Tag Archives: Cancer


This inspired by a Daily Post starter, at
Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger- Photographers, artists, poets: show us KINDNESS.

Through years of enjoying success and satisfaction as a teacher, I suppose I’ve carried out many acts of kindness without actively thinking of them as such – just doing my job for kids in need. But I recall on two occasions I went out of my way to offer a kindness to strangers.

The first was back when my son was in critical care at hospital as a car crash victim, when we nearly lost him. The hospital had a sort-of hostel for the families of patients not living in the city. While at the hostel everyone automatically made friends with other families under similar  strains. I enjoyed the company of another husband and wife there to support their adult som who was suffering from leukaemia, but who was frightened enough of cancer to believe it was inevitably fatal, and therefore no point in accepting the therapies offered. The Mum and Dad were beside themselves – their young man, a parent himself, was slipping downwards every day.

That night I sat in my room and wrote him a letter. In it I “growled” him for letting his children see him give up. I growled him for letting “these microscopic evil little cells” beat him without a fight. I told him how I had survived melanoma, from the source cell through eight metastases, the final being to a vertebra. I told him I had had radio therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy (which required me to subcutaneously inject myself in the stomach wall with Roferon three times a week for three years). I told him that although my oncologist had appparently thought I would be dead in seven years, here I was ten years later still living a good life. I remember writing something like “How dare you give up and let your children see you are too afraid to fight for them.” I wrote the equivalent of an A4 page, I think.

His parents read the letter, and next day took it and read it aloud to him. He apparently held onto it, and must have read it through over again. When they visited him the followingmorning, he had just returned to his ward bed from his first chemotherapy session. Over the next few weeks, they reported, he continued his therapies, began eating better meals, and “started the fight”. They told me that my letter was always with him.
If it did help him fight back. my letter did what I wanted it to achieve.

The second time, I was in a hospital bed as apatient. Across the room was a young mother who was being taken into self-protective custody and detoxification after trying to commit suicide while on an alcoholic binge (one of many; alcoholism was her demon). We who shared her room were so pleased when she finally agreed to go. I asked my hubby to buy a pretty greeting card without a message – I wanted to wite a personalised message for her, to build her up for what would be a life battle. I still have the scrap of paper on which I scribbled out what I wanted to say on behalf of we three women who were saying goodbye with hope.

“Dear V.,
When times feel bad, remember
the spirit of the Lord flows deep within us all;
take a pause,
and draw up that spirit
from the well within.
God bless you and give you the strength
to always let your children see you
“fighting” for a complete and fulfilling life
as a strong and healthy mother and woman.”

Looking back now, it seems a bit “corny”. But that evening the other two women in the ward asked if they might sign it too. When V. read it, she wept, and so we all had an excuse to hug and hold her, to encourage her to stay strong and win her fight.

It was her only card she took away with her to the rehab ward.