For the last 3+ months, our lives have changed dramatically. As it has changed, we are also now witness to the many others who have the same journey we have. Each day, whether at home or at hospital, we find ourselves in discussions with other families who are learning this difficult path. When we sit down to eat in the cafeteria or take a walk to a restroom, we encounter the world of cancer. Or if we participate in a conversation in a support group, we often hear of the daily struggles.

Each day, you start with sorting out medications, appointments, new terminology you hadn’t heard before, and new staff brought on board. Connections to your pets, children and spouses change and rely on pictures and phone calls. The world looks different then ever before.

When you start thinking about the overall cost of it all, it is mental, physical, and financial. Mentally you cope as best you can, attempting to live in the moment but your dreams lash you into your subconscious mind. Physically you are exhausted. You find yourself no longer able to wear the same clothes as your weight falls or rises. And body aches from the tension and from sleeping on hospital furniture.

The things you are having to spend money on haven’t been budgeted for. Tanks of gas to and from hospital, to the pharmacy, to the doctors. Money for parking, even at $2 a day drains your pocket. Petcare, eating on the run, and double the number of hairbrushes, hairdryers, and shampoo because you no longer are all in the same place at once. They all add up. And when your income takes a hit from not being able to work, you go back to the mental anguish that enters your dreams.

The loss of another across the hall rings loud throughout the floor. The biggest fear of death is only compounded by all the other stresses. And the floor at the hospital becomes so stressed by all those fears.

This is cancer. This is the life of so many each day. This is not only my life, but too many in this world. So care a little more. Complain a lot less. And live each day to the fullest.

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