Wish for more compassion, understanding of cancer

We live in a very prominent area for cancer. Cancer touches everyone’s lives in this area one way or another. I have had several friends diagnosed with this terrible monster. One friend is on her second go around and won the battle again. I have also had a friend lose the battle and I now have a friend currently in the process of fighting the battle as well.

I am disturbed by the lack of knowledge on this disease. People are so quick to stare, pass judgment, lack sympathy, sensitivity, and understanding all because of ignorance of the disease and what it does to a person. Then as if having the disease wasn’t bad enough, the treatment is even worse. It doesn’t play favorites or take it easy on anyone. Every person receives a different treatment and their responses to treatment vary as well.

Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells. It also destroys healthy cells in the process, therefore making immune systems weak in the process. It leads to anemia, fatigue, and infections. Each person reacts differently to chemotherapy. Possible side effects can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, mouth sores, nerve damage, infections, diarrhea, constipation, hair loss, and muscle and joint pain.

I do not know personally the afflictions that the treatments cause but I have been on the other side of the phone when I’m told that they don’t know how they will get through this or how much they can take. Until you have witnessed it first or second hand, how can you be so mean to someone? If you were in someone else’s shoes, wouldn’t you want to be treated with a little patience, understanding, and compassion? I know that employers have rules to follow and abide by, but things wouldn’t be so bad if fellow employees were more supportive and attempted to help through difficult times. I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone, however I do wish for more compassion and understanding. Please try to educate yourself if you feel as if you are one of the people lacking knowledge on this disease and I will also pray for you as well.

Susanna Schwaigert