Emotional Storm


I watched a television programme recently about Irish patients with cancer. Any journey with cancer is an emotional roller coaster and this programme was no exception. My emotions were completely raw by the time it was over. One particular scene strongly resonated with me and brought back a memory I’d completely forgotten about.

The programme did not make for easy viewing. If you had recently been diagnosed with cancer or had suffered a bereavement, I would imagine it must have been very difficult to watch. We were not spared the stark reality of cancer. One fine lady with a wonderfully positive outlook on life, was given the news that she had advanced terminal cancer which was inoperable. She amazed me in the way she took this terrible news totally in her stride. She died a few short months later. We watched another elderly man who had been diagnosed with rectal cancer, undergo pre-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumour before surgery could proceed. Thankfully in his case, his operation was totally successful and no further treatment was required. It was his return home that resonated with me. As I watched him sit down in his favourite armchair while his wife went to put the kettle on, I witnessed him experience the realisation of how good it felt to be finally safely home.

When I returned by air last year following complex surgery in the UK, I will never forget the emotional storm which took me completely by surprise as the wheels of the plane touched down. I’m not particularly patriotic about my country of birth but on this occasion I was never so glad to be back in Ireland. In preparation for the surgery, I had put meticulous plans in place so that life would run as smoothly as possible during my absence from home. Any thoughts on the experience that lay ahead never went further than hoping for a successful outcome to the surgery. It was a particularly risky operation but all went well thanks to the expertise of the surgeon involved. My post-op stay in the NHS hospital also went smoothly and before I knew it, the day arrived when I had to make the long journey home. Unfortunately, I became unwell on the way from the hospital to the airport and had to be wheelchair boarded on to the plane. This experience taught me a great deal about the difficulties faced by disabled people in dealing with the ignorance of those lucky enough to be able bodied. I found the flight home exhausting and it was a relief to see the night-time landing lights come into view. As the plane touched down, I was overcome with emotion and burst into tears. I think at that moment I had the same realisation that the elderly man with cancer had experienced. I’d been able to plan ahead for most eventualities but the one thing I hadn’t contemplated, was the enormity of the relief to have survived the ordeal. I can’t tell you how good it felt to be home.

5 Responses to Emotional Storm

  1. Caoimhin says:

    The blessings of good health should never be taken for granted.

  2. Roy says:

    Strange…… how the old sod gets into our blood eh?

  3. Grannymar says:

    There is no place like your own home and bed.

  4. Baino says:

    I don’t know which is worse, knowing you are going to die or dying suddenly. I know the effect on the family is the same. My father died of cancer . . .mercifully quickly and relatively pain free . . my mother in a car accident, my husband at home after a heart attack at 35 years of age. Me . . I am absolutely prepared. We must be cut from the same cloth Steph, everything is in place whether it’s a sudden demise or slow.

  5. Steph says:

    Oh, Baino

    You’ve been through so much – I’m sorry.

    You know, people tend to think about adversity purely in terms of loss. I believe that adversity teaches us a great deal and brings a totally new dimension to life.

    It’s easy to know someone who’s been there, ‘cos they’ve got that special something.
    And believe me, Baino, you’ve got it in droves! 😀

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