Thursday, July 22, 2010

i. hate. cancer.

I. Hate. Cancer. (and every other illness out there)

I hate watching it tear people's lives apart and yet together all at the same time.
I hate that every single one of us says that we live each day like it's our last, but we don't....
We still take our lives for granted....
I hate that I know what it feels like to be at someone's side when they pass away....
I hate that i know that feeling, but that i am thankful for knowing it....
i am thankful for knowing that feeling, because not many people get to experience being "THE ONE" at someone's dying side.... not even someone's dying side, but someone's ill side....

I am grateful for the experiences I have shared with individuals who have given me an amazing way of seeing life....
a way that forever changes the way i see life....
i mean, the ENTIRE outlook....

even IIII am guilty of taking the small things for granted.
it is hard not to.
i wake up every morning next to jason.
i can text him anytime i want.
i can call him anytime i want.
i even give him a hard sometimes if he doesn't call me right back.
but none of that is life-threatening....

how ENTIRELY different my WHOLE world would be if i couldn't just pick up my phone to call him whenever i wanted....
how ENTIRELY different my WHOLE world would be if i rolled over in the morning, and he wasn't there.... or if i reached over to rub my fingers through his hair and he wasn't there....
how EMPTY my heart would feel, if 6 pm rolled around, and he didn't pull into the driveway....
or saturday came around, and i didn't have his work pants pockets to check for money,
or his work shirts for pens,
right before washing them.....
or if every morning, when i woke up, his pajamas weren't thrown about the room for me to pick up, fold and put away....
how sad i would feel, if the lingering scent of his shaving cream wasn't in the bathroom sink when i brushed my teeth....
how much i would cry, if his black hat sat on the shelf in the closet, unworn.....
how much i know i would give anything to have his whiskerss all over the countertop long after he's gone for work.... like they are now....

you know, there are mornings when he rolls over and wraps his arms around me and my eyes fill with tears....
because his whiskery face tickles the middle of my upper back, and his right arm wraps over my right arm, and holds onto my left as he snuggles me just about as tight as he can.... and i think about the rhythm of his breathing....
i take in the way his arms wrap me tight....
the way his hands feel....
his arms....
i can't imagine my world without him....
and yet there are so many people who lose their loved ones every single day....

i don't experience loss every single day.....
but when i do, it touches my heart in a way that only i can see....
for they are MY feelings....
and they live inside me.....
however, do you know what i would give to stand on a stage.... with a microphone....
kind of like Forrest Gump did in his movie.... in front of everyone talking about Vietnam.... (only i'd want my microphone to not be ripped out of the speaker)....
i'd want to stand in front of that many people.... multiple times....
and tell them about what it's like to be on an oncology floor.
i want to tell them all the things that everyone told me when they knew they were dying....
they all said the same things, but they all said them so differently....
the couples who were married for many decades....
they all said the same things.....
about the way they loved each other....
they were each other's best friends....
family came before anything else did....
they couldn't imagine anyone else at their side other than that person....
that coworkers didn't matter.
friends helped, but they weren't nearly as great as their loved ones.....
they all said to let the petty stuff go....
and that if you weren't dying, chances are, it was petty....
always let the other one think they're right....
never go to bed angry....
always kiss good night.
and good morning.....

today my heart was heavy,
because although this man, i did not know, was dying,
he was still dying.....
and he is young....
and only married for 2 short months, but together for so many years....
he has fought an incredibly long and hard battle with cancer,
and i know the pain that their family is about to feel....

so when someone asks me time and time again, "why did you choose oncology?"....
this is exactly why....
because there is so much more to learn from these people than anyone else will ever get to see....
because one day, i dream of standing before tons and tons of people and sharing these messages with them....
touching their hearts in a way that someone has touched mine....
it is so much easier said than done, but unless you're going to go work directly with these people, take my word for it....

i chose oncology because of the people who fight like hell to survive.....
for the ones who can't change what they were handed,
but they accept it....
with positive attitudes, and do everything they can to stay alive....
so that they can continue loving.....
i chose oncology because there is so much more to life than my own problems and hang ups....
i chose oncology because if i wasn't there....
who else would take my place?

10 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

To be able to make a difference by being so caring must mean a lot to those you cared for.

sarahjayne smythe said...

This was a beautiful, gorgeous, honest, respectful post that touched me deeply. How blessed you are and thank you for sharing that with us.

Marlene said...

I used to work at a Cancer Center back home. Always had the greatest respect for the nurses on the oncology floor in the adjoining hospital. Truly a rare breed...the kindest out there. Such a stressful job. Thank you for all that you do. Your post really touched my heart today.

Andrea said...

I know I expressed this to you before, but it's people like you who make those of us who ARE there watching our loved one die (to cancer, to Alzheimer's, to any ravaging, heartbreaking sickness or accident) feel like we are not alone and that someone does understand. Thank you, and thank you again! Your choice is our blessing.

DL Hammons said...

Your choice, rather the reasons behind your choice, is one element that defines who you are. The people you help are lucky to have come in contact with you and better off for it...regardless of the outcome of their treatment.

Have a wonderful weekend!

buymebarbies said...

Again, the compassion you have for people is just enormous!!!

Ms. Christina said...

i admire how much compassion you have for people... you're a blessing... and yes one day you will share these messages.

Georgina Dollface said...

A beautiful and sad reminder of life's frailty and how easily we take it for granted.
Although not the same as oncology care, I work in a field which often prompts other people to say "How can you deal with that day in and day out? How can you be so close to that much trauma all the time?" Indeed, my sense of safety and security often gets shaken. Vicarious trauma and burnout are common occupational hazards, but if someone doesn't do this work, who will? - G

Micael said...

Wow... Just wow. I so needed this today. Thank you.

Ally said...

Wow, this was such a powerful post, Ash. I could cry for real :( I have worked on online advertising campaigns and website redesign for oncology drugs. It's such a horrible illness.