No Man (or Woman) Is an Island

In Breast Cancer, Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

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No Man (or Woman) Is An Island

I don’t know whether or not you may remember the Joan Baez song titled “No Man Is An Island” but the first four lines of the lyrics are:

“No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man’s grief is my own.”

The first two lines are what I think reflect a person who is dealing with breast cancer. And the third and fourth lines represent those who want to be there to help the patient with whatever is needed.

“Being on the other side where you are watching your loved one deal with cancer and doing everything that you can to help is nothing short of what I believe to be one of the hardest things a person will ever have to face. “Barbara Jacoby

Let’s focus our attention on the patient first. Of course, there are those who believe that they can do anything by themselves but this is one time that such a belief is about to be destroyed. I know this because I was one of those people. I thought that I could go to doctors’ appointments by myself and undergo any testing by myself. I didn’t need anyone else unless they were able to take my tests for me (ha,ha). I was smart enough to listen to the doctor and take away whatever information and/or instructions provided to me. So what was the big deal? After all, I could go to work and head off to my appointment and then head back to the office and barely miss a beat. This worked really well for me the first time. I didn’t need anyone until the day that I was having my lumpectomy since I would have general anesthesia and couldn’t drive myself home.

The first time that made me pause and think a bit was when I was diagnosed with cancer the second time. All went relatively the same until the needle biopsy. The first time, the cancer surgeon was able to do it quickly because of the larger size and the location of the tumor being near the surface. But the second time, there were two small tumors located in the center of the breast and the biopsy would have to be done with ultrasound to locate the tumors and take the samples. That day I drove to work and asked a friend to take me to and pick me up from the appointment and I was sure glad that I did. It took me awhile to recover from the procedure in order to be able to drive home from the office. That’s when I learned my lesson and understood and knew enough that there would be times that I would really need help and that was okay. My illusions of grandeur had finally gone out the window.

Being on the other side where you are watching your loved one deal with cancer and doing everything that you can to help is nothing short of what I believe to be one of the hardest things a person will ever have to face. You want to make things better for the patient. You want to take away the pain. You want to make things all better. You want to do anything you can to help and are frustrated beyond belief when there is absolutely nothing that you can do to relieve the physical and mental stress that the person is experiencing.

Believe me when I say that the person who you are supporting understands and is grateful far beyond any words that could ever be shared for all that you are doing as you help in any manner conceivable. No matter what words or gestures of kindness that are heaped on you, there is absolutely no way to express the depth of gratitude that is felt by a patient for this help and care and love. And no matter the long-term outcome for the patient, she/he would want you to know that you are appreciated so much more than you will ever know and bottom line, that is all that counts..