Stem Cell Transplant Journal Day 19 – 19 December 2015 (Cancer and Me 60)

20th December 2015 0 By Andy Burrows

Mind numbing day 19 – where nothing actually happened. Here’s how interesting the day was – I resorted to playing patience on my laptop – and I wasn’t even supposed to be working!

Netrophils are 1.9 today – yes, that’s not a typo, it really is 1.9! I was not expecting that at all. Apparently it’s not unusual, though, but is still being seen as good news. For a start it means that I don’t have to have the daily GCSF injection in my tummy (which has got bruises all over it from daily jabs). It’s that GCSF growth factor that has led to the fast multiplication of cells. In fact, that’s what it’s for. So the fact I won’t be having it tonight means that the count may fall a little bit over the next few days. But so long as the count stays above 1.0, so they say, they are happy.

My hair is coming out in bits and pieces, which means I now have that patchy look-there’s-someone-who’s-obviously-had-chemo kind of look. I’ll see how it goes over the next couple of days before I systematically start to try to get rid of all of it and tidy it up to a nice shining bald head.

And, whilst I couldn’t manage the sandwich I ordered for lunch, I managed to eat more than half my plate of cottage pie for dinner AND some apple crumble and custard. Yay!

Apart from that it’s been boring.

Still, there’s always time to reflect. My reflection today is that, just because there is always someone in a worst state of suffering than we are does not mean that our pain (whatever it is) is insignificant.

I’ve had people say to me before, when telling me about their ailments, illnesses, tough situations, “I know it’s not anywhere near as bad as what you’ve been through.” I get the impression they feel bad complaining about their situation to someone who seems to be facing something quite tough. But I don’t see it that way.

Whatever your pain is, whoever you are – whether you’re rich, poor, good, bad, male, female, Christian, atheist, Muslim – your pain hurts you, and I’m not going to belittle it. Whether you are suffering with a broken leg, the flu, a toxic relationship, a marriage breakdown, redundancy, a bereavement, a legal battle, or whatever, or whether it’s terminal cancer, permanent disablement, war or crippling financial loss, I will still sympathise, because whatever the pain is, I know it hurts. It obviously hurts at the time, and often the pain leaves scars that linger.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a sense of perspective. Perspective is a big thing in my worldview, which you can read about elsewhere on my website (here and here especially). But apart from that big picture perspective, which insures your perseverance against every disaster, we all need the perspective that says, “it could be worse”, or “there are lots of people worse off than me”. And we need the perspective that says, “honestly in the context of life, what is this? A little blip? A minor bump? It’ll all be forgotten next year…”, and the perspective that says, “what is going to change by worrying and getting upset over it?” and so on.

But on the flip side, I think we ultimately need to be sympathetic to everyone who experiences any hurt or pain whatsoever, and help them in whatever way we can, whether they have that sense of perspective or not. That’s partly because there is not a single person on earth who will not suffer some pain or hurt at some time in their lives – you will not be exempt. And you will get to know how uplifting it is to experience the sympathy of friends, the love of family, and the awesomeness of random magnanimous gestures from people you don’t even know.

In the meantime, why not be one of the givers?

How much does it cost you to say a sympathetic word to someone, rather than a harsh word or a sneer behind their back? Why not try to make them feel positive rather than secretly dissing their lack of perspective?

Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” (Matthew 6:16, emphasis mine).

However, I know I’m preaching to the converted with my readers. What I’m reflecting on really is the huge amount of love, sympathy and support that I, and my family, have received while I’ve been in hospital for my stem cell transplant; and the way that we’ve been uplifted and blessed through that. There are people worse off than us, and you know that, and yet you are still there taking the time to send us kind messages, give help (those geographically closer) and give gifts.

I just wish that everyone in the world, whatever the size of their troubles, could experience that amount of love. What kind of world would that be? Could it be a foretaste of that big picture perspective that I was referring to earlier?