Monday, September 29, 2008

Best Thing About Cancer

A blog reader asked, "What's the best thing about having cancer?"

I think cancer has brought out the best in my friends and family. To put it another way, it's made me see the best in my friends and family.

I have some friends who were ostracized after being diagnosed with cancer or other terminal illness. They stopped getting invitations to dinner parties. Their friends stopped calling. I know people who were abandoned by their family and friends while going through a divorce or other difficult times. I just don't get it.

When I was diagnosed, I had virtual strangers come out of the woodwork offering to make me meals, take me to chemo, take the kids out so I could rest... to the point that I felt bad turning people down all the time.

I suppose I could congratulate myself for attracting the kind of people who would help, not abandon, a friend in need, but I really don't know what I've done to deserve such kind treatment. In fact, I've probably seemed quite ungrateful and unappreciative at times and still nobody seems to hold it against me.

So... to answer the question... cancer has renewed my faith in the goodness of people. I've always been a cynic, but I have to say now that I'm a convert. I now believe that human beings are inherently good; they just need the opportunity to show it and the benefit of the doubt. That's the best thing about having cancer - getting the chance to see the goodness in people around me.


Alanna said...

My dad has Alzheimer's disease. It's agonzing for our whole family, but it has really restored myf aith in people. He's had some many people reach out to him; it is really moving. And even out in public, people are just so consistently kind when he moves slowly or gets confused. I didn't know strangers could be so kind.

Shin said...


I think you, your father, and I have been the lucky ones though.

I've mentioned before that I've known people who were abandoned by family and friends or treated badly by strangers due to their illness. I wonder what such treatment does to their faith in people.

I guess it's easy for me to go on about how wonderful human beings are because I see examples of it all around me. I wonder how I'd feel about my fellow man if I were ostracized by all our friends.