Sitting in the atrium of a place where cancer comes to die, you see a myriad of people. All shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities, a whole melting pot of people that are separated by their differences, yet brought together by one single thing: the need for treatment. Short, tall, emaciated, overweight, bald, wearing wigs, scarves or hats. They go about their day and, amazingly enough, they are able to carry on conversations about day to day things. No one is a stranger, here. In this building, and others like it, there is no separation or problems of the world. This is a world unto itself. Isolated but not. Family members wait for loved ones to be treated and spend their time reading or, like the two people next to me, they talk about chickens and how someone has moved to Alaska, leaving their chickens in the care of someone else, permanently. The man talking with the woman is here for his first round of treatment. He voiced this straight away and stated that he didn’t know what to expect. The lady he is conversing with is here with her husband. She’s an old hand at this game and appears to be an ace at keeping this new fellow occupied. There are so many problems in this world and guess what? None of it matters, in the grand scheme. All of these lives are affected by a terrorist attack of a different sort than what the media is sharing. A disease that is as diverse as the people it affects. Cancer does not care if you are the tiniest baby or the oldest of the old. If cancer wants you, it will try and take you. The knowing smiles shared by these people are uplifting in their silent understanding. You pray that you never live to experience this, that your loved ones never know the struggle. Making the best of bad situations is really the only way to handle this season in life.
I am very familiar with the process as my own father died from pancreatic cancer. I hate cancer every day because it stole him from us. God had other plans for him, just like He has for all these people waiting their turn for radiation, chemo or both. Will the treatment work? Who knows? Are there guarantees? Certainly not. Guesses are based on percentages and stages. The odds are weighed and the cards are stacked. Hope is a very important factor in how well these treatments go. Prayer, faith and hope. Tossing in love can’t hurt.