There’s nothing unique about the physical layout or equipment in Pod D. There’s lots of sterile stuff. And, the nurses’ station with PC’s, pharmaceutical dispensing devices, IV poles, patients’ reclining chairs; and caregivers’ straight back chairs could be found in many other medical settings.
What makes Pod D so different is the emotional environment and the people – staff, volunteers, patients, and caregivers. Their collective attitudes and behaviors have reminded us in this time of personal anxiety, shock, and unknowns of some timeless truths. While the following seem self-evident and hardly worth mentioning – they are in fact priceless if consistently lived out in families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, and businesses.
Here are a few truths that have been reinforced in Pod D:
- Escaping is not optional. Pains, hurts, disappointments, and tears happen in life. We can’t escape them all by blaming others, buying something, or refusing to accept reality. But a positive attitude and mental outlook can be very helpful and healing. Attitude is everything!
- Life is lived through perspective. Being tethered to an IV pole or the toilet for severe side effects of chemo is excruciating. But, amazingly it feels just a little bit more bearable when you meet two brothers sitting side by side and both are getting treatment or a young father eating popsicles from his 3 year olds giraffe insulated cooler to reduce his mouth sores from his 12th chemo treatment. Even a small change in one’s perspective can change his/her outlook on a specific situation and/or life. How many things or people in life have we looked at and never really seen?
- Each step is a step. Treatment, improvement and healing are one step at a time. NO fast track. Sometimes it means reinventing a daily routine or creating a new habit. Sometimes it means celebrating small successes like fewer trips to the bathroom. But every step adds up to a bigger thing. Speed is not as important in life as direction and the will and strength to not stop.
- Walls and fences divide and separate. Pod D has minimized any walls of bias. Patients and caregivers spend little to no time or energy on differences (like the type of cancer one has, gender, ethnicity, age, or economic status) but instead focus on what they are battling in common. Most often we exchange experiences, words of encouragement, some laughter and a few tears. There’s compassion from feeling sorry WITH people not for people.
- The secret to living is giving. A literal army of volunteers serve at the cancer center. Some are survivors. Others have lost a love one to this terrible disease. ALL of them focus on showing they care through simple acts of service. Consider the effect of giving one little word of kindness, a smile, a helping hand, or a moment of truly listening to another person. It could make the difference between a good or bad day for BOTH of you.
- Collect memories not things. In an instance, everything in life can change. The people we have met in Pod D don’t talk about things such as job titles; houses; cars; and expensive electronic devices or clothes. They talk about memories of events and relationships. Stop waiting till tomorrow because schedules will still be jammed and the demands for your time and attention will outstrip your supply. Memories are the long-lasting adhesive that fastens pictures to the walls in our heart and mind. They can bring joy, comfort, and connection for a life-time.
We saved the best ‘truth’ for last. Faith trumps fear. Someone once said, “Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness”. Something positive will come from my wife’s battle with cancer. So after months of chemo treatments, we head cautiously optimistic toward her June 4th Nanoknife surgery near Chicago. We have faith. So, we see light and with it hope.
St. Augustine said it best, “The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.” We challenge you to let these 7 truths from Pod D loose in your life!! They will make the challenging times easier and the good times even better. And, that’s the truth!