Why does this surprise me? Maybe it's because we are always hearing about how prevalent cancer is in our society. What about the 1 in 9 statistic? Certainly I have met a lot more than nine people in my life. Yet, I can't say that even 1% of them have acquired cancer.
I'm often in communication with other cancer patients, as a volunteer or even as patient myself. I suppose when I'm around others like me, I tend to think there are a lot of us out in the world. But now I'm seeing that is not true. We are 1 in 100, or 1 in 200, or 1 in 500 among our family and friends. I suppose this is good news for those who have not been afflicted. And it kind of explains why people clam up, or even change the subject when I start to tell them about my cancer journey. How uncomfortable they become.
Most the people I know seem to be pretty much the same as when they were younger. They have the same habits, and mostly the same interests. They didn't really change all that much, except that they look older. But when I think about all the changes I've been through in the last several years, I'm afraid others may not feel they are in contact with the person they used to know.
So I do what to know – why me? I know it may be a little late for this question, but I still want to know; of all these people – how did I become the one? Although my mother-in-law and cousin have been diagnosed too, my cancer was far more serious than either of them. They have been long over their treatment but I will never be done. I am forced to accept my life of continual monitoring, treatment and a limited lifespan. I know I am only a step away from this worldly life; I can feel it, and part of me actually welcomes it.
As a hospice volunteer, there is an unmistakable place where those who are dying drift towards. It's like an in-between state; sort of between here and "there". I have become very fond of the "there" place. To be able to walk up to the threshold, with my hospice patient holding my hand, is the greatest honor ever.