If Not Now, Then When?

63% of people have had a family member or close friend with cancer.   Now it is my turn to join that statistic.

I’m sitting in a room I didn’t ever expect I would be in. It came out of the blue, like an unnoticed house guest who stays way too long without an official invite. It is not a polite guest. It is cruel, uncaring and insensitive to what plans you may have had.

I’m here to support a loved one, dealing with the physical and emotional trauma of a disease that decided to take up home in her body.

Until that day three months ago, her body albeit aged served her well. Gym and swimming three times a week, football with the grandchildren and a healthy array of vegetables from her well-tended allotment. But then what? Within a day, those plans, those dreams were changed. Maybe not forever, but for some months while this disease becomes a priority. Days spent in hospital wards, drips of chemicals in the arm. What of the plans? What of the dreams?

As I look around at the room of surprisingly happy, positive people, I firstly wonder if I would be as positive in the same situation.  I am full of admiration and respect for both the patients and the staff who work tirelessly to make everyone comfortable.  It also reminds me of the need to never take a single moment for granted. Never take a loved one for granted. Be present in every moment, savour every taste, breath and experience we have been blessed to receive. And if you have a dream, don’t wait. Pursue it. Dare to dream big.  You decide your fate, don’t let lack of health decide for you. It’s an expression thrown around -‘look after your body, it’s the only one you have to live in’, but believe me, you miss it when it’s gone.

The time is now. The time is yours.

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