I live in a wonderful place, a small rural village in Somerset, where the sense of community still exists. Farmers still cultivate the land, race through the village on huge tractors with little regard for the laws of the road and on a Sunday they do the same, except on horseback. I know that if I leave our home and forget to close my door, all will be well when I return, because the elderly lady across the road will keep an eye on things and will beat the living crap out of anyone that dares to cross the threshold without an invitation.
So when someone in the community is affected by an illness or is going through tough times, it doesn’t take too long for word to pass round and for people to start to show they care and are there for you. That has happened for me and also for a friend of our family who lives just down the road and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew she was receiving treatment as I had chatted to her husband a few days ago and he had shared that she was finding it tough.
So yesterday as I ventured forth for chemo dose number three, I was part pleased and part surprised to find myself sat next to my friend who was in having her treatment. We chatted, shared sweeties and compared chemo stories as the hours passed by. Her treatment finished and accompanied by her chemo buddies she set off for home. I was left to mull over a few thoughts that really hit me quite hard. First of course is the seeming unfairness of this condition, as it has affected, at the same time, two relatively young, fit, good people. We both have young(ish) families, wonderful partners and great friends that have also been dragged under the c cloud. My second mulling, was how fortunate to date I have been with my ability to tolerate the ill-effects of the chemotherapy treatment. I know we are all different and no two treatments are the same, but sat next to me was a friend and a member of my community who is not so fortunate and is clearly having a tough time. I felt and feel lucky and a tad guilty and I hope that doesn’t read as me being a little self-indulgent, because it’s not meant to.
There isn’t much I can do to make my friend feel better, other than to play my role as a friend and member of our village community. I know that the c cloud will pass over and away from us all soon, as we are strong and supported by those around us. In a while, we will be both be at some village event with our chums, slightly inebriated and having a good time and we will look back and understand how very fortunate we are and have been.