‘I was protected in a hands of others’
June 12, 2016 - accent chair
The opening to Peter Mac in East Melbourne. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is relocating this month, from the East Melbourne site where it has been given 1990. There is a vast partial of me that wants to bake a aged place down to a ground; for those bark walls and all that they’ve seen to be reduced to nothing. But maybe we also wish to keep some of a rubble … presumably in a locket … tighten to my heart.
Peter Mac treats about 31,000 people any year, some-more cancer patients than any other Australian hospital. Six years ago we was one of them, carrying been diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. we remember articulate afterwards to a smashing co-worker – who upheld divided recently following her prolonged tour with cancer – about the place. “I hatred going there,” she told me, her poetic clever face in a pained grimace. “Too many ill people.”
Yet we found it strangely reassuring. “There are so many people there who are so most sicker than me,” we said, realising as we said the difference that they sounded vicious and mesmerizing in a face of that dim spectrum of illnesses.
Sure enough, my augury had been sincerely certain from a start – just chemotherapy and deviation to get by – though we also felt that once there, we was safe in a hands of others. My weight was lifted.
People pronounce about a courage of those carrying cancer diagnosis or their dauntless battle. we never felt brave, just numb and propitious to be surrounded by a best cancer smarts in a business. we did what we was told. And each time we walked by a hospital’s opening we felt a swirly revolting brew of relief, terror, consolation and respect.
I borrowed a book behind afterwards from a internal library called Stories of Cancer Survivors by Elizabeth Gould. In it, she interviewed a garland of people who had survived opposite forms of cancer and explored some of a threads that bound them.
In one section she wrote about recognising angels among us – people who are not only “nice” though seem sent to us only when we need them. Corny? Definitely. we would have routinely groaned and chucked a book, though I’d already spotted some angels during Peter Mac.
There was a oncologist who’d overwhelmed my arm during a finish of a initial assembly and said, “Well done”, The tea lady who knew exactly a right mark to put your crater in when we were connected to tubes. The volunteer who massaged feet. The splendid gent who did pre-chemo weigh-ins with no judgment. The helper with a New York accent who brightened my most hated day with discuss about dawgs and cawfee and got a needle into my tired veins when others could not. Sometimes a angel was a studious in a chair next to you.
I’m behind during Peter Mac frequently for check-ups and recently to see a cardiologist about teenager heart repairs from a progressing treatment. They have since discovered some-more about safeguarding hearts, investigate that came only a smidge late for me though will assistance others. When we learnt about this bequest effect, we had to go back to one of a watchful bedrooms where we had spent time early on. we looked around and saw so many people so most sicker than me. And we was plunged back to a beginning; that exile sight feeling.
I hid tears behind sunglasses, not wanting to remove my place in a prolonged reserve to have a correct cry in a bathroom. I wondered if those around me suspicion I’d only perceived a cancer diagnosis, when inside we was thinking, “It never ends. It never f—ing ends.”
Soon I’ll go to a new cancer booster – where Peter Mac will reside within the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre – during a tip of Flemington Road. I wonder if that swirling brew of feelings will be same? More and some-more of us will get cancer, tarry cancer and need this place. It never ends. Peter Mac and we are together for life – and we appreciate my oncologist and a tea lady and a angels for that.
Donation link: https://foundation.petermac.org/donate-to- petermac