No Side Effects are Compulsory

Did you hear about the story of the two Johns?

During one cycle of chemo, I had the chance to hear about John and ‘Bloody’ John from the man himself. As he sat beside me getting his port flushed, John told me his story. As it came about, John met ‘Bloody’ John in the chemo suite while they were both going through treatment for cancer. ‘Bloody’ John had been so nicknamed by nursing staff because, as a great Aussie bloke, every second word he said was ‘bloody’.

Both men had been diagnosed with the same cancer, and given the same chemotherapy drugs: 10 cycles in total, one every two weeks for approximately six months. For John, it was incredibly difficult to eat anything for the whole six months. He could only stomach fruit and lost a whopping 20kg in weight.

But despite his slenderness, he was in great spirits the day I met him with his treatment over. ‘Bloody’ John however, just continued eating his good Aussie diet of steak and veg the whole six months of chemo. John couldn’t believe it. How different the experience of chemo was for ‘Bloody’ John. It just didn’t seem to worry him at all.

Isn’t interesting how two people can experience the same things, at the same time in such different ways?

I remember my beautiful oncologist saying ‘no side effects are compulsory’. And how important our minds are in the experience of cancer. And it’s so true, isn’t it. Given that external circumstances were the same, the differences between John and ‘Bloody’ John could only have come from inside of them. Most people don’t realise how tapping into our internal resources can make all the difference…

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