Two of the most powerful words in the English language are ‘Me too’. Even before I had cancer, I found such solace when someone had gone through the same experience or emotion as me – whether good or bad – and we shared a simple ‘Me too’ moment.
Since my diagnosis, my greatest comfort has come from those who have walked the walk, felt the shock of hearing the words ‘You have cancer’, been through the surgery, endured the chemo, tended their radiotherapy burns and dutifully downed the drugs.
Only they truly understand when the side effects from your treatment stack up, day after day, until you cannot stand any more; when you run a hand through your hair and a clump of it comes out; when you lie awake in the night, alone with your fear of dying; when the fatigue is so intense that you feel you will never get out of bed again. Only they know, so their quiet ‘Me too’ is precious and priceless.
And only they understand when you recover from a round of chemo and finally have the energy to take a short walk in the fresh air; when a bruise from yet another blood test or infusion fades; when the wound from surgery heals; when you walk out of your final active treatment session and allow yourself a small smile of relief; when you hear the words ‘No evidence of disease’. Only they know, so their joyous ‘Oh, me too!’ is happy and heartfelt
During testing times, the solidarity that comes from shared experiences feels like the very essence of being human. It says ‘I’ve been where you are now’. It says ‘You are not alone’. It says ‘I’m walking with you’. Seeing ourselves and our lives reflected in others is life-affirming and life-enhancing, even when life itself feels precarious.
I have had so many ‘me too’ moments during my illness and treatment. They have come from old friends who have been through this in the past, and from new friends who I have met through having cancer. Whether it was from someone sitting next to me during chemo, in an online support group, during my recent stay at Penny Brohn Cancer Care or even a chance chat in a shop, every ‘me too’ has helped.