My Granddad was a stubborn man. He lived all his life on his terms. He was not the type of man who would take things lying down. He was always ready for a fight when he knew he was right. He had lived a full life, surrounded by people he loved and giving to them of his abundant love.
And then, something happened. He began to lose weight. We had a whole battery of tests done and they indicated nothing out of the ordinary.
He had never been a very heavy person, so the doctors put it down to one of the inevitable consequences of ageing. The body was restoring itself to its original structure. That was two years ago. One year later, he fell ill again and the doctors, even then, could not detect anything alarming and so put it down to “an infection”. And that was how we continued to bask in his love, and he continued to love us without a care in the world. But the Cancer continued to proliferate in his body, invisibly, insidiously and inexorably.
What consumes your mind controls your life. What if we had known that he had been afflicted with cancer and that he had only months, perhaps only weeks to live? He would certainly have fought tooth and nail. He would definitely have railed and ranted against the disease and he would absolutely have refused treatment. He would have been conscious of his departure and he could have turned bitter towards all. We would have treated him differently, perhaps fawning excessively over him, perhaps avoiding him altogether. Maybe we would have forced him to undergo the terrible consequences of chemotherapy and inflicted more pain and suffering on him, all the while hoping for the best and secretly preparing for the worst. Cancer would have consumed our minds and controlled our lives.
What really happened was that we got the cancer diagnoses literally days before he passed away. In April this year he had difficulty breathing. By the time we could convince him to get admitted it was the 9th of May. And he passed away on the 20th. Lung cancer was the initial diagnoses but he died of kidney failure that triggered multiple organ failure. So the oncologist believes maybe it was renal cancer that metastasized and spread to the lungs. We didn't do an autopsy so we won't ever know.
We got to know 4 days before and we shifted him to do more tests to investigate further. But we never got to do those tests. He never knew he had cancer. I think if he had known it would have broken him and we wouldn't have had the time that we did.
Initially there was a period of shock and disbelief that this could happen to us. But in time we were really thankful that it happened the way it did. And I think the fact that we didn't know was a real blessing. He didn't suffer at all. Ignorance was bliss. We didn't treat him differently in his last few days. All he wanted was to have us around all the time.
A strong support system is essential. Understanding what is happening with the body makes it a little easier to cope. You can't just let the doctors prescribe a treatment without understanding what the problem is. And most doctors don't take the time to explain the details. As educated people we have the resources to read and learn But so many people have no idea. And it's that feeling of helplessness that then consumes your mind and controls your life.
Be the gatekeeper of your mind. Be vigilant. Be conscious of the thoughts that you permit passage to and be the master of your destiny. We come from the Unified Spirit and unto It we return. May our brief sojourn through this world spread some joy, some cheer and many smiles.