancer survivors. The disease is usually not caught until late stages. Things move fast. Seldom time to stop and put your thoughts down on paper. I am especially thoughtful about this since my own recent brush with the possibility of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Kathi Instone, mother, grandmother and newly diagnosed cancer patient writes at: A Last Journey – Welcome
My experience with this cancer is limited. It’s only been a few months since my diagnosis but there are some things I’ve learned. One thing is that time plays tricks and a few months can seem like forever. The opposite is also true, forever can pass in the blink of an eye.
As I go to chemo and now radiation, I realize that I’m seeing the same people. Montefiore is a big place, with many, many people with cancer. And yet it seems like we are a very small group. We greet each other, or we smile that knowing smile, “well, here we are again”. Maybe we only see each other as one drifts in to register and the other drifts out having finished the treatment for the day. But we recognize each other.
Some times we have time to talk while we wait together. Like today. As I sat down to wait my turn with the big machine I recognized a woman who is usually accompanied by either a younger woman or an older man. Today she sat alone. Tall, she was almost bent in half, head resting in her hands, almost touching her knees. We smiled that knowing smile and then she began to speak. “We all have something in common here, don’t we”? This cancer brings us together, it doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care who we are.” Her words almost sounded like questions, she was uncomfortable sharing her thoughts but at the same time compelled to get them out of her head. Then she looked down at her hands and said, “it helps me to talk about it.” Again, sounding like a question, apologizing for burdening someone else with her thoughts. “It’s important to talk” I said, “it lets you know that you’re not alone.” Her eyes got wide, “yes!” she said. Then she was called in for her treatment and our time together was over. So much had just happened in that short conversation. She worked through her discomfort to reach out.. And I realized that just a few words shared between two people can be enlightening and comforting to both. I felt good that I had said the “right thing” and that she appreciated our shared understanding.
I’ll see her again, I know. Maybe I’ll even learn her name, but it doesn’t matter. We share something very big.
from: A Last Journey – Welcome