Fifty four rounds of chemo can give you pause to think.
When I’m sick with nausea, when my energy limits me to movement from the bedroom to the bathroom, when my head is in a fog of dysphoria, sometimes I wish that this wasn’t my life.
As much as I have accepted the circumstances of my own life and long since come to peace with its outcome, this doesn’t mean I have moments when I wish it was different. I guess its part of what it means to be human, hoping for a better future, hoping for an escape from life’s present miseries. Perhaps the recent acquisition of our first home has helped to make me wish things were different now that I am getting a taste of what the future might have been. It seems ironic that I make plans for the longer term future, acknowledging that the shorter term outcome is by far the more likely. It is almost like a cruel game of dangling the carrot, but always keeping it just out of reach.
Whilst these thoughts might rattle around my head at times, they cannot linger for long. Unless I am blind to the world around me, I am quickly reminded how good the life I have actually is and how blessed I am despite my circumstance. I may not be able to boast good health, but I’m well enough to continue to work full time between 54 rounds of chemotherapy. I have an amazing wife who journeys through this pain with me, enabling me to face it head on despite the fatigue. My life is full of people who support and care for me in various ways. I actually couldn’t ask for too much more.
I also see patients who suffer through far worse than I have ever had to, I see some die through cruel twists of fate and circumstance that might see someone else live. I see pain that I can’t imagine, both physical and emotional, in the souls of those I treat and the family around them.
All of this gives you pause to think….
Our suffering often seems so great to ourselves, a giant tree that is only so large because we stand right in front of it, blinding us from the even larger trees in the forest that stand before others. When we take a step back from our tree and see the context in which we live, it makes it so much harder to complain. Our tree is never as big as it seems when seen in context. And when we begin to focus on other people’s trees, their suffering instead of our own, all of a sudden the tree that seemed to loom so large begins to appear smaller than we thought.
If there is one thing my life’s turn of events have taught me, its that focusing on others instead of me removes myself from the picture. I realise my life is only one of many lived on this planet, and whilst I will die young, I will die blessed with the life I have been given. Hopefully, in return, I can bless others with that same life rather than focussing on my own. It is ironic that through having an ‘others’ focussed approach, I find the peace required to deal with my own circumstance.
Life was never meant to be lived with us at the centre, that only brings misery, self ambition, and loneliness. When life is lived with others at the centre, that is when we find community, friendship and love…. it sounds really soppy, but it works…
Until next time…