Here is what I would say to King Charles III after his recent cancer diagnosis.
How’s it going for you across the pond? I’d like to personally welcome you to the Guild of Malignant Mysteries (AKA the "Cancer Club"). It’s an organization no one signs up to join. Rather, we members are often hurriedly catapulted in.
What a shock you must have had going to hospital to have the old prostate fixed, then learning you have the “Big C.” A mere mortal from Minnesota (USA), I too had an unpleasant surprise in 1994 when a surgeon pointed his finger at me proclaiming, “You do not have cancer,” after which the spectacled pathologist begged to differ. And in 2016, I was once again left with my jaw hanging when targeted bloodwork showed I have an unrelated chronic leukemia. Based on my journey, Sir, I offer you my humble advice. Regardless of the type of cancer you have, I hope this helps you carry on.
As you probably have already endured, every bloke and their mother will offer encouraging words regarding your health status, stating — sometimes while staring at their shoelaces or stammering over the phone, “You’ll do swimmingly”; “Sir, you have the most excellent medical care”; “Your Majesty doesn’t look like they have cancer”; “My second cousin twice-removed had the same thing and I jolly well think he made it.”
People are generally kind and well-meaning. But, let’s face it, cancer is bloody icky. And you deserve to spend a day, or whatever it takes, to feel sorry for yourself. Scream, cry, yell at your plants, have a cheat-eat day, wear your crown askew. Get it all out, so you can move forward with your treatment and healing.
Sir, you know that people will want to help you. When I had a big birthday during treatment, a friend called to say she’d like to drop off a celebratory cake. I was nauseated and hungry for sleep as a result of my chemo (that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same effect) and considered asking her to come another day. But I could hear the sincerity in her voice. Realizing that this mother of four — no servants in that castle — took time from her busy life to boost me, I propped myself on the sofa and plastered a smile on my face as she presented her sweet gift. Other friends dropped off homemade pizza wrapped in poetry, delivered grand meals, took me out to breakfast after chemo rounds.
Now, I’m assuming that you can’t just eat cake given to you by any adoring subject, or easily march to a nearby diner for a Full English with mates. Security and the modern version of taste-testing probably override that. However, accept the gifts you can, as you know you would do the same for others. Be sure to take the time to show the gratitude you feel in your heart for these acts of kindness. And enjoy the time spent with your family. Embrace your traveling son. The love of my husband and children helped me keep my wits; your clan will do the same for you. My dear sister (my No. 1 nurse), my mother, and my mother-in-law all travelled to our home to help during our ordeal. And many other kind souls travelled to my heart via telephone. Open your heart to the love. It is all around you.
The lessons you have learned from all your life’s hardships over the years will be your special cancer friend.Lean into that strength, summon courage. Soldier through your treatments and make sure you spend non-treatment heartbeats thinking of and living in beauty. Because the more non-medical time you spend dwelling on cancer, the more time it steals from you.
Your Majesty, you are going to do swimmingly. Because no matter the outcome, you have the love of your family, friends and subjects, coupled with the support of the Guild to see you through.
Your Majesty is in my prayers; I bid you Godspeed.
God save the King!
Mary McCready Schulz
This post was written and submitted by a CURE reader. The article reflects the views the author and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.