I thought I was a fairly sensitive guy, being aware of the needs of the people around me – my partner, my son and extended family, and my work colleagues. Being aligned with the hospitality industry makes the concept of good service one that is at the forefront of one’s mind.
However when a bump on the side of my face appeared, it took me a long time to have it investigated, despite urgings from my partner Sue and several friends. I didn’t want to make too much fuss. In reality, I was rather insensitive to my needs, and it may have been advantageous to have the testing and biopsies carried out earlier.
In hindsight, we were glad that we didn’t ask too much detail about lympho-epithelial carcinoma, its properties, effects, tumour removal and subsequent radio and chemotherapies, let alone the many other associated procedures. The surgeons and hospital staff judged the amount and depth of information perfectly. Our sensitivities might not have handled ‘information overload’, as we were very vulnerable at that time.
The hospital support staff recommended we contact the Cancer Society and we admit we wished we had done so much earlier. My pride, belief and desire to travel the path based on our own strength was misguided. Some things are just beyond you, and we found in the people and the services offered by the Cancer Society of enormous help. An ear to listen, strategies for coping, warmth and genuine care, as well as wonderful massages. And importantly, hope for the future. Above all there was understanding. There was far more sensitivity from the people at the Cancer Society than can be imagined.
We’re in a much happier place now, and to reach the destination, a lot of good people have helped us on the way, particularly those at the Cancer Society. After an encounter with cancer, you do see things differently and the priorities change. Loved ones and family come to the fore. Commerce and material things move back. I’d like to think I was a more sensitive guy.