Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate 

Mount Wellington, Tasmania

During one of my support group meetings I was told that “cancer doesn’t discriminate, arseholes get it too”. At the time, for reasons I can’t explain, I was a bit taken aback by this comment. Is it possible for someone who is going through such a life changing experience to be considered mean, nasty or even…..an arsehole. Surely it’s just that the said arsehole is in pain, frustrated or feeling unwell and this is the sole cause of their arseholeness. Or maybe cancer simply doesn’t discriminate.

Being a little more experienced and having more exposure to the cancer world now, I can confirm that this horrid disease does not, in fact, pick and choose it’s participants. You could be a devoted saint, never sinned, salt of the earth and you could still get it.

One day whilst sitting in the chemo chair I had a mother and daughter sit in the chairs next to me. The mother being a patient and the daughter being there for support. To set the scene a little, let me explain the food arrangements in the chemotherapy ward. Volunteers come by throughout the day offering food and drinks. Patients are offered free meals for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. To offer this free service is incredibly generous as the hospital has a café which is easily accessible to patients during treatment. Now, back to the mother and daughter. On being offered the free lunch, the daughter asked for a sandwich, in which the volunteer explained that the service was for patients only. They were not impressed with this response and became rather snappy at the poor volunteer. The mother then asked for a sandwich with a disgusted “well we’ll just share it then!”. This may seem small and trivial to many, but for me it stood out due to the level of rudeness and distain shown to the volunteer.

On other occasions we have encountered people that were annoyingly rude and inconsiderate. The amount of people that listen and watch music, videos and conduct telephone calls with the speakers all the way up is astonishing to me. Seriously, no one else wants to hear it. Get yourself a pair of earphones and let others get the rest they need. One of the more annoying instances of this was when two ladies entered the chemo ward. One was undergoing treatment, with the other there for support. The support person continually read comments from a Facebook post at full volume to her friend who was sitting right beside her. To make it worse, she added her on derogatory commentary to each post comment.

It’s rather funny though looking at how Megan and I are in these situations. We enter the ward, take our seats and talk in whispers. Why? I have no idea. We are not saying anything secretive or sensitive. We just seem to have a high threshold for not wanting to annoy the shit out of anyone. Plus, we are rather boring so no one would be interested in what we were saying anyway.

I have also seen and heard the opposite of the above. Whereby people that have dedicated many years of their lives to being fit, healthy, sinless and purely good have been diagnosed. I feel for these people the most. They have spent so much time and effort to avoid becoming sick, yet it made absolutely no difference.

 

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2 Comments

  1. My mother was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and a separate primary lung cancer in May. Thank you so much for sharing your story. On a side note- I lived in Hoppers Crossing near Werribee, Victoria for six months in high school. Australia is wonderful, and I miss it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hillary. I am sorry to hear of your mother’s diagnosis. I hope she responds well to treatment and can come through the other side. Bowel cancer is rather common, yet you don’t really hear about it until it effects you directly. I also used to live in Hoppers Crossing. I think I was there for about 8 years. Such a small world. Thank you for reading my blog and all the best.

      Like

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