I prayed I would learn how to be patient, and the first thing that happened was I was made to wait. ~Kat Caverly
Being “patient” has taken on a whole new meaning now that I added “cancer” in front of it. I love the vagaries of the English language. Patient, as a noun, means a person under medical care, and as an adjective means, “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint” – Merriam-Webster. Never did the word mean starkly both to me until I added “cancer patient” to my resume.
I need to be patient with my cancer. I need to be patient with my treatments. The body needs 5-6 weeks to acclimate to anything new. I am just finished with my seventh week of bi-weekly chemotherapy and I am amazed how good I feel on this Fourth Cycle -Day 4. The Second Cycle was the hardest. The Third Cycle was the strangest. Starting over again with a new chemo drug for the next four cycles comes with new concerns, and a couple new side-effects.
Most of all I need to be cancer patient, in the literal sense. There is a special kind of patience that is needed when you got cancer. And a girl has to use what she’s got.
I have to be more deliberate, more intentional in my thoughts and actions. This has had the unexpected outcome of a more focused mind, very clear thinking. Be Patient demands a slower pace reminding me of mime movement, controlled and interesting to watch. As the great master Marcel Marceau himself told me in one of his classes, “Ordinary movement is not interesting to look at.” But one morning I woke up and felt like I woke up in someone else’s body.
As a patient, in the medical sense, I have the duty to get to know everything about my new condition, and its ever-changing landscape. Once I acclimated to the first round of chemo drugs, there have been ever increasing spans of time I feel almost normal.
Me: Doctor, will I feel normal after the chemotherapy treatments are over?
Doctor: Of course.
Me: Great! I’ve always wanted to know how it felt to be normal!
You might ask what is normal anyway. I think normal is a very personal concept when most are really just trying to figure out how most other people feel. I have never been at all good at guessing how other people feel. So I never expect anyone to feel like me about anything, emotionally or physically.
So I must be patient with other people, with their cancers or their lack of them. Though lack of knowledge never has stopped any of us from having an opinion about anything, including how anyone else should or should not feel about practically everything, it is hard to ever hear anyone tell me how I should feel now as a cancer patient.
I guess I will have to be cancer patient with them too.