Then, of course, there are those that last about six months on average from a survey of almost 200 women and men who have or had breast cancer. Those that were only there for what they could get go first. Followed by the well-meaning not my monkey not my circus crowd that can’t handle being around you, the patient.
They have no understanding of the barbaric procedures you cry through monthly and sometimes weekly, the shame you feel when you see your disfigured body in the mirror while a voice once filled with love and now hatefully wishes for you to ‘hurry up and die, bitch”. You take refuge wherever you can find it, a friend’s home, you’re family, a closet with lots of blankets to hide away. Any place that can for the moment feel safe. Hoping to one day find a spot to stay in and still feel safe. Safe from the eyes of those watching with a smile. Enjoying every agony you face while never truly caring about you or your children.
There will be some that make it through the tried and true. These souls, these human beings don’t want anything from you but your love. They care for you beyond measure and feel your pain with you, not against you. They will wrap their arms around you even from a distance you can feel their embrace, knowing they are true, real, and genuine human beings. Knowing that they are willing to walk the journey with you, and all the difficulties it brings with it, knowing that no one gets off easy and for all will include years of treatment and monitoring. It doesn’t end quickly, and that is too much for some. They can not stomach the patient’s reality. The loss of memory, the days when the pain is so bad your temper has not gauge, and the ones that are gold. The days you can spend with the tried and true knowing they love you despite it all and nothing would change that. You give them your heart and trust them with it, and your secrets knew they would never betray you or break your heart. Unlike those that leaving wounds that bleed every time their name is mentioned, or their deeds haunt your nightmares.
Sometime in the last century, the majority of humankind has seemed to stop caring about life. About how what they do or say can inflict wounds that never heal, they simply act as reminders to never trust, never tell the truth of what is going on. Don’t talk about “treatments” we all know you should be “over it” right after the first surgery.
Perhaps it is our error. Those of us still in active treatment, still hoping we can make it to the golden five-year mark and then hope for beyond. Personally, I want to live to see my great grandchildren come into this world. I only hope and pray it is better for them than it is for us, now.
**The Patient is an ongoing short story with real life events from breast cancer patients and patients with PMPS, post-mastectomy pain syndrome.