Working in an oncology office has been a soul opener. Is that a saying? I think it should be a saying. As a refresher for you all, in the last year, I have been primarily working as a patient navigator. We assist the patient in making any and all appointments they need, which I might add is a rare perk in a doctor’s office. Consultants in Medical Oncology and Hematology offers the best patient care. We’re nationally recognized in case you wanted to know.
Practice plugs aside, I can’t help but be affected by the conversations I have had with patients. It sounds cold of me to say, from time to time when it’s really busy, I get caught up in the hustle and bustle and don’t pay much attention to what they’re saying. I get frustrated like any office worker would and I need to remind myself who I am doing these tasks for. I am helping a sick person in need. When I remind myself of this, I am able to open myself to experiences. Just the other day I had one of those “put life in perspective moments.”
There’s a patient who I have become familiar with in the last year or so. He’s an older man. He’s pleasant when he sits at my desk and he’ll crack a joke or two. The other day he was telling me that he’s doing really well. I told him how awesome that was and he thanked me. He said, “You know how I deal with this? I laugh. What else can we do? We’ve got to smile and make light of some things. Since I’ve been diagnosed, I never wanted to be that guy that people say, ‘oh, here he comes, he’s going to talk about his cancer.’ I don’t whine about it. It’s something I’ve got to face. That’s life.” “It’s true,” I said. I nodded and smiled at him. “Take care of yourself sweetheart,” he said as he left.
The remainder of the week, that short conversation stuck with me, so much so that I felt the need to blog about it. What I took away from it was, we are not our struggles. How we handle our struggles, that’s who we are. No matter the weight of the struggle, remember to laugh. Remember to put effort into finding the joy in the mundane and in our interactions with others. As hard as it may be, we must face our battles head on. When we need help, ask for it. Wallowing in self-pity will only isolate us.
My miscarriage was a natural occurrence and, overall, I am a healthy, young person. This old man who has lived a lot more life than me, is now fighting to live it longer because of cancer. He can find the strength to laugh and fight his battle, so we should all be able to do it. I can be dramatic. Those closest to me will have no problem telling you that. At times, I have been known to dramatize the simplest hiccups and I know that’s a flaw I need to work on. Working on that can ultimately help me handle bigger bumps in the road, such as my miscarriage. The past seven months have been a lesson in learning to focus better on the good in my life. This patient reaffirmed my quest to be a more positive thinker even in times of distress. Occasionally, I need that kick in the right direction. Maybe some higher power knew I was struggling with something in my head that day and that patient came to me for a reason.
All of the patients that pass through are an inspiration to me and I am constantly reminded to life into perspective. They’re an inspiration in how to fight battles. Their determination and will can be applied to any struggle, both big and small.