As I entered my office, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. I knew that a cancer patient would be entering our office and I had NO CLUE as to how I would react to her case. My brother is the practioner and so I figured, “It won’t be so bad because he’s the one that will be helping her.” So as she was being examined, it came down to measuring her for her mastectomy prosthesis and her bras that would help use that prosthetic breast, she asked if it was necessary for him to do that. My brother felt it more appropriate for me to finish her consultation as she felt embarrassed being measured by a male. Just when I thought “I’m off the hook!” WRONG. So I went on to measure her and helped her out in choosing the best styles to fit her lifestyle.
As hard as I tried not to think of my mom, it was virtually impossible! They had similar cases. Both were survivors of breast cancer, had children and grandchildren. All was going well. I made it through without crying. But then she began to tell us her story and it all went downhill for us. She’s a soft spoken woman and so her voice and her story make it all that much more heart breaking. She mentioned to us that in the beginning she couldn’t even shower or remove her top because she felt like dying of shame. She just didn’t want to get out of bed because it was so depressing. That alone almost made me cry. Hearing the story from her made me feel as if I were hearing it straight from my mother. My brother reacted immediately to her sadness. He told her:
“no oiga. no se sienta así. ¡Usted tiene muchas cosas por cual vivir! Mire a su nietecito chulo. ¿Cómo se va a dar por vencida si tiene a esa carita por cual vivir? ¿Y sus hijos? Sus hijos la necesitan. ¿Qué harían ellos sin usted? No se dé por vencida. Luche contra todo. Solo porque no tiene una parte de su cuerpo, no quiere decir que usted es incompleta porque usted en sí, ¡es la misma persona! Con el mismo ser y el mismo corazón. Así que cuando se sienta decaída, piense en todos los que la quieren y necesitan y solo eso le dará el ánimo para seguir viviendo!
For non Spanish speakers… He told her:
“Mam don’t feel that way! You have a lot of things to live for! Look at your beautiful grandson! How are you going to give up when you have that little face to live for? Your children need you! What would they do without you? Don’t give up! Fight through it all and don’t ever think that because a part of your physical body is missing, that you are incomplete. You are the same person with the same soul and the same heart! So whenever you feel down, think of all those that love you and need you and that should be enough to keep on living!
Those words of encouragement made me want to cry. My eyes welled up with tears because I knew he meant it. Those thoughts were sincere. I know he also thought of ourselves because we're so incomplete without our mom and he doesn’t wish that on anyone else. He is a very cool and reserved type of person. He doesn’t show emotion unless it is too much to handle. Today, he had his eyes welled up in tears but he didn’t break down because it would only make it that much harder on our patient as well on us. Even if right after the patient left, he went back to his “straight to business” mode, I know that he did a wonderful act of kindness. My brothers never cease to amaze me at how wonderful human beings they can be (despite all their imperfections.)
My point is this: If you can provide some encouraging words to others, then do it! You don’t lose anything by encouraging others to feel better about themselves or their situation. It doesn’t hurt to encourage someone who is going through such a serious health issue or even the smallest of things. So long as you encourage them to get through it and keep on fighting! It will only take a few minutes to encourage a person to keep going. So when you see someone down, don’t hesitate to ask if they are okay. If they say something like: “what F**k do you care?!?” Ok then back off! LOL But if it’s someone you know, and that you know even a hug will make their day better, then do it! You never know how much love you radiate in the world if you only took the time to show others that you care.