We talk about care giving.  We talk about treatment.  We talk about living with cancer.

We need to talk about the wisdom that comes from hearing the words “You have cancer.”

People change when they hear those words.  What is it that comes over them, especially the terminally ill cancer patients?

Is it because they see a measured life in front of them, one where they can count the days left to be with their family and friends, that they have a different outlook on life?  The wisdom that we see in these people is something important: it’s a lesson in learning about living, about understanding life and about dying.

Are we smart enough to pay attention, to see these lessons being played out in front of our eyes?

I have a neighbor who is that smart.  Her father has finished his chemotherapy.  His doctors have done what they can and they’ve told him the truth about his metastatic disease.  He’s at peace with his fate, but he hasn’t stopped living.  He’s adjusted his life now and is concentrating on what he considers the important parts of that life, before the cancer weighs-in.

He wants to go home.  He wants to visit a country far away from here where his roots run deep.  And then, if his illness allows, he will return to live out his days.

His daughter understands his wish.  She see’s him, not as the Dad she’s always loved and looked up too, but as a man who has attained new wisdom from his battle with cancer.  She admires his strength through all the treatment.  She is in awe of his courage, as he faces the rest of his days.

No one knows how many days are left, but he knows, with his new found wisdom, what he must do before his calendar runs out.

The wisdom of cancer is real.

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