Oct 29, 2016

How kindness has got me through cancer....

To me, kindness is the most beautiful thing on the planet.
I never realised this before cancer. Sure I appreciated kindness, when someone gave me something for no reason, or offered to help me, I'd think wow, they're a nice person and move on with my life. I myself would give a birthday present, or offer a small amount of help to those who needed it. I thought I was kind because I'd give my loose change to a homeless person or offer my seat to an elderly person on the bus.

Now, it affects me to my very core, the simplest thing can reduce me to tears and the tiniest thing that someone does for me is now unforgettable, it's like my senses to kindness have heightened. Maybe it's because I know first hand how much kindness can literally change your day or change your life. Since getting diagnosed with cancer, I'm not lying when I say it's the kindness of other people that have got me through this, that have kept me strong and positive.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I received donations from people, whatever amount it was I was honestly blown away, every single one, I couldn't believe. That gave me the ability to quit my job and concentrate on my treatment and recovery, something I never could have done without those acts of kindness and donation from others.

But sometimes it's not about money. Sometimes it's the person who rings to check you're okay because they remembered you had an appointment. Or it's the person who offers to drive you to that appointment because they know you won't be able to manage it, even though it takes up their whole day, we're talking 8 hours in a cancer ward here (shoutout to my sister who comes to every single chemo appointment with me) or the friend who has cancer herself and the last thing she needs is any more time or any more memories of the chemo ward, but comes along to support you anyway.

It's that person who looks you in the eyes and gives you a great big smile, not a pitiful or an embarrassed smile, but a big genuine smile when you're walking past them at the supermarket with your bald head on full display.

It's the woman who comes up to you in Ikea and says they wish they could be as brave and beautiful as you and wear a neon pink wig out in public. When you only wore it that day because you felt so damn ugly and you the only wore it because you couldn't face the stares from the hundreds of shoppers if you wore nothing on your head.

It's the person who cooks your favourite meal and brings it round the day after chemo so you don't need to worry about cooking, the person who brings your children home from School, so you don't have to try and cover up your steroid fuelled acne or put an itchy wig on when you're stuck in bed the whole week after chemo.

It's the friend you call when you're sitting on your toilet seat crying your eyes out because you feel like giving up, that you might not be able to get through another round. The person who lent you a bag full of books when you were stuck in bed and all you could really do was read.

It's the friend who buys you a gift voucher to your favourite shop because you have no clothes that fit you any longer, because you've had one of your boobs chopped off. It's the cousin you haven't spoken to in England for years who sends you a parcel full of beautifully wrapped presents that are all picked to help you through it.

It's the flowers from your partner when you've had a tough time, or the housework, without saying a word, just doing it because he knows it'll be bugging you and you can't physically do it.

It's my daughter who tells me she doesn't want me to carry her school bag because she doesn't want my bones to hurt, it's my son telling me I look beautiful when I had to shave my head.

I could list hundreds of different instances like this, from all the loving people I'm surrounded by and everyone who has made an effort to help me, just because they care.

I honestly think that kindness is the most attractive quality in a person. When you do something for no other reason than to help or enhance somebody elses life, it's just magic. It has certainly made me so much more conscious of my own actions. Now when I see someone who needs help I won't just offer in a nonchalant way, I'll do it anyway. I won't wait around for someone to ask for help because who ever actually asks for help? It's probably one of the hardest things to do and you'd probably rather just do it yourself than put yourself in a vulnerable position. I will be more empathetic and more aware of how I can help someone. Whether that's to somebody who's doing it tough, to a new mum or anyone who just needs a few kind words. Maybe it's because I realised that throughout this crazy life, when we're faced with the prospect of not being here anymore, no one will remember what you said or what you wore, they'll remember how you made them feel. (Yes I know that sounds exactly like the famous Maya Angelou quote, but she's right). People and friendships and connections are all that really matters and that's what you should invest your time in.

And the thing is, it's contagious and it actually does make the world a better place.

So thank you to every single one of you who has helped turn this horrible situation into something easier and something more positive. And please, next time you see an opportunity to help someone or someone who needs a little extra kindness, take the opportunity, you never know how much it could mean to them, or when you might be the one who needs it.


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