Cancer is Not a Singular Experience, It’s Plural!
Whether it is adult cancer or Childhood Cancer, no matter how much it feels as if we are going through it alone, nothing could be further from the truth!
When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t only affect that specific individual, it affects many, and this is never truer than when it is a child that has been diagnosed with cancer.
The child is not the only one going through everything that this horrible disease causes – the parents, siblings, other family members and friends of the child and parents also experience it.
NOBODY escapes the scourge of cancer once it hits a family – nobody escapes unscathed!
Cancer is not a singular experience, it’s plural. I know this to be true because as a Survivor myself, I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it first-hand. Even when someone is diagnosed and going through treatment all by themselves, they’re not really alone. There are others involved. The doctors, nurses and medical staff are there to offer not only medical help, but also support, advice, and more…
While I was single and mostly going through this ordeal by myself though (much of it because I am the type of person who needs to deal with challenges on my own and in my own way), the amount of support that I received from friends, locally and internationally, and friends of friends who I did not even know, was Phenomenal!! It also made me realise that even though it was MY fight, there were times when I gratefully accepted help because I was too weak to do otherwise, and there were times when I had to swallow my pride and ask for help!
Whether you know it or not, there are others who may or may not have the same type of cancer as you/your child – They are pulling for you. When it comes to Childhood Cancer, there is even more support from total strangers – other “Onco Parents” who have been or are going through the same experience, and anyone who knows them…
Cancer has a way of binding people together and causing them to feel empathy toward one another. We are a rare breed, those who’ve gone before you – we understand the difficulties you will face; we know there will be days when you’ll feel like giving up, but you won’t because somewhere inside, there’s a natural instinct to survive.
You may not see any evidence of the fact that you’re surrounded by others, but know that it is so! Each person touched by cancer cares – we know that cancer quickly teaches on that it has the power to discourage, demean and destroy a life – it wants you to think you’re the only one, that you’re alone and that no one cares, but we do! We all do! And some of us care more than others.
The next time you are feeling isolated or alone in your battle, remember that you are not alone – we are here – all you have to do is reach out!
Cancer is a demon; Childhood Cancer even more so, as it attacks innocents who have not even had a chance to enjoy life – and one that you should not take on alone – use every resource available to you to get you and your child through the nightmare!
As a parent of a Child with Cancer you need to ensure that you are strong and healthy enough to endure the long haul, and for that you need help!
Find someone to talk to – you will be surprised at how much just talking about what you are going through helps – and if you speak to an “Onco Parent” who has gone through the same fight as you, they will know exactly what to say to help.
In Africa we have a saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”
In a South African context this proverb is extricably linked to the value or principle of “Ubuntu”. People have different interpretations of this value but the key message to take from this value is that no one is an island and we should care for the welfare of others like we do for ourselves.
“Ubuntu is a philosophy that considers the success of the group above that of the individual.” Stephen Lundin- Ubuntu!
The word ‘Ubuntu‘ originates from one of the Bantu dialects of Africa, and is pronounced as uu-Boon-too. It is a traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation with the world.
According to Ubuntu, there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities.
Or as the Zulus would say, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu”, which means that a person is a person through other persons. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others.
The South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as:
“It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong.
It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion.
A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share.
Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole.”
So, the moral of the story – make use of the philosophy of Ubuntu – allow others to help you in your battle against the beast Cancer – you are not alone!
Cancer is Not a Singular Experience, It’s Plural!