Harbouring Hope

30 years ago my father was given 6 months to live when he was diagnosed with cancer. He lived for 7 months. At the time I was absolutely amazed at how close the oncologists estimations had been – how God-like they seemed to me that they could estimate a person’s lifespan. That was until I was talking to a friend many year later who pointed out “How do you know that he wouldn’t have lived longer if he hadn’t been told that?”

Cancer can rob a person of so many things:

  • Their health
  • Their job
  • Their security
  • Their self-confidence
  • Their dignity
  • and potentially their life

Sometimes the only thing that people have got left to keep hold of is HOPE. Yet, it incenses me every time that I hear of someone trying to rob a cancer sufferer of this one valuable commodity. They say that “Hope Can Move Mountains” and yet when most of these people have a conversation with a GP, a nurse and sometimes even a MacMillan nurse, these health professionals seem absolutely determined to quash that hope. It’s almost as if they are afraid of it?

I understand the premise of “managing expectations”, so give your medical opinion – once. But there’s really no need to repeat to someone that “You do realise that you’re going to die, don’t you?” or that they will never walk again, literally three or four times during one conversation (I’m not exaggerating – this has happened numerous times in the last few weeks with various healthcare professionals). That’s not ‘managing expectations’ – in fact, isn’t it more akin to brainwashing?

I know that once a person gives up, then it is ‘Game Over’, but (if and when that happens) that should be on that person’s terms – not having it forced upon them by people who are supposed to be ‘caring’ for their health. More so, I believe that HOPE belongs to that individual and I strongly believe that nobody should have the right to take that away.