“We Play the Cards We are Dealt”


I visited with a cancer patient today. I have spent time with her before but today, I felt some guilt. She is a young mother — probably in her twenties. Suzie (not her real name) has been battling colon cancer for five years now. My total time on the *battle field* was one year. I am so fortunate. I can’t imagine how many of these patients must feel, yet they keep showing up…they are not quitters. Suzie never focuses on her cancer. She is always up beat. Today she asked about my two-year anniversary coming up this June –living cancer free.

I think that’s what got to me this time. She asked me what I would do to celebrate. I don’t know yet. She reminded me that it’s important to celebrate such an important event and asked me what was the exact date? I don’t know… I just know it’s June. I blame it on my chemo brain. But she is right — I should know. It’s like having a second birthday.

But while she was talking…my mind wandered. I felt myself getting uncomfortable. I thought it was guilt but that might be the wrong word…was it embarrassment? Why am I so lucky? I am old enough to be her mom. Why is Suzie spending her days at the hospital when she could be with her kids…helping them with homework…baking cookies or whatever moms do these days? It’s just not fair.

A friend told me when I was going through treatment, that in life we all play the cards we are dealt. How did this young mom get such a bad hand? I like going to the hospital to volunteer, but there are times it’s hard. Today was hard. I want patients like this young mom to get well so bad. And today I felt guilty, embarrassed, uncomfortable, mad (all rolled into one)  that I am well and she isn’t.

When I got home, I searched the Internet for answers, or at least something to help me understand what the heck is going on — I mean why some of us get well faster and some never do. I came across this quote that jumped out at me:

“Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.”

I understand we can only control how we respond to what life throws at us. But there are days like today, I wish I had a magic wand…



2 thoughts on ““We Play the Cards We are Dealt”

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