My father was recently diagnosed with cancer, curable thankfully. The whole diagnosis process has made me realize certain things about myself and about society. I realized that nothing in this world is guaranteed, no matter how much we think our parents will always be there to catch us when we fall. I realized that the American healthcare system is a web that no one wants to be caught in, especially a patient who has enough worries. Lastly, I realized the power of family and what it means to have people by your side.
1. My father is a mortal being
It sounds pretty dumb, but children never think that their parents are ever going to get hurt. Why would they? Parents are these invincible superheroes who protect us. Though my father's form of cancer is curable, I was brought to tears thinking about my father as fragile and scared. It comes as a shock that one day our parents will feel pain, and won't be stronger than us. The thought of a parent's mortality makes one feel so lonely and vulnerable, that your mind drifts to accomplishing milestones with none of your loved ones by your side. This led me to cherish the time I have with everyone, not just my dad.
Up until now, I had taken all of my friends and family for granted. I took for granted that they were always there and always cared. Once time is gone, it's gone, and that is the essence of mortality. We are all mortal, though it's hard to remember as a college student joyriding through new experiences. Love your parents and take care of them. Trust me.
2. Having cancer is so much more than just the illness... it's also dealing with American healthcare
The American healthcare system is truly a business that profits off the ill, and showcases the dark side of capitalism. Good health and survival are bought by the rich, and those fortunate to have enough sufficient insurance. An example of this is insulin. Insulin worldwide is the most expensive in the United States. Other countries are able to sell it anywhere from ten to twenty dollars, but America sells it for $140. While my family is fortunate, I think about most people who don't have insurance or are below middle-class. American healthcare is a system of payments that just reminds oneself of the financial toll of being ill. When doctors prescribe a medication, and a pharmacy notifies you that your insurance doesn't cover it, the patient is dragged in circles communicating between doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies.
This stress is something no patient should have to deal with, but that's the reality of American healthcare: chaos with no real answers.
3. Treatment at home is all about support
When my father was diagnosed, family became so much more important. When you have people to support you emotionally, cancer seems so much more approachable. The "We're all in this together" mentality takes tons off the shoulders and creates an environment conducive to healing. To those of you supporting someone who's ill, you need your support system too. By taking care of yourself, you are able to take care of your loved one. Remember that you need to be strong so that people can depend on you, and that begins with having a few friends to keep you smiling and laughing. People that love and support us is what we need at the end of the day.