The Coolest Club You Never Wanted to Join

January 6, 2015 Montana Cancer Center at Providence St Patrick Hospital

Providence Cancer Survivorship Blog Guest BloggerBy Monica Best, Guest Blogger  

No, I’m not talking about the Hair Club for Men (or women), although many of us could probably benefit from that. I’m talking about The Cancer Club. 

From the second you walk into the door of your cancer treatment center, you’re initiated as a new member, with all the benefits – good and bad – that membership entails. While I’m sure the bad is pretty obvious: YOU HAVE CANCER. The good can often be overlooked. 

As you cross the threshold of the cancer center’s door, you’re enveloped with caring hugs and compassion. From the reception desk, to the chemo nurses, all the way to your oncologist, you feel you are truly being cared for. In today’s society, many would find this remarkable. 

But, what’s even more remarkable is all the faces looking out from the treatment area. Sitting comfortably in their Lazy Boys, needles and tubes snaking out from their ports, you are utterly shocked at how many people are affected. But, the most remarkable thing is the knowing on their faces. You realize, no matter what else happens, you’ll never be alone again. 

Suddenly, there are welcoming smiles, beckoning you to come sit in the chair next to them. Wow, for someone who was always picked last for teams in school, this was amazing. They liked me, they really liked me. 

No, Monica, they loved you. And, you knew immediately that you loved each and every one of them. We were all in this together. And, even if no one else ever understood, you had your “club.” 

Some might think the treatment area of a cancer center would be in the top 10 most depressing places in the world. But, I don’t think I can remember a time I’ve heard so much laughter and camaraderie. Best part of all, you NEVER have to impress anyone: you don’t need to wear makeup, do your hair (duh, most of us don’t have any) or make up stories about grand adventures you never took. You are on the grandest adventure of your life and these people will never judge you. They accept you just the way you are! 

This acceptance gives you the courage to reach out to others, find new outlets to discuss your journey and find even more friends. 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all puppies and unicorns. Let’s not forget, we have cancer. The toughest part about being in the club: some of us will get sicker. Cancers may reoccur, chemotherapy may not work and surgeries may not get entire tumors. 

How can we possibly watch our fellow club members get sicker? I want out – PLEASE. Don’t renew my subscription! But, that isn’t how you respond. You hold their hand through the next treatment. You send them encouraging messages to let them know you’re there. And, you NEVER give up. 

Is there a part of you that can hardly stand to acknowledge your friend’s pain because you know it could be you next? Of course, we’re still human. But, your new friends have given you strength and courage you never knew you possessed. And, you know, as long as you are able, you will NEVER leave their side. 

Thank you to all my friends in the club for never giving up!

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