Companionship through adversity.

As I have mentioned previously, on the whole I am a lucky man. Apart from my illness, most other things that I have been involved with, have gone better than I could have hoped. Where I am most lucky, is my group of friends. Those of you who know me are aware that I am not a shy guy, and am always happy to chew the fat with people I have just met.

Some people find striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know can be quite awkward.Not me! I’m really interested in what makes people tick, and I view it that if you are both in the same place, you have something in common and a place to start the conversation!

With my job, I travelled around a lot and was always meeting different people who I had never met before. That gave me a lot of life experience, and many funny stories so I never really found it difficult.However, I find there are several important factors involved in good conversation. Firstly, it is important to listen to what the other person has to say. Secondly, you need to make that person feel comfortable in your company. Thirdly, humour seems to break down most barriers quite quickly. When people laugh, this is an indication that they are enjoying themselves, therefore are feeling comfortable with you.

We find friends over the years, through things we have in common. For example, when we are young and our children go to school, you see regularly the same people and your social networking, begins. Our hobbies take us with like minded people, and we may also go to the pub, and start meeting people regularly. Of course our work, is another area where we meet people where we have things in common. Sometimes, work is the only thing that you have in common, so therefore the relationship rarely gets beyond first base!

Since the start of my journey, I have become a regular, at places I had never been to in my life! Hospital clinics, and treatment rooms, charity offices, medical conferences, to name but a few. When I went into my first chemo session, I was scared! I had seen a lot of things in my life, but had never been pumped full of poison. I was in a room where that was happening to everyone, and in truth it was quite quiet. I started to talk to some of the other patients and before long the noise level had been raised and there were smiles and laughter. We were still having the poison, but somehow, we felt better about it!

Due to the fact that I have been having regular treatment, over a long period, I am well known in which ever area I am, and have made many friends. I have felt that the bond that binds us is a stronger one than I had with some of the people I met in my former life.Since my transplant, I have kept in contact with the survivors, and we are in constant touch. If any of us are having treatment, we are around for the other one. In fact I am visiting a lady on Monday who is currently having a tough time.
This week when I was having my routine treatment, there were a couple of regulars, and a couple of new people. Us regulars were pleased to see each other and give an update on our progress, and very soon, the new people started to join in. My regulars told me how much they were enjoying the blog, then the new people wanted to know about it. They also knew people who would find it useful and took my cards, saying that they thought it was a good idea.
In a strange sort of way, this makes coming in for treatment regularly, much more bearable. It becomes like a perverse social club. Unfortunately, where serious illness is involved there are always times that people can’t make their treatment, but the other patients will always check with the nursing staff, how that person is progressing.
With the increase of the internet and social media, it is now much easier for people to keep in contact with each other, whilst having treatment or outside of it.Speaking personally, I really value my friends that I have made since my diagnosis. I think that the fact that you know that they truly understand what you are going through is an incredibly powerful bond.

I find that truly ironic, as I would never have eve met these lovely people if I hadn’t got sick!

Do you agree with me? Have you got your own story to tell about someone special. We would love to hear it.

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