Taken from Elizabeth Emen’s recent book, we often find ourselves reflecting on how much strain just day to day planning and personal admin takes on our lives. This labour, however, is quadrupled when one is met with an unprecedented and difficult event such as a hard-to-treat cancer diagnosis. Suddenly, all of life’s responsibilities stay, except you must come to terms with your diagnosis, process the emotions that come with it, deal with the unfairness of it all, and chalk up a solid plan to keep parts of your life running smoothly.
Too many movies use this plot and describe it as a moment in time when the world seems to come to a halt for the patient, but that is far from true. For patients who have received a difficult cancer diagnosis, there is constant pressure to do more within a time constraint while still playing catch up with the rest of life’s chores. The kids still need to be dropped off and picked up from school. The fridge needs to be stocked weekly. The water filter needs fixing. Someone needs to follow up with the internet company. The list can go on - especially if you are a woman who shoulders much of the administrative burden of running a house. Within seconds, your life has changed, and yet nothing has paused.