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Friday 13 December 2013

Cruelty of Cancer: Beyond the Sufferer

When someone is diagnosed with cancer it has a profound affect on their lives, their outlook and frame of mind. Regardless of the prognosis, having cancer is a life-altering experience. There is the constant fear that the disease will end up costing that person their life or, if they recover from it and are given the all clear, that it will come back. As it should be, the sole focus becomes the victim. Families and friends rally round in support, united in fear. Medical professionals and experts such as Brosch Direct are on hand to help the victim with the cancer battle. The world seems to stop as the diagnosis is made and the treatment takes place.

But what about the family and friends? The people who surround the sufferer often have their own battles, which they are trying to conceal. They try so hard to hide their fear, upset and concern, to focus solely on supporting the victim in the best way they can.

What friends and family have to go through was really brought to light in a Sunday supplement this weekend. The Sunday newspaper I favour, also includes a weekly magazine containing fashion, lifestyle and human-interest stories. This edition included a piece from photographer, Angelo Merendino.

A four-page spread detailed his wife Jennifer’s cancer battle and the pain he experienced watching the woman he loved slowly fade away. Jennifer experienced two battles with cancer - the second round resulted in her death. She was keen for her husband to capture each step of the treatment and how they came to terms with the illness in the hope that it would support other sufferers. The photos were also included in the article.

It became apparent when reading the piece that although Jennifer excepted the fact she was going to die, her husband never did - he was so committed to supporting her, being strong for her and putting his emotions to one side to concentrate solely on the woman he loved. The piece did not take away the plight of Jennifer’s battle or her incredible bravery but it did raise questions as to how those around victims cope.

Families have to watch someone they love slowly die or at least lose a part of themselves to an illness. They often feel helpless with the only thing they can do is hold their loved-ones hand through the worst times.

With any big life change or bereavement there are people who can offer advice and counseling services but perhaps the family and friends of cancer sufferers need more acknowledgement and understanding in the long term? Once the battle is over the thoughts lay entirely with the victim rather than how the family will cope with what they have experienced and the aftermath. Cancer is a cruel disease that changes the life of the sufferer and those who love them.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84
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