With Cancer, Small Gestures Count the Most

When my wife surprised me with a prostate cancer awareness T-shirt, I realized that those small gestures matter the most.

One day in September, my wife called out to me from the living room, “Darling, come here for a quick second. I’ve got something to show you!”

I witnessed a pleasant surprise: My wife had donned a T-shirt with the inscription, “I wear light blue for my husband — prostate cancer awareness.” The shirt was adorned with a large blue ribbon with butterflies in flight.

“I plan to wear it to work tomorrow and throughout the month,” she said, adding that it was in honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To top things off, she had also bought a blue prostate cancer awareness pin to wear.

But when September ended, she continued wearing the T-shirt and the pin, causing me to smile and realize what a wonderful wife and caregiver she truly is.

Along the often-difficult cancer journey, it is the small things that count the most for the patient. My wife realized this from the very start of my prostate cancer journey eight years ago. She knew first-hand the shock of a cancer diagnosis that paralyzed me and caused me to go into an anxiety-filled overdrive.

To help deal with that depressing turn of events, she bought a plaque entitled, “What Cancer Cannot Do.” This unique plaque contains such phrases as, “It cannot cripple love,” “It cannot silence courage,” and “It cannot invade the soul.”

I eventually went into remission, but she understood that the need to keep my spirits strong was still very important. She swung into action once again when I was stressing that most people in our city were not masking up indoors.

She knew that put me, with cancer and a waning immune system due to advanced age, at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. She ordered me a button meant for immunocompromised patients. It reads: “Please keep your distance. You might save my life.”

Of course, the vaccinations and boosters help thwart off serious illness and death for old folks, but common-sense measures such as social distancing are extremely important, too, in keeping all of us healthy and strong.

My wife loves to order things from Amazon and Etsy, and, since she works full-time and I am retired, I find myself fielding numerous packages from the delivery people every week. I never know when one of those packages will contain something to lift me up during my cancer experience. She keeps me guessing!

Nobody should travel this journey alone and my wife sees to that with the gifts she orders for me and her everyday love, compassion and support. That’s especially helpful when I am going in for a three-month prostate specific antigen (PSA) test to determine if the cancer has returned.

Truly, it’s the small things that count in life. But “small” doesn’t begin to describe how really “big” of an impact these things make!

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