It is always hard seeing a close friend or family member for the first time after them being diagnosed with an illness of some sort.
The emotions and angst of whether they will look or act the same as they did before the diagnosis or treatment and how your reaction will be to that, internally and physically on the outside. It's hard. Really hard to not slip in to the mode of treating them differently, patronizing them as in all reality they are not a different person.
Well that is how I have felt today, and I need to write it down.
I had been worried about this evening for a few days as we had organised to meet a very close family friend who has been diagnosed with blood cancer and has had a hard time recovering from a serious operation related to it. (more specifically his spine collapsed after the blood cancer effecting it, was basically eating away at his spine, weakening it and then one day it collapsed. This was completely out of the blue as before he/his spine collapsed no one, not even himself thought he was in ill health at all!)
It's terminal, not curable, but he does have time left to spend before the inevitable outcome.
He has to go through grueling treatment just to pro long the battle which in all honesty isn't really a battle. As he puts it himself it is like attempting to drive a car on a busy road with your eyes closed. 99% likely to be the suspected outcome.
Yet he wants to do this to see his young daughter grow up, to in a sense save her life, to not deprive her of a father as long as he is able to. It absolutely melts my heart.
I hadn't seen him since all of the surgery, diagnosis etc although most of my family has. I was scared today that he would look different or not be the same, weak or withdrawn mentally, and it scared me that I didn't know how I would react to that.
I didn't want to show I was upset.Its hard enough for him and his family as it is.
However when we met them I was amazed at how him he was. He was full of life like he has always been, cracking jokes, talking openly when people ask about how he is etc rather than making it the uncomfortable untouched subject that no one wants to bring up or mention.
Although the situation itself realistically has a bad out come, the way in which himself and his family are dealing with it is remarkable, inspiration and shows life is there to be enjoyed not mourned.
Illness and indeed death happen to all of us, yet it is the way in which we deal with it that makes the difference. To cherish life, to make the most of any situation, to love what we have and not what we don't have.
He is amazing for what he has done/is doing, where many others would moan, he embraces the things in life that matter.
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln.