Anybody who has been given the diagnosis of cancer, or who has known somebody in their family or amongst friends who now has to face this terrible disease, finds themselves in a state of disbelief or shock. The first big question which arises is ‘Why me? Why did I/he/she get it, amongst all those other millions of people’
It almost feels like standing in front of a huge wall, behind it a pile of confusion.
Memories appear from moments in life in a search to find out what might have caused it. Then regret, guilt, a huge sense of failure and often a helplessness and powerlessness comes in an overwhelming flood of emotion.
Some people immediately decide that – no matter what – they will conquer this horrific disease, no doubt about it. Still, in most patients there remains a deep fear of the unknown.
It really feels like the entire world has been turned upside down. Suddenly people remember all the things they should have done but never got round to doing and time, which seemed so endless, suddenly feels like it’s running away from them.
All the things which before seemed dramatic or horrendous are now devoid of meaning, because health is in fact the most important thing and without it we have a much more difficult path to walk.
In our case it was my father who became sick. As you might have read in the previous chapters, I knew in my gut what the right treatment for him would be. Yet what I wish to talk about today is how to approach the varying input and opinions of the professionals, family and friends you may be dealing with along the way.
It is very important to understand that everybody is doing the very best they can to be of any assistance. Some do it from a place of compassion and care, others to serve their own egos, only interested in being recognised as ‘the one who healed the cancer patient’.
Whatever or wherever somebody’s approach is, see them with the knowing that they are doing the best they can. You don’t have to follow their advice if it doesn’t feel right. Develop a sensitivity to help you distinguish the ones with a genuine desire to assist from the ones who are purely following a traditional professional path without much care. Accept each one of them equally, even if they sometimes make you angry, or make you feel like just another statistic. This will give you strength.
In our case we were dealing with health professionals and representatives for companies that produce natural remedies who were convinced that their Vitamin supplements would cure my father. Although it was very interesting to listen to their talks, deep down I knew that just by applying some vitamins, my dad’s cancer would definitely not go. Everybody is an individual case and everyone’s case has to be taken individually.
Then there was the Professor from the top Cancer Clinic in Heidelberg who was convinced that my dad’s tumour would definitely be beaten if he was bombarded with Chemo- and Radiotherapy for 4 weeks, only to then be operated on again later.
Every bit of my being was screaming NO, and my dad and brothers felt the same. To this day I don’t doubt that it would have killed him.
(Should you however opt for that kind of treatment, then this is your choice and you have to follow it)
Then there were neighbours and friends who were telling me of their own experiences. This was most helpful and certainly a guide and support in what I/we thought we would have to possibly do anyway.
Express to yourself an intention to find the right people who know what they are doing, and don’t be shy to speak up.
Care and consideration are very important. Everybody I know was incredibly patient and supportive. For a few weeks I was totally withdrawn, doing a lot of research. There were many people I just couldn’t face and I really didn’t feel like doing anything fun. My friend Tanja, who is a nurse at the hospital where my dad was, gave me a very precious piece of advice; she told me to go for a walk or do something that gives me pleasure because otherwise the stress would make me too weak to look after my dad.
This scary and challenging time is also a time of big awakening, of many realisations and a lesson to every single person involved.
Be patient, understanding and know that any of these things can happen to any of us. So use this opportunity to also look within. Pointing the finger is of no use; I have worked with so many seriously ill people who were loving and looked healthy. It is the soul which is speaking through the body and sometimes all we need to do is develop the ear to hear it properly.